California law allows for restitution under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act or Fam C §6342. The Court cannot order a restitution award unless the Court first makes a finding of abuse after a noticed hearing.
This statute provides that the Court, after a noticed hearing and a finding that abuse occurred, may order the respondent to pay restitution for certain expenses and losses. Importantly, the Court must make a finding of abuse before awarding restitution under Fam C § 6342. In re Marriage of J.Q. & T.B. (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 687, 703 (Marriage of J.Q.).
In Marriage of J.Q, the Fourth District Court of Appeal found that a trial court may award spousal support to an applying party prior to concluding that domestic violence has occurred. In discussing the history of Article 2 (Orders Issuable After Notice and Hearing) of the DVPA, the Court in Marriage of J.Q specifically explained that Fam C § 6342 is different than Family C § 6341 (spousal support provisions of the DVPA). The Court found that “by their plain language, both sections 6342 and 6343 contemplate a trial court made a determination domestic violence occurred.” Id. 703.
Marriage of J.Q provides the following instructive analysis: “Section 6342 governs orders for restitution to the petitioner for loss of earnings and out-of-pocket expenses as a result of abuse inflicted by respondent (§ 6342, subd. (a)(1)), restitution to the respondent for out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of an ex parte order that a court concludes is supported by insufficient evidence at a noticed hearing (§ 6342, subd. (a)(2))… By their plain language, both sections 6342 and 6343 contemplate a trial court made a determination domestic violence occurred, and both sections are included in Article 2, the same article as section 6341. Had the Legislature meant to require a finding of domestic violence, i.e., abuse, as a condition precedent to a spousal support award under section 6341, subdivision (c), we conclude the Legislature would have included it in section 6341 like it did under sections 6342 and 6343.” Id.
If you are considering a domestic violence restraining order, you can contact me at Amanda@gordonfamilylaw.com for more information.