Parties entitled to a full evidentiary hearing and findings of fact and conclusions of law on DVO petitions – published opinion from Ky. Court of Appeals

Lady Justice

Tipan v. Tipan

Petitioner, her mother, and two minor siblings fled their home country to escape alleged abuse perpetuated by Respondent. Petitioner’s minor siblings were placed in her care while her mother sought asylum. Respondent traveled to Kentucky and allegedly began to harass, threaten, and stalk Petitioner and her siblings, after which Petitioner filed a DVO petition. Respondent filed a petition to register a foreign order regarding custody of the minor children as between Respondent and Petitioner’s mother and moved to dismiss the DVO petition.

At a consolidated hearing, part of the way through direct testimony of Petitioner, the trial judge stopped the hearing, noting that she believed there were jurisdictional issues, and that custody and domestic violence occurring in the parties’ home country should be handled in Petitioner’s mother’s asylum case. (Note that the alleged domestic violence occurred in Kentucky.) The trial court then dismissed the DVO petition. The trial court made a notation on the docket sheet.

The Court of Appeals reversed and remanded, noting that parties are entitled to a “’a full evidentiary hearing’ on DVO petitioner,” which they did not receive, as the trial court stopped direct examination to announce its decision. Furthermore, the Court of Appeals reiterated that a trial court must make findings of fact and conclusions of law in the context of a DVO petition, noting that a trial court must enter “written findings of fact and conclusions of law revealing the rationale for its decision.”

Digested by Nathan R. Hardymon