In In Re Marriage of Nadkarni, 2009 DJDAR 7158, the court found that the Husband’s accessing his former wife’s private email account constituted abuse under the domestic violence prevention act.
An application for a restraining order must allege “abuse” under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act. California Family Code Section 6320 states that “disturbing the peace of the other party” falls within the meaning of “abuse.”
In this case the former husband submitted a declaration to the court accusing former wife of leaving the children alone while she was in India. Former husband attached copies of emails between former wife and other parties, which he acquired when he accessed former wife’s personal and business account. Former husband claims that he only accessed former wife’s email account to verify that he had not missed any email messages to him about visitation or the children. However, some of the emails former husband attached to his application were from former wife’s family law attorney and the children. Former husband also stated in his declaration that the emails he found also included statements that former wife had instructed the children to lie to former husband about their whereabouts. There were also emails, which with Child Protective Services regarding an investigation, wherein former wife falsely stated that she had arranged for her brother to watch the children when she was away. Former husband claimed that his only intent with the emails was to use them in future court proceedings. Even though former husband was able to gain access to former wife’s email accounts, she claimed that she had never given him permission to use the email account nor had she given him the password.
In this case, not only did former husband access emails, he was able to find out former wife’s calendar and schedule and communicated her schedule to third parties. Former wife feared for her safety because former husband knew her schedule and that she would be at certain social events and was afraid because former husband had physically abused her in the past.
The trial court dismissed former wife’s application to extend the restraining order protecting former wife under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act protecting former wife from such abuse. The Appellate Court reversed and remanded and stated that the phrase means “conduct that destroys the mental or emotional calm of the other party.” Based on the present facts, the court held that former husband had in fact accessed, read and publicly disclosed former wife’s confidential emails. Due to former husband’s behavior he caused former wife to suffer shock and embarrassment, which destroyed her mental and emotional calm. Therefore, the court held that former wife’s application to extend the restraining order sufficiently showed “abuse” within the meaning of the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.
Applying for and obtaining a restraining order or opposing a restraining order is difficult and complicated as demonstrated above. It is important to contact a knowledgeable and experienced California family law attorney such as Wallin & Klarich to assist you in the process. Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in family law and restraining orders and has offices all over southern California. Contact a Wallin & Klarich attorney today to get the help you need by calling 888-749-7428.
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