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California Domestic Violence Restraining Order Basics

A domestic violence restraining order is issued when the person against whom you are taking the order is:

  • Married to you or was formerly married to you,
  • Dating you or was dating you,
  • Engaged or was engaged to be married to you,
  • A co-parent,
  • A co-habitant,
  • A close relative such as a child, sibling, parent, in-law, or grandparent.

If any of the above mentioned physically hurt you, harass you or issue verbal threats, you can file for a domestic violence restraining order. Acts of abuse such as throwing things, following, sexual assault, destroying your property, stealing your property, intimidation and breaking into your home or place of work, can also serve as grounds for a restraining order.

If you are in grave danger, you must first get an emergency protective order through a law enforcement officer.

What a restraining order will do

A domestic violence restraining order will require the restrained person:

  • Not to have any contact with you or any other person who is listed in the restraining order.
  • Not to own any guns.
  • To only see your children under the custody rules set by the court.
  • To pay child support.
  • To pay spousal support.
  • To not interfere with property that you own jointly or individually.

If the restrained person violates the court order, he or she will have committed a crime and can serve time in jail as well as pay fines.

What happens when you have multiple restraining orders?

You can still ask for a restraining order from a family or civil court even when you already have a criminal restraining order. However, the orders imposed by a criminal restraining order will undermine other restraining orders.

Forms you need to get a restraining order

To complete your request for a domestic violence restraining order, you will need the following forms:

  • DV-100-Request for Order
  • DV-101- Description of Abuse
  • DV-110-Temporary Restraining Order
  • DV-109-Notice of Court Hearing
  • CLETS-001-Confidential CLETS Information
  • L-1124-Declaration Re: Notice of Ex Parte Application
  • L-1120-Family Law Notice Re: Related Case

If there are children involved, you may also need the following forms:

  • DV-105-Request for Child Custody and Visitation Orders
  • DV-140-Child Custody and Visitation Order
  • DV-108-Request for Order: No Travel with Children
  • DV-145-Order: No Travel with Children
  • DV-150-Supervised Visitation and Exchange Order

You will also need to fill out the following forms if you require spousal or child support

  • Either FL150-Income and Expense Declaration, or
  • FL-155- Financial Statement

If you are a person living with a disability and want support,

  • File form MC 410- ‘Request for Accommodations by Persons with Disabilities’ with the court at least a week before the hearing.

Note: Refer to Form DV 570-‘Which Financial Form’, to know which of these two financial forms applies to you.

Filing the completed documents

You should file your request in the same area where the abuse took place. For instance, if you live in Orange County, file for a restraining order with the family Law clerk offices during the hours of 8am to 4pm on weekdays. You don’t need to pay any fees.

Temporary restraining order

A temporary restraining order will protect you until the court hearing.

If you file for a temporary restraining order, you have to let the restrained person know either in writing or by phone. If you can’t give the notice, you have to explain this to the court using the form named “Declaration Re: Notice (L-1124)"

The judge will not necessarily grant all the orders you request for, so check the temporary restraining order to see which requests were ordered.

Serving the respondent before the hearing

Part 5 of form DV 109-‘Notice of hearing’, shows the forms that should be served to the restrained party and the date by which they should be served.

The sheriff’s department will serve the restraining order on your behalf at no cost. You have to complete the “Sheriff Instruction form (OCSD1)” to request the sheriff’s office to serve the order for you.

Other options for serving the restraining order include using a licensed server or anyone above 18 who is not involved in the case.

After serving the restrained person with the documents, the person serving must file form DV-200-‘Proof of Personal Service’, in court before the date set for the hearing.

What happens if you can’t serve papers by the hearing date?

If you were not able to serve the restrained persons with the forms before the set hearing date, read “How to ask for a New Hearing Date (DV-115-INFO)” and then fill out:

  • DV-115-Request to Continue Court Hearing and Reissue Temporary Restraining Order
  • DV-116-Notice of New Hearing and Order on Reissuance

Bring these forms to court and inform the judge that you did not serve the papers. The judge will grant a new hearing date. You will also have to fill some new forms in order for your temporary restraining order to be extended to the new hearing date.

The restrained person must also be served with these two documents using the process stated above.

The Court hearing

A hearing date will be set whether the judge gives a temporary restraining order or not. You have to show up for the hearing, otherwise the judge will dismiss your case.

The hearing will take place on a weekday during work hours, approximately 3 weeks from the day you file your papers. During the hearing, the judge will hears from both parties, and decide whether to extend the restraining order for 5 years. The judge extends a restraining order by signing form DV-130-‘Restraining Order after Hearing’.

Note: Form DV-520- INFO- ‘Get Ready for the Court Hearing’, will provide further guidance on what you need to do to prepare for the hearing.

Cancelling a hearing

You can cancel the hearing if you file DV-112- ‘Waiver of Hearing on Denied Request for Temporary Restraining Order’ with the court. If you want to file for another restraining order, you can do so at a later time and get a new hearing.

Serving the respondent after the hearing

The restrained person can be served by mail after the hearing, by someone above the age of 18. The server must then complete form DV 250-“Proof of Service by Mail” and file it with the court.

If the terms of the restraining order differ from those in the temporary order, the server must deliver the documents in person and then file DV-200-“Proof of Personal Service”, in court.

Enforcing a restraining order

You should print and keep with you a copy of form DV-530-INFO-“How to Enforce Your Restraining Order” as it states the manner in which your restraining order will be enforced.

Always keep a signed copy of the restraining order with you in case you need to show it to law enforcement. In case of any queries or if the restrained person violates the restraining order, consult your lawyer.

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