Domestic Violence
Restraining Orders

Everyone deserves to be safe in their personal relationships. What many people don’t know is that in California, the legal definition of “abuse” is broadly defined and not limited to only physical violence. In addition to physical violence or threats of physical violence, “abuse” under the California Family Code may include sexual assault, stalking, harassment, disturbing the peace, vandalism, using email or business phone contacts stored electronically to disturb the emotional calm of another, misuse of the court process to harass the other party, or other conduct.

Understanding California Domestic Violence Law

If you are in an abusive situation, there are different types of domestic violence restraining orders available depending on the circumstances. To qualify for a restraining order, you and the person against whom you are seeking the order must have one of certain types of relationships to one another, such as spouses, romantic partners, registered domestic partners, co-parents or close family.

In an emergency situation, a law enforcement officer can help you get an Emergency Protective Order, or “EPO” at the time that you make a police report. This EPO is only valid for up to seven days, but it will give you time to fill out the paperwork in the family court to obtain a longer-lasting family court protective order called a “Temporary Restraining Order.”

A Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) is a type of restraining order that is issued only by a family law judge upon receipt of an application for TRO. The family law judge will make a decision about your application for TRO based only upon the written declaration and supporting exhibits attached to the declaration. Upon reviewing these items, the judge will issue a written temporary order either granting your request for a TRO in whole, in part, or denying your request in whole or in part. The TRO may also include child custody orders, and other collateral temporary orders. The TRO will last only until the date of the hearing on your restraining order, at which time the court will hear all evidence supporting and opposing the restraining order. Evidence can include copies of text messages, voicemails, emails, testimony, medical reports or other relevant information having a tendency to prove or disprove the allegations.

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) or “permanent” restraining order is an order of protection that limits the restrained party’s ability to come within a certain number of yards of the protected party, and it can limit the restrained party’s right to communicate with the protected party, among other things. If granted, DVROs usually last no more than five years. You can file a special application to renew your restraining order three months before it expires.

Restraining orders are a highly specialized area of the law with very specific rules, legal standards and deadlines. It is important to consult with an attorney experienced in litigating domestic violence issues before filing your application for a TRO.

If you do not qualify for a DVRO based on your relationship to the person from whom you are seeking protection, you may still qualify for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.

How We Help With Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Whether you are seeking a DVRO against a spouse, partner, or other close relationship, or someone has filed for an order of protection against you, an experienced California family law attorney can help you navigate this complex area of the law. The existence of a DVRO may impact custody of the children, spousal support awards, and attorney fee awards. A finding that there has been violence in your relationship can have a major impact on the outcome of a divorce or child custody case.

We practice exclusively in the area of family law. We can help you understand the law and your rights in a California domestic violence matter. As experienced litigators, we understand the court system and your options.

To learn more about how we can help you navigate a domestic violence restraining order matter, please contact us to schedule a consultation.