In 1989, the immortal chanteuse, Cher, recorded the song ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’, along with a music video performed atop the cannon of a Navy Destroyer, wearing basically a ribbon, surrounded by a thousand frenzied male sailors. Pretexts aside, Cher’s message in that performance might brilliantly capture what has eluded us since the beginning of time.

Cher’s proposition that time cannot be revisited is no stranger to Minnesota jurisprudence. Lawmakers and the courts have affirmed the relevance that an individual’s past can bear upon current circumstances. Consider the court’s decision to grant a domestic abuse order for protection.

In Minnesota, a district court may issue an Order for Protection against a family or household member, upon a finding of domestic abuse. Minn. Stat. §518B.01 subs. 4, 6. An act of domestic abuse may include:

  • physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
  • infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault

Minn. Stat. §518B.01 subd. 2(a)(1)-(2).

For a court to find an “intent to inflict fear” on the part of the actor, it can infer the actor’s intent based upon an analysis of “the totality of the circumstances”. Pechovnik v. Pechovnik, 765 N.W.2d 95, 99 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009). ‘Circumstances’ according to Minnesota law, can and should include whether there have been past acts of domestic abuse.

When a court considers whether to issue a Domestic Abuse Order for Protection, Minnesota law allows a district court to consider past allegations of domestic abuse; going as far back as several years. Thompson v. Schrismer, 906 N.W.2d 495 (Minn. 2018).

To illustrate this point, even more consequentially than Cher so charismatically expressed in her video, the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently upheld a district court’s decision to issue an Order for Protection, after hearing credible allegations of domestic abuse, that allegedly happened six (6) years prior. Under the present iteration of the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act, Minn. Stat. §518B.01, ‘time’ is no prohibition to the need for an Order for Protection against ongoing risk of domestic abuse.

Cher did not make her mark on history as a jurist, but she eloquently reminds us of the maxim inscribed in Minnesota Domestic Abuse law, that past actions can have bearing on current circumstances.

For assistance or questions concerning a Domestic Abuse Order for Protection, please contact the attorneys at Beyer and Simonson, LLC.

Meet Tim Simonson

Tim has been practicing for more than twenty (20) years now, He's handled divorce, child support, child custody, third party and grandparent rights, domestic abuse, parenting time, and many other areas of family law. He always enjoys the chance to meet people and see whether he can help find solutions to their legal problems.

Contact Beyer & Simonson

If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.

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