What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
A domestic violence restraining order (also referred to as a DVRO) is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from people that they have a close relationship with. It may prohibit a person from committing certain acts or require a person to do something. A restraining order can last from anywhere between 1 year to 5 years.
The parties to a domestic violence restraining order are referred to as “petitioner” and “respondent.” The “petitioner” is the party that is petitioning or asking the court for help. The petitioner is also referred to as the “protected person.” The “respondent” is the party that must respond to the allegation of abuse. The “respondent” is also referred to as the “restrained person.”
Who can file to get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
Family Code section 6211 states: A domestic violence restraining order is abuse perpetrated against:
A spouse or former spouse.
A person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.
A person with whom the respondent has had a child, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child of the female parent under the Uniform Parentage Act (Part 3 (commencing with Section 7600) of Division 12).
A child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, where the presumption applies that the male parent is the father of the child to be protected.
Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree.
If you are not one of the parties listed above and you need protection, you may consider the following types of restraining orders:
Civil Harassment Restraining Order: for protection from people such as neighbors, coworkers, roommates, or more distant family members.
Workplace Violence Restraining Order: a court order protecting employees form unlawful violence or credible threats of violence at the workplace.
Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order: for protection from people if the person abused is 65 years old or older or a dependent adult.
If you are unsure about which restraining order to obtain, contact Garcia Law Group for help.
What are acts of abuse for a domestic violence restraining order?
Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, “abuse” means any of the following:
(1) To intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury.
(2) Sexual assault.
(3) To place a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
(4) To engage in any behavior that has been or could be enjoined pursuant to Section 6320.
(b) Abuse is not limited to the actual infliction of physical injury or assault.
Physical abuse is not limited to hitting. Abuse can be pulling hair, throwing things, stalking, harassing, preventing one from leaving. It may even include physical abuse of pets.
Also, domestic violence does not have to be physical. Abuse can be verbal, emotional, or psychological. This can take many forms such as taking control and power over a person abused, publishing or threatening to publish private photos, and constant phone calls, text messages and emails that are unwanted.
What protection does a Restraining Order provide?
If a restraining order is granted, the court can order the respondent (restrained party) to:
• Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you;
• Stay away from your home, work, or your children’s schools;
• Move out of your house (even if you live together);
• Prohibit the respondent form possessing or owning a firearm;
• Follow child custody and visitation orders;
• Pay child support;
• Pay spousal or partner support (if you are married or domestic partners);
• Stay away from any of your pets;
• Transfer the rights to a cell phone number and account to the protected person (read more);
• Pay certain bills;
• Not incur large expenses or do anything significant to affect your or the other person’s property if you are married or domestic partners;
• Release or return certain property; and
• Complete a 52-week batterer intervention program.
When the court issues a restraining order, it goes into a statewide electronic information system known as CLETS (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System). The information is made accessible to law enforcement and may have a significant impact on employment. Furthermore, a CLETS restraining order will show up on a background check.
What evidence do I need to get my restraining order granted?
The petitioner must establish by a “preponderance of evidence” that abuse occurred, was attempted, or threatened. Evidence that may help includes witness testimony, photographs, call logs, screenshots of text messages, emails, video, and any other evidence that will help show abuse.
How to File for a Workplace Violence Restraining Order?
Filing a request for a restraining order involves filling out official forms (located here) and filing those with the court. You may print these forms or obtain a packet from your local courthouse but they may charge you a fee. These forms may differ by county or by courthouse and other forms may be necessary in your jurisdiction. They include:
(If you would like the forms in Spanish, please click here)
If you have children with the person you want protection from, you may also need:
If you want child support or spousal support, you may also need:
You may also use Attached Declaration (MC-031) to include statements by the petitioner (protected person) or other witnesses.
Where to file Restraining Order
Generally, you may file a request for a restraining order at the courthouse closest to where the alleged abuse took place. However, every jurisdiction is different so please check with your local courthouse. In Los Angeles County Superior Court, you can check the filing locator here to find out where you should file your restraining order. No filing fee should be charged for a domestic violence restraining order.
Serving the other party
Once you have filed your restraining order, you must serve the respondent at least 5 days prior to the hearing. You may obtain the services of your local sheriff’s office or hire a process server to serve the respondent. The forms to be served on the respondent include:
If you have children with the person you seek protection, you will also need to serve him or her with:
IMPORTANT: Once the respondent has been served, you must file a “proof of service” with the court. For additional information on this, read What is “Proof of Personal Service”? DV-200-INFO. For filing proof that the respondent has been served, use the Proof of Personal Service DV-200 form. Typically, your process server (Sheriff or local law enforcement) will do this for you but it must get filed with the court.
At the hearing, the Respondent is entitled to one continuance, for a reasonable period, to respond to the petition. This means the judge will allow the respondent to have more time to prepare if the Respondent asks for an extension. This extension of time only applies to the respondent. The petitioner may ask for more time but the judge is not required by law to grant the request. At the hearing, the judge will hear the petitioner’s allegations and consider the evidence submitted. The respondent may also submit evidence to fight the allegations of abuse. The judge will typically make his decision immediately after both sides have presented their case in chief.
Note: Guns and Firearms Restrictions on Restrained Person
A restrained person, who is subject to either a Temporary Restraining Order (DV-110), or a Restraining Order After Hearing (DV-130), may not own, possess, buy or try to buy, receive or try to receive, or otherwise get a gun while a Restraining Order is in effect, unless the Court applies the firearm relinquishment exemption. If a restrained person violates this order, it can result in jail and/or $1,000.00 fine. A restrained person who owns, or has control of any guns or other firearms, must turn in all firearms to local law enforcement; or sell, or store the firearms with a licensed gun dealer in accordance with the order of the court. If the court makes this order, the restrained person must comply and then file Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (DV-800). If the restrained person does not obey the court order, they can be charged with a crime. Read How Do I Turn In Or Sell My Firearms? (DV-800-INFO).
Need help GETTING or FIGHTING a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
Appearing in front of a judge by yourself can be an intimidating experience. Additionally, the laws involving a workplace violence restraining order are complicated. If you are facing a restraining order or need help obtaining a restraining order, Garcia Law Group is here to help you. We’ve handled hundreds of cases and represented individuals on both sides of the aisle. We are here to help you get through this stressful situation. Call now and speak to attorney Joel Garcia for a FREE CONSULTATION.
Call Garcia Law Group at 323-419-5175 for a FREE CONSULTATION!!!
Responding to a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Different types of Restraining Orders and Protective Orders
Criminal Protective Order
Emergency Protective Order
By Joel G. Garcia, Esq.