Civil Court Restraining Order
A domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) is a civil court order that is signed by a judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims.
Domestic violence is defined as when your current or former spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, someone you have a child in common with, someone you live or lived with, or someone you are related to through blood or marriage does harm to you.
A restraining order can be filed if a significant-other does one of the following:
- Causes or attempts to cause you physical injury;
- Sexually assaults you;
- Makes you fear that you or another person is in danger of immediate, serious physical injury;
- Molests, attacks, strikes, batters (uses force), or stalks you;
- Threatens or harasses you – either in person or through phone calls, emails, etc.;
- Destroys your personal property;
- Disturbs your peace.
When filling out the paperwork for the restraining order you will need to supply dates and descriptions of the events that occurred.
There are three types of domestic violence restraining orders:
- Emergency Protective Order
If a police officer responds to a domestic violence call, the police officer can call a judge (anytime, day or night) and ask that an emergency protective order be issued for you, which goes into effect immediately.
A judge will only issue an emergency protective order if s/he believes that there is an immediate and present danger of domestic violence or that a child is in immediate or present danger of abuse or abduction (kidnapping) by a parent or relative and that the order is necessary to prevent domestic violence, child abuse or child abduction.
An emergency protective order can last only five business days or seven calendar days (whichever is shorter). An emergency protective order is supposed to give you time to go to court to ask for a domestic violence restraining order, which lasts longer. In the emergency order, the judge can include most of the protections that you can get in a regular DVRO, such as removing the abuser from the home and ordering him to have no contact with you. It can also give you temporary custody of your children. It is imperative that you contact an attorney right away to file a motion to obtain a temporary ex parte restraining order before the emergency protection order expires or you will no longer be protected.
- Temporary (ex parte) Restraining Order
When you go to court to apply for a restraining order, the clerk will give you a date, usually within three weeks, when you will have to come back to court for a full hearing. If you are in immediate danger and need protection right away, you can ask for a temporary (ex parte) restraining order, which can order the abuser to leave the home, have no contact with you, and offer many other forms of protection.
- Restraining Order After Hearing (Extended or Permanent)
Whether or not you get a temporary order, you will be scheduled for a hearing to get a final DVRO. After having a court hearing, a judge can grant you a “restraining order after hearing” that can last up to five years. However, if there is no termination date on the order, the order will last 3 years from the date it was issued. Read below to understand all of the protections that you can get in a restraining order issued after a hearing. You can later ask the judge to have the order extended for another five years, or permanently. The judge can make this extension without you having to prove any further abuse.
More Information about Domestic Violence Restraining Orders:
A domestic violence restraining order may require the abuser to not do the following to you, your children, and/or your family or household members:
- assault, threaten, abuse, follow, stalk, sexually assault, destroy the property of, come within a certain distance of, disturb the peace of, harass or make contact (directly or indirectly) on the telephone or by other means.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order can also:
- Grant you the exclusive care, possession, or control of any animal owned or held by either you, the abuser, or a child residing in either of your households and order the abuser to stay away from and not harm the animal;
- Order the abuser to be removed from the home you are both living in together even if you do not own the home or you are not the tenant;
- Prohibit the abuser from possessing or purchasing a firearm;
- Order the abuser to pay child support and spousal support (if you are married);
- Grant you temporary possession of things that you own together such as a second home, a car, a computer, etc. The judge can also order the abuser to pay ongoing debts associated with those items;
- Order the abuser to pay back money you lost for missing work or other expenses (such as ambulance, medical, dental, shelter, counseling and/or legal fees) that resulted from the abuse;
- Order the abuser to pay your attorney fees if you are unable to pay them and if the abuser earns more money than you do;
- Order the abuser to attend a batterer’s treatment program or other counseling service;
- Grant anything else you ask for that the judge agrees to.
If you and the abuser have children together, you may also ask the judge to grant additional things such as:
- Temporary child custody and visitation – The judge can decide where the children will live, which parent will make decisions affecting the children, and how the children will spend time with each parent (including where, when, and whether that time is supervised or not);
- Child support payments – You may ask the judge to order the abuser to pay child support according to California’s guidelines.
Contact the Law Office of Ane Murphy to find out more about getting a Restraining Order.