Need to file a Domestic Violence Restraining Order? Our attorneys offer six tips to consider before you do!
1 – Be Prepared
Although the respondent (the party against whom you are filing a restraining order) has a statutory right to a continuance of the hearing, you should still be prepared on the day of your hearing. The respondent could ask for a continuance for a number of reasons, including the need to retain legal counsel, the need for more time to develop a defense, or more time to conduct discovery. Often, the court will automatically grant a continuance, so while you should expect this, make sure you still come prepared on the day of your hearing.
2 – Hire an Attorney Early
People who plan to petition for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order are strongly encouraged to hire an attorney. The best cases are ones that are well thought out and developed with careful attention to detail, qualities that take time. As soon as you consider petitioning for this order, start looking for an attorney. There is no such thing as “too much time to prepare,” so make sure you hire a family law attorney early on. This not only benefits the lawyer, but also ensures that you get the most for your money.
3 – Communicate with Your Attorney
Should you choose to hire an attorney to represent you in your Domestic Violence Restraining Order case, it would be a good idea to meet with them at some point before your hearing. Use this time to ask them any questions you have, such as what you can expect in court. You can also prepare ahead of time by going over possible questions that might be asked of you during direct or cross-examination.
4 – Follow the Three Rules of Evidence
The “three rules of evidence” is simple: you have a due diligence to find the evidence, get the evidence, and get the evidence now! In other words, getting the evidence you need to support your case is crucial, and it’s best gathered sooner rather than later. Evidence in domestic violence cases can include police reports, 911 transcripts, witness statements, and photos.
5 – Choose a Lawyer with Restraining Order Experience
It’s important in these cases that you don’t just choose an attorney, but that you choose one with experience in Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. Even individuals who cannot afford attorney representation would do well to consult with an attorney experienced in restraining orders. That way, they can at least come to their hearing armed with knowledge.
6 – Make Sure You’re Filing the Correct Order
Although rare, in some cases people are misled into thinking they must petition for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, rather than a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. If the person you are filing against is a blood relative or someone related to you by marriage, then you qualify for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. This is an important distinction, because the legal burden of proof is much higher in Civil Harassment Restraining Order cases.
Want to learn more about Domestic Violence Restraining Orders? Contact the experienced attorneys at Family Law San Diego!