Another important case was recently decided by the California Appellate courts which declared that the trial court’s jurisdiction to make child support orders survives the dissolution of a temporary restraining order. The facts behind Moore v. Bedard (DCSS) (2013) (Cal.App.4th) are as follows:
Wife requested domestic violence restraining orders to protect her from her Husband who was the father of their three (3) children. Her request for DVPO’s also asked for child custody, visitation, and child support orders that would modify orders previously entered. A TRO was entered but never served. When the matter came on for hearing the parties stipulated to orders that dissolved the temporary restraining order. The stipulation also resolved child support issues and other monetary issues.
Three years later, the Riverside County DCSS filed a substitution of payee form designating it as the payee of child support. In 2010 and early 2011, various enforcement actions, including a bank levy, were undertaken and several hearings were held. Two years after that, Husband filed a request for a hearing to modify child support. There, the trial court found there were no restraining orders in place and dismissed the case. Regarding child support, the court referred the parties to DCSS, and it ordered the entire action to be dismissed.
DCSS then moved to vacate the order dismissing the action, noting Husband had taken the position that there was no valid support order because the entire action had been dismissed. At the hearing, the trial court concluded that it had lost jurisdiction 5 years earlier when the requested restraining order was not issued. The trial court “voided” the parties’ stipulation and the orders entered the previous year. The trial court ruled it had lost jurisdiction to make a child support order because it did not issue a restraining order.
Nevertheless, the trial court set aside the order of dismissal on the ground DCSS was not represented at the hearing. DCSS appealed and it was reversed. The appellate court ruled it to be an error to dismiss the action for a lack of jurisdiction. The court had jurisdiction to make child support orders, and such jurisdiction survived the “dissolution” of the TRO.