Restraining Orders 101: What You Need to Know

Domestic Violence, Family Law

A Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order (DVTRO) is issued by the court to help protect individuals from threats of abuse or actual abuse from someone with whom they have a close relationship. An adult can request a restraining order for themselves and also on behalf of a child who is under the age of 12. A child who is 12 or older is able to file for his or her own domestic violence restraining order.

California law provides protection from all forms of abuse. Domestic violence does not need to be physical in order to apply for a protective order. Emotional, psychological, and verbal abuse that causes a person to feel afraid can influence a person’s decision to obtain an order.

Who Qualifies for a Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order

A person qualifies for a domestic violence restraining order if he or she has a close relationship with the person who has threatened to abuse him or her or who has actively abused him or her. A close relationship includes people who are:

  • Dating or used to date;
  • Living together or previously lived together during a relationship (not roommates;
  • Married;
  • Separated or divorced;
  • Co-Parenting a child;
  • Blood relative (parent, grandparent, sibling, etc.) or in-law.

If you do not feel that you qualify for a DVTRO, there are other alternatives, such as an ex parte restraining order, available based on your situation. A Civil Harassment Restraining Order is different from a Family Law Domestic Violence Restraining Order, in that it applies to a person doing the harassing that has no close family or domestic relationship with the victim. This includes neighbors, distant relatives, roommates, strangers, or other acquaintances.

What is Needed to Obtain Domestic Restraining Orders in California 

A person who would like to be protected by a DVTRO in California must go to court and file the forms for the domestic violence restraining order. There is no filing fee and a judge will decide whether or not to grant the order within one business day. If there are any minor children involved, a separate form may need to be filled out so that they have their own restraining order in place.

Once the required forms have been filed, the court will set a date for a hearing to decide whether a permanent restraining order is necessary.

It is important to bring documentation to the hearing that proves the abuse. This can include medical records, police reports, threats made via email, telephone, or text message, and photographs. If there were any witnesses to the abuse, ask that they attend the hearing.

Getting Immediate Help

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Online chat is available at the National Domestic Violence Hotline website from 7:00 am to 2:00 am Central Time. For those who are deaf or hard of hearing call 1-800-787-3224(TTY) or 1-855-812- 1001 (VP).

Contact Us for Legal Assistance 

The compassionate attorneys at JWB Family law are able to provide you the assistance you need during this difficult time. We are able to work with you during the filing process providing you with the professional and understanding support you need.

Our staff is dedicated to protecting the rights of you and your children. Contact our office today to schedule your discreet consultation at our San Diego location.

The Importance of the CFLS Designation

A Certified Family Law Specialist, or CFLS, is an attorney who has obtained certification in the standards of California family law and demonstrated optimal legal competence. Attorneys who obtain this certification have specific expertise in all aspects of family law, which includes divorce or the dissolution of marriagechild and spousal support, child custody, and temporary restraining orders, among other areas of emphasis.

Not every attorney practicing family law has obtained this certification. In fact, the designation remains relatively rare—there are fewer than 2,000 CFLS attorneys in California and fewer than 200 in San Diego.

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