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Responding to a Restraining Order Using Form DV-120

Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice and is intended to be used for informational purposes only. The completion and filing of any California court forms should only be done so under counsel of an attorney licensed in the state of California. Before attempting to complete any of the forms identified in this article, consult with an attorney regarding your individual circumstances. This article in no way serves as legal advice, nor is it intended to. Any persons who complete the forms identified in this article without consulting an attorney do so at their own risk. Consult with an attorney before completing and filing forms DV 100, DV 105, DV 108, DV 109, DV 110, DV 120, DV 250, DV 570, DV 800, FL 150, FL 155, or MC 020.

When you are served with a restraining order, you could either decide to respond, meaning you wish to contest the restraining order by telling your story in court, or you could simply decide to await your court date.

If you decide you want to explain your side of the story, you need to fill out form DV 120. Before you start filling out form DV 120, ensure you have with you the following forms, which should have been issued with the restraining order:

  • DV 110- This is the temporary restraining order
  • DV 100- The request for domestic violence restraining order (these are the orders your accuser requested)
  • DV 105- The request for child custody and visitation orders
  • DV 108- Request for order: No travel with children. (This form may or may not be available depending on whether your accuser filled in item 14 of form DV 105).
  • DV 109- the notice of court hearing

These documents will be necessary for answering some of the questions in DV 120.

You will also need these forms, though some may not be applicable to you:

  • Form DV 180- Agreement and judgment of parentage form
  • Form DV 800- How do I turn in, sell or store my firearm
  • Form FL 150-The income and expense declaration
  • Form FL155-Financial statement
  • Form DV 570,-which financial form,
  • Form MC 020- Additional writing space
  • Form DV 250- proof of service by mail

When you have all the forms, fill out form DV 120 as follows:

Answering items 1 to 3
  1. On the top right hand corner of the first page, provide the court address in the box named “fill in court name and street address”. You can refer to form DV 109 to find the court address.
  2. Below the box with the address, provide the case number. You will also need to write your case number at the top of every new page of form DV 120. You can refer to page 1 of form DV 109 to find the case number.
  3. Under the area labeled ‘name of person asking for protection’ write down the full name of the person who took the restraining order against you, exactly as it is written in form DV 100.
  4. Under item 2, provide the following personal information:
    • Your name
    • Your lawyer’s name, her state bar number and her law firm.
    • If you have not yet retained the services of a lawyer, now is a good time to do so. Domestic violence cases can progress quickly against you and it is highly advisable to hire someone who is familiar with the criminal justice system to guide you through the process.

    • Other personal details: Address, fax, telephone number and email.
    • As a copy of your form DV 120 will be shared with the person who has accused you, discuss with your lawyer so that you provide the address of her law firm if you want to safeguard your private address and contact information.

  5. Item 3 has summary instructions of what you should do after filling form DV 120. As well, it reminds you that the judge will take your response into consideration during the hearing and reiterates the need to obey the temporary restraining order even if you don’t agree.
  6. Still under item 3, provide the hearing date. Check the middle of form DV 109 to find the hearing date.
Answering items 4 to 21

You will need to constantly refer to form DV 100 when filling in this part.

This area has a list of orders that your accuser requested under form DV100. You need to only agree or disagree with these orders. At the end of the form on item 23, you can explain further why you disagree with certain orders.


  • Agreeing to any of these orders could affect your legal rights as you will be consenting to the restraints put against you. Before you fill in this part – or any legal form that could restrict your personal liberties, discuss with your lawyer and let her guide you.
  • If the accuser left any orders blank in form DV 100, you can also leave the same orders blank in your form DV 120.
  • In addition to checking either a, I agree or b, I do not agree, remember to check the boxes next to the numbers 4 to 21.
  • Within 48 hours of receiving the temporary restraining order form DV 110, you need to surrender your gun and get a receipt for it. File the receipt with the court or attach it to form DV 120. If you need more information on what to do with your firearm, refer to form DV 800.
  • Item 12: Child custody and visitation
  • If your accuser checked item 12 on form DV 100, check it on your form DV 120 and provide answers. Form DV 105, the request for custody and visitation form, gives further details of custody and visitation. You have 5 options for responding to these orders:
    • Agree,
    • Disagree,
    • Request for your own custody orders,
    • Dispute that you are not the parent,
    • Agree or disagree under item 12e. If your accuser has checked item 14 of DV 105, it means that he or she has concerns that you might kidnap your kids.

    Fill out form DV 180- Agreement and judgment of parentage form, which will give you and the protected person legal rights to your children. Talk to your lawyer before filling in this form.

  • Item 13: Child support

    Guideline child support stated in item 13 is determined by the California law system.

    Whether or not you indicate agree or disagree in item 13, you have to fill out form FL 150, the income and expense declaration or FL155, financial statement.

    Form DV 570, which financial form, will help you to decide whether you should use FL 155 or FL 150.

    Note also that the information you provide on form FL 150 will be used in deciding other orders such as spousal support order.

Answering items 23 to 24

Before you sign, provide in item 23, all the reasons why you don’t agree with the restraining order. If you need more writing space, you can use form MC-020.

Lying on the DV 120 form is liable to penalties for perjury. Provide only true facts to the best of your knowledge, then sign the form and have your lawyer sign.

What’s next?

After signing, submit your form DV 120 along with the needed attachments identified by your attorney.

Another person called a ‘process server’ must mail your response to your accuser. The server should fill form DV 250, which you should file with the court to show that your accuser did receive a copy.

Remember to keep copies of all documents for yourself. Your attorney will help you prepare for your hearing.


It’s always advisable to respond to a restraining order as this is the only way you will get your fighting chance. If you don’t fill out Form DV 120 before your court hearing, you will still get the opportunity to address any disagreements you have regarding your court order, however, the risk exists that the court will ask you to respond at the hearing. This can be very risky if done without the help of an experienced attorney who knows California domestic violence law. It is possible to further incriminate yourself at the hearing. You can avoid this by hiring a competent lawyer to appear with you.

Though the paperwork might look challenging, an experienced domestic violence lawyer will assist you with this process.

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