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In re Marriage of Manishkumar and Ankola Summary

 

In re Marriage of Manishkumar and Ankola published June 20, 2019

 

The Sixth Appellate District of California has reversed a Santa Clara County court’s issuance of a mutual restraining because the wife failed to file a separate written request for such an order as required by Section 6305(a)(1) of California’s Family Code.

 

Factual Background

 

In Manishkumar Ankola v. Priyanka Ankola, husband Manish and wife Priyanka were married in June 2014. Manish filed a petition to void the marriage in December 2015 because, he claimed, it was based on fraud. Priyanka filed a response denying Manish’s accusations as well as her own petition for dissolution based on irreconcilable differences. She filed a request for a domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) against Manish in May 2016.

 

The trial court denied Manish’s petition and Priyanka’s request for a DVRO because of a lack of proof. Priyanka filed another request for a DVRO in February 2017, which the trial court granted. A five-year DVRO was filed against Manish on August 15, 2017.

 

The following day, Manish filed his own request for a DVRO against Priyanka, who responded by denying Manish’s allegations. During the hearing on Manish’s request, he testified that his wife had hit him, threatened to kill him and his child, and spread rumors about him, including that he had sexually transmitted diseases and engaged in human trafficking.

 

Priyanka testified that her husband became “more controlling” after they got married and threatened her immigration status, which he said was “in his hands,” according to Priyanka. Manish admitted to sending a letter to his wife’s employer, stating that she was a “fraud” who had fabricated items on her resume.

 

Trial Court’s Decision

 

Upon conclusion of the hearing, the trial court made a finding that “each party has committed acts of domestic violence” and entered a mutual restraining order.

 

Decision on Appeal

 

Manish appealed the restraining order against him because Section 6305 requires that a party produce “written evidence of abuse or domestic violence in an application for relief using a mandatory Judicial Council restraining order application form.” The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed the DVRO against Manish.  Written evidence contained in a responsive pleading is not enough to satisfy the Section 6305 obligation.

 

That said, the appellate court specifically noted the trial court did not express any intent to modify the August 15, 2017 order when it granted the mutual restraining order, and, if it did have that intention, lacked jurisdiction to do so.

 

The August 2017 DVRO remained in effect and was up on appeal when this decision was handed down.