W.T. v. H.S., 2210492

CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals
Writing for the CourtEDWARDS, JUDGE.
PartiesW.T. v. H.S.
Docket Number2210492
Decision Date16 September 2022


No. 2210492

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

September 16, 2022

Appeal from Lee Circuit Court (CV-21-183)


In September 2021, H.S. filed in the Lee Circuit Court ("the trial court") a form petition seeking a protection-from-abuse ("PFA") order pursuant to the Protection from Abuse Act ("the Act"), Ala. Code 1975, § 30-5-1 et seq.


On that form petition, H.S. named W.T. as the defendant and checked the box indicating that she and W.T. "has or had a dating relationship." H.S. attached to her petition a police report indicating that she had reported that W.T., who the police report characterized as her ex-boyfriend, had engaged in certain acts, including trespassing on her property and sending her threatening text messages. In a document entitled "Protection From Abuse (PFA) Cover Sheet," however, H.S. described her relationship with W.T. as "ex-friend." H.S. also completed the top portion of the forms entitled "Ex Parte Protection Order" ("the proposed ex parte PFA order") and "Protection Order" ("the proposed PFA order") at the time she filed her petition. Although each of those forms had a box to check to indicate that the plaintiff and the defendant were in a dating relationship, on the proposed ex parte PFA order, H.S. drew a separate box, checked that box, and wrote beside it: "We never dated. Friends" on the proposed PFA order, H.S. checked the box for "Current or Former Dating Relationship" but crossed out the word "Dating."

The trial court entered an ex parte PFA order on September 24, 2021. That order, which appeared to be a copy of the proposed ex parte PFA order H.S. had filed, indicated via check mark in a box drawn on the


form order that H.S. and W.T. had "never dated" and were "friends." After a trial held in November 2021, the trial court entered a PFA order on November 24, 2021. That PFA order appeared to be a copy of the proposed PFA order H.S. had filed, because, although the box for "Current or Former Dating Relationship" was checked, the word "Dating" was crossed out.

W.T. filed a postjudgment motion in which he challenged the PFA order on the ground that H.S. had not established that she and W.T. had been in a "dating relationship," as that term is defined in the Act. The trial court denied W.T.'s postjudgment motion on February 7, 2022.

W.T. appealed the PFA order. No transcript was made of the November 2021 trial. W.T. submitted, and the trial court approved, a Rule...

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