California Domestic Violence Restraining Orders: What You Should Know

Domestic violence is a sad and harrowing reality for too many individuals, and taking decisive legal action is often the best decision to ensure safety for vulnerable parties. In California, domestic violence restraining orders can play a pivotal role in offering protection. If you're considering filing for a restraining order against an abusive partner or family member, it's essential to understand the process and your rights.

In the following blog, we will dissect the essentials of California domestic violence restraining orders. But, if you are in immediate danger, the National Domestic Violence Hotline can be contacted at 800-799-7233 or by texting START to 88788.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence in California?

As defined in California Family Code § 6211, domestic violence encompasses actions committed by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, cohabitant, parent of your child, blood relative, or someone linked by marriage. There are many actions that could be classified as domestic violence if carried out by someone related to or in a close relationship with you.

Actions that are considered domestic violence include:

  • Sexual assault
  • Attempts to cause or causes of physical injuries
  • Making the victim fear that they or another person are in danger
  • Battering
  • Stalking
  • Destroying personal property
  • Disturbing Peace
  • Isolating the victim from friends and family
  • Depriving victims of basic needs
  • Controlling victim's movement, communication, or finances
  • Reproductive coercion

If you need to file for a domestic violence restraining order, it is imperative to work with an experienced attorney for guidance.

What Does a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Do?

When a domestic violence restraining order is issued, it offers a range of protections for victims, impacted children, and their family or household members.

The restraining order can require the perpetrator to:

  • Not assault, threaten, follow, stalk, or sexually assault
  • Not destroy the property of, come within a certain distance, harass, or make contact
  • Be removed from the home you are living in together
  • Be prohibited from possessing or buying firearms
  • Pay child support and spousal support
  • Pay back money the victim lost for missing work or other expenses from the abuse
  • Attend a batterer's treatment program

Depending on your specific situation, there are many types of orders that the perpetrator may or may not be required to do once the restraining order is issued.

Who Can Get a Restraining Order in California?

California law allows you to obtain a domestic violence restraining order if you have suffered abuse or threats of abuse and you have a close relationship with the person abusing you.

You may be eligible to file for a domestic violence restraining order if you are:

  • The perpetuator's current or former spouse
  • The perpetuator's current or former significant other
  • The perpetuator's sibling, child, grandchild, or in-law
  • The perpetuator's cohabitant

Overall, having a blood relationship, being an in-law, or having a current or former relationship makes you eligible to file for a domestic violence claim.

Can Minors File for Domestic Violence Restraining Orders?

As per Cal.C.C.P. § 372(b)(1) and (b)(2), a minor aged 12 or older can seek a restraining order without assistance from a guardian. However, if the minor is under 18 and resides with a guardian, a copy of the order must be provided to at least one parent or guardian unless the judge deems it not in the minor's best interest.

Types of Restraining Orders in California

There are different kinds of restraining orders based on immediacy and the duration of the protection needed.

Emergency Protective Order (EPO)

Obtained by a law enforcement officer, it lasts only five business days or seven calendar days if immediate protection is needed. This type of restraining order is meant to give you time to go to court to ask for a longer restraining order.

Temporary Ex Parte Restraining Order

You can request this order from a court if you need protection before your restraining order court hearing. If granted, it's usually effective until your full court hearing, which is typically within three weeks.

Restraining Order After Hearing (ROAH)

This type of restraining order is issued after a court hearing where you and the perpetrator both have a chance to tell your side of the story. ROAHs can last up to five years; if there is no termination date on the order, it will last three years from when the order was issued.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Restraining Order?

The short answer is no; you don’t necessarily need a lawyer to get a restraining order. You can file the paperwork and represent yourself in court. However, having a lawyer can be beneficial to make sure the correct steps are followed and that your legal rights are protected.

Contact Our Domestic Violence Lawyers

Taking action against domestic violence can feel like a daunting task, but you are not alone in this. Our team of experienced and dedicated domestic violence lawyers at Family Law San Diego can be here to support you every step of the way.

We can guide you through the legal process, offer you sound legal advice tailored to your situation, and much more. Rest assured, your safety is our top priority.

Call our team today at (619) 577-4900 or message us online.