To ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order there are several steps you have to take. But first make sure that:
1. A restraining order is right for you. Read Can a Restraining Order to Prevent Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Help Me?
2. You qualify to ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. You qualify if:
Once you are sure you qualify for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order, you are ready to fill out the forms (or have a lawyer or self-help clinic help you with the forms). If you are not sure you qualify, ask a lawyer.
You may be able to get free legal help. Find out if there is a local legal aid or other nonprofit agency that helps people with elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders.
1. Fill out your restraining order forms:
2. Fill out your court’s local forms (if any)
Ask your local court clerk if there are local forms you have to fill out. Also ask if there are any local procedures you must follow. Some courts also have forms on their website. Find your local court’s website.
3. Have your forms reviewed
If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with elder or dependent adult abuse restraining orders, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case.
4. Make at least 5 copies of all your forms (if your court requires copies at the time of filing)
One copy will be for you; another copy will be for the person you want protection from. The extra copies will be for other protected people or for you to keep in a safe place. The original is for the court.
Some courts do not want you to make the copies until after Step 2 below, so make sure you ask your court clerk for the procedures in your court.
IMPORTANT: Your restraining order paperwork will go to the restrained person in your case and he or she will get a chance to see everything you write. If you are staying somewhere you do not want the restrained person to know about and you want to keep the address confidential, do NOT write it on these papers. You can use a program called “Safe at Home” that gives you a secure address to use for your court papers (or for banking and other things) where you can still get your court papers without having to reveal your confidential address. Click to learn about Safe at Home.
Once you have filled out all your forms, you have to file them with the court. Follow these steps:
1. Take your forms to the court clerk
The clerk will let you know what to do next. In some courts, the clerk will give all your forms to the judge. In other courts, you may have to go to the courtroom directly. Either way, the judge will read your papers (maybe speak to you) and make a decision on whether or not to make the orders you are asking for. If you leave your forms with the clerk, ask the clerk when to return to see if the judge made the orders you asked for. The judge must decide by the next business day, but the exact time varies from court to court.
2. Find out if the judge issued the temporary restraining order
Return to the courthouse when the clerk tells you to pick up your paperwork. Look over all the paperwork the clerk returns to you to see:
3. File your forms
If the judge signs the order, the court clerk will file it. “File” means that the court clerk will make the order an official part of the court’s record of your case. The clerk will keep the original for the court and give you the 5 copies stamped “Filed.” If you need more copies, you can make them yourself.
4. Distribute your copies of the temporary restraining order
5. Go to Step 3
Restraining orders get entered into a special computer system at the California Department of Justice. That way, police officers across the state can find out about your order. In many courts, the court will send your order to the state computer for you. But if your court does not do it, you must. Look at Item 11 of your Temporary Restraining Order (CLETS — TEA or TEF) (Form EA-110) to see whether you or your court clerk will do this.
“Serving” means that the other side must get copies of any paper you file with the court. In “service” a third person (NOT you) is the one who actually delivers the paperwork to the other side. The person who does this is called the “server” or “process server.”
The server must:
Until the other side has been properly “served,” the judge cannot make any permanent orders. Remember, so far, you have a temporary restraining order, which runs out the day of your court hearing unless the judge extends it or gives you a “permanent” restraining order.
In elder or dependent adult abuse cases, a law enforcement officer can serve your restraining order papers for you for free. This service can be very helpful to you, and it is one of the best ways to get your court forms served for free.
You can also hire a “process server,” which is a business you pay to deliver court forms. Look in the Yellow Pages of your phone book, under “Process Serving.”
1. Figure out WHEN you have to serve your papers by
You will have to serve the papers on the restrained person by the deadline the judge writes on your papers. This is so that the restrained person has a few days to respond to your papers and prepare for court.
To find your deadline for service:
2. Serve your papers on the restrained person
Have someone “serve” (give) the restrained person a copy of the order and other papers you filed. The papers must be delivered in person. You cannot send them by mail. Make sure this is done before your deadline.
In addition to serving a copy of your papers, also serve BLANK:
3. File your proof of service
Have your server fill out a Proof of Personal Service (Form EA-200) and give it to you so you can file it with the court. This form tells the judge and police that the restrained person got a copy of the order and knows about it. It is very important your server fills out the Proof of Service correctly. If possible, have your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center review it to make sure it was filled out properly.
The restrained person must be served before the hearing. If the restrained person was not served, you can ask the judge to extend the temporary restraining order until a new court date to give you more time to serve the restrained person.
You will need a Request to Continue Court Hearing and to Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (Form EA-115) to ask the judge for a new court date. Do this before or at your hearing. (If you wait until after the hearing, you have to start from the very beginning.) If the judge signs this order, the restraining order will last until the new hearing date.
To ask for an extension on the restraining order and new court hearing date:
2. Have the judge review the forms and sign Form EA-116 (at the hearing) or give the forms to the clerk (before the hearing) to give to the judge to sign.
3. If not already filed, ask the clerk to file the signed Notice of New Hearing Date and Order on Reissuance (Form EA-116). This form now has your new court date.
4. Attach it to your other court papers and get the restrained person served following the same directions as with the temporary restraining order papers at the beginning of this Step 3.
5. Make sure your server fills out a Proof of Personal Service (Form EA-200) and gives it to you. File your Proof of Personal Service. If your server is a law enforcement officer or a process server, he or she may use a different proof of service form. If so, make sure it lists the forms served, date papers were served, where they were served, and time of service.
6. Give a “Filed” copy of Form EA-116 to your local police and to everyone who has a copy of your temporary restraining order.
7. Take a copy to your hearing.
This section will tell you how to get ready for your hearing.
Do not miss your hearing!
If you miss it, the restraining orders will end and you will have to start from the beginning.
Get there 30 minutes early:
Practice what you want to say:
During your hearing, the judge may ask questions
The judge’s decision
At the end of the hearing, the judge will say what the orders are. The judge may:
Ask the clerk for the forms you need so you can make sure that the temporary orders (if any) are extended until the new hearing date.
See Going to Court to read more information about how to prepare for your court hearing.
If the judge issues a restraining order at the hearing, you will have to prepare a written order for the judge to sign. In some courts, the clerk or other court staff will prepare this order. If so, make sure you review it very carefully to make sure it says exactly what the judge orders and the clerk did not leave anything out. If there is a problem, tell the clerk right away.
If you have to fill out the order, follow these steps:
1. Fill out the Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS — EAR or EAF) (Form EA-130), which will become your “permanent” restraining order.
2. Fill out a Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001) if you have not done so already. This form does NOT get filed. It is confidential. It is used so that your restraining order can be entered into a statewide computer system that lets police know about your order.
3. Give your Form EA-130 to the clerk (or the judge) and the judge will sign it. Make sure the clerk files it. The clerk will give you up to 5 copies.
4. Serve the restrained person with a copy of Form EA-130.
Remember, you and other protected people can NOT serve the orders.
Most cities or counties have legal aid agencies that help people ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. These services are usually free or very low cost. Look for help in your area before you try to do it on your own.
Some places to start are: