How to File for a Restraining Order in California | Burns Attorneys

How to File for a Restraining Order in California

How a Lawyer Can Help Shield You From Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse affects 1 in 4 women in their lifetime and 1 in 9 men. It can be hard to leave an abusive relationship due to the toxic dynamic, but divorce and restraining orders are still an option.

If someone has been stalking you and/or attempting to cause you harm, you may need to take legal action to protect yourself. A Los Angeles domestic violence attorney may be able to help you take out a restraining order while protecting you from your abuser and their attorney’s retaliation.

While having an attorney is not required to take out a restraining order on someone, it’s recommended, especially if your abuse has sought out the legal expertise of a domestic violence attorney in Los Angeles. Having an attorney on hand also helps you feel safer, as a third party now has intimate knowledge of your past experience with this abusive person and will know about any intimidation or threats they make in the future.

If you feel as if this person is a threat to your physical or emotional wellbeing, you may be able to file for a restraining order. In California, there are three different types of protective orders that you can file when you feel like you are in danger.

Emergency Protective Order

The first kind of restraining order is a temporary emergency protective order. An emergency protective order can go into effect immediately if a police officer requests action from a judge. This often happens when an officer responds to domestic disturbance or some other kind of 911 call.

An emergency protective order only lasts for seven days tops. The point of an emergency protective order is to give the victim time to go to court to ask for a domestic violence restraining order. An emergency protective order can force a person to stay away from you, leave the home, and not have contact with your children on a temporary basis.

Temporary Restraining Order

The process of getting a domestic violence restraining order in Los Angeles is lengthy and requires multiple steps. You must first go to court to apply for the restraining order, and you will be given a date where you have to come back for a full hearing.

If you are in immediate danger and need protection right away, as many victims of relationship abuse are, you can ask the courts for a temporary restraining order when you apply for the full restraining order. A temporary restraining order lasts for up to 15 days, or until you have your full-court hearing, which is usually three weeks. Temporary restraining orders do not require a hearing and do not require your abuser to be there in court.

Domestic Violence Restraining Order 

A restraining order after a hearing is designed to stop someone with whom you had a close relationship from threatening, harassing, stalking, or abusing you. For this kind of restraining order, you must attend a court hearing that your abuser must also attend. This can be a scary idea, but just know that this restraining order is the most protective and longest-lasting.

Getting a domestic violence restraining order can also affect spousal support and child visitation orders, so you may want to contact a family court lawyer to see how a restraining order will change your current setup.

Step One: The first step in getting a domestic violence restraining order is requesting it, and you do this by getting an application for a domestic violence restraining order from a local court clerk. Make sure to ask for all the forms that you will need to file for a domestic violence restraining order.

Step Two: You will need to fill out the forms you are given. Along with these forms, the clerk should give you an instruction booklet called the DV-150 that gives you line-by-line guidance on filling out the forms. It may be helpful to reach out to a lawyer for restraining orders in Los Angeles for an extra set of eyes.

Step Three: When you’re done filling out the forms, you can give them back to the courts, and they will then give them to a judge, who may or may not want to have a word with you. They can give you a temporary restraining order that will last until your court hearing for the full domestic violence restraining order.

Step Four: You will be given a date and location for your court hearing, and you must attend in person. If you fail to show up, the judge may throw out your case, so if extenuating circumstances are keeping you from going, you can call your county clerk to reschedule and have the temporary order reissued.

Step Five: After having a court hearing, a judge can grant you a domestic violence restraining order that can last up to five years. This order is designed to keep your abuser from threatening, harassing, or abusing you. Your abuser must be given a formal notice of the restraining order from someone not involved in the case, so your family law attorney won’t be able to deliver it. A sheriff or a professional process server can serve these forms.

At a later date, you can ask that the courts extend the restraining order for another five years or for forever by showing that you have "reasonable" fear that your abuser will continue to hurt you.

You cannot file a domestic violence restraining order against just anyone. Domestic violence restraining orders can be placed against:

  • A spouse or former spouse
  • A person you are dating or used to date
  • The mother or father of your child
  • A person related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • A person who regularly lives or used to live in your home (but you must have a closer relationship than just roommates)

When living situations go sour, people may feel the need to take out a restraining order on a roommate. A domestic violence restraining order can only be filed against those with which you have a close relationship.

Minors who are under the age of 12 can file for restraining orders without the assistance of a parent or guardian, but anyone younger than that will need someone older to file on their behalf. Same-sex partners are also eligible to file for restraining orders.

If you need to protect yourself from a roommate, neighbor, or coworker, then you can reach out to a lawyer to get a civil harassment restraining order.

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