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Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
Previously we provided statistics with regards to the prevalence of domestic violence. Today our focus is on the process for obtaining a domestic violence restraining order pursuant to California’s Domestic Violence Prevention Act (DVPA) as set forth in Family Code §6200, et seq.
A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from someone they have a close relationship with. Requirements for a domestic violence restraining include:
- A person has abused (or threatened to abuse) you;
- You have a close relationship with that person.
- oYou are:
- Married or registered domestic partners,
- Divorced or separated,
- Dating or used to date,
- Living together or used to live together (more than roommates),
- Parents together of a child, or
- Closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).
As a parent of a child under the age of 12, you can file a restraining on his or her behalf to protect your child. If your child is 12 or older, he or she can file the restraining order on his or her own.
What does a Restraining Order do?
A restraining order is a court order that requires the abuser 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)
- Not have a gun
- 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
- Pay certain bills
- Release or return certain property
A computer system, called CLETS (short for California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System), holds all of the information concerning your order so that law enforcement agents anywhere in the United States can obtain this information. If you move out of California, contact your new local police so they will know about your orders.
Types of Restraining Orders
Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
For immediate protection, this order is optimal. An EPO can be provided by the police department at any time of the day or night. The only caveat is that this order only lasts for 5 court days or 7 calendar days. The judge can order the abusive person to leave the home and stay away from the victim and children for the allotted time. This allows for enough time to go to court to file a temporary restraining order.
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
After filing court paperwork that explains the situation, a judge can give you a TRO that will last 20-25 days until the court hearing date.
“Permanent” Restraining Order
When you go to court for the TRO hearing, the judge can issue a “permanent” restraining order that will last up to 3 years. At the end of the 3 years, you can ask for a new restraining order for protection.
Criminal Protective Order or Stay-Away Order
The district attorney can file criminal charges against the abuser, depending upon the circumstances. As the criminal case is ongoing, a criminal protective order against the abuser is issued. This can last for 3 years after the case if the defendant is found or pleads guilty.
The Restraining Order Process
After filing the court forms (no fee to file) for a protective order, a judge will determine whether to grant the temporary order and give a hearing date. The filed documents must be served on the opposing party by someone 18 or older not involved in the case. The restrained person has the right to file an answer to the restraining order request, explaining his or her side of the story. After the hearing, a judge will choose to continue or cancel the temporary restraining order.
Resources for Help
- National Domestic Violence Hotline
- California Department of Public Health Violence Prevention Resource Directory
- Futures Without Violence
- Next Door Solutions
For more information on the above content, please check out http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-domesticviolence.htm and http://www.scscourt.org/self_help/restraining/dv.shtml.
If you have any questions about filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) or have been served with a DVRO or a Request for a DVRO, please contact The Law Office of Matthew J. Rudy for a free 1-hour consultation.