Ask for a Restraining Order

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You can also call:

1-800-799-7233
TDD: 1-800-787-3224

Ask for a Restraining Order

To ask for a domestic violence 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 Domestic Violence Restraining Order Help Me? (Form DV-500-INFO | audio).
  2. You qualify for a domestic violence restraining order.You and the person you want to restrain must be:
    • married or registered domestic partners,
    • divorced or separated,
    • dating or used to date,
    • living together or used to live together,
    • parents together of a child, OR
    • closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).
  3. You get legal help from a local domestic violence agency in your county.

Once you are sure you qualify for a domestic violence restraining order, you are ready to fill out the forms (or have a lawyer or domestic violence clinic help you with the forms). If you are not sure you qualify, ask your local domestic violence agency. Your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may also be able to help you with the restraining order.

If you live in an indian tribal community or reservation with a tribal court, you may be able to get help. Click to find a list of California tribal courts. And click to find domestic violence resources in your tribal community.


Filing a Request for a Restraining Order


STEP 1. Fill Out Your Court Forms and Prepare to File

STEP 2. File Your Court Forms With the Court

STEP 3. “Serve” Your Papers on the Restrained Person

STEP 4. Get Ready and Go to Your Court Hearing

STEP 5. After the Court Hearing


STEP 1. Fill Out Your Court Forms and Prepare to File


1. Read How Do I Ask for a Temporary Restraining Order? (Form DV-505-INFO | audio)
This form is also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese.

2.  Fill out your restraining order forms
Fill out:

You may also need these forms if you need more space to describe why you need the restraining order:

3. Other forms you may need to fill out
If you have children with the person you want protection from and want a custody and visitation order, or want to change the one you already have, make sure you check the appropriate boxes on Item 12 on Form DV-100 AND fill out:

  • Request for Child Custody and Visitation Orders (Form DV-105) and attach it to the Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (Form DV-100 | video instructions );
    AND
  • Child Custody and Visitation Order (Form DV-140) and attach to the Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-110).
  • If it applies to your case, also fill out Request for Order: No Travel With Children (Form DV-108).

If you want child support, make sure you check the appropriate boxes on Item 13 on Form DV-100 AND fill out:

Read Which Financial Form — FL-155 or FL-150? (Form DV-570) to find out if you can use the simpler Form FL-155.

If you are the spouse or domestic partner of the person you want protection from, and you want to ask for spousal, partner, or family support, fill out:

4. Fill out your court’s local forms (if any)
Ask your local court clerk if there are local forms you have to fill out. Some courts also have forms on their website. Click to find your local court’s website.

5. Have your forms reviewed
If your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center helps people with restraining orders, ask them to review your paperwork. They can make sure you filled it out properly before you move ahead with your case. Even if they cannot help you with the restraining order forms, they can help you with the child support and spousal/partner support forms.

6. Make at least 5 copies of all your forms
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.

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.

STEP 2. File Your Court Forms With the Court

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 give all your forms to the judge. The judge will read your papers and make a decision on whether or not to make the orders you are asking for. 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.

    • Sometimes the judge wants to talk to you. Or the judge may want you to give more information in writing. If so, the clerk will tell you.

    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:

    • If the judge signed the Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-110).
    • If the judge made any changes to the orders you asked in your request.
    • When your court hearing is, on the Notice of Court Hearing (Form DV-109). The court hearing is also the date your temporary order runs out. If you want to extend it, you must go to your hearing to get a permanent order.

    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.

    • There is NO FEE for filing a domestic violence restraining order.
    • If you do not speak English well, ask the clerk for an interpreter for your hearing date. If a court interpreter is not available, bring someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret for you. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.
    • If you are deaf or hard-of-hearing or have another disability, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation. Get more information for persons with disabilities and a form to ask for an accommodation.
    • Find out if the clerk will send a copy of your restraining order to your local police department. If not, make sure you do it.

    4. Distribute your copies of the temporary restraining order.

    • Keep 1 copy with you, always. You may need to show it to the police.
    • Keep another copy in a safe place.
    • Give a copy to anyone else protected by the order.
    • Leave copies at the places where the restrained person is ordered not to go (your school, work, etc.).
    • Give a copy to the security officers in your apartment and office buildings.

    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 do it yourself.

    If the judge does NOT give you any or all of the orders you asked for

    You can see if the judge denies your request for a temporary order, or part of your request, by looking at item 4 of the Notice of Court Hearing (Form DV-109).

    Even if the judge did not make all the temporary orders you asked for, you can still go to the court hearing and ask for those orders. The judge may grant them at the court hearing, even if he or she did not grant them as temporary orders before the hearing.

    But if all or part of your request was denied, you can cancel the court hearing the judge wrote on your Form DV-109 and, basically, drop your restraining order case for now. You can refile your request at a later date.

    To give up (waive) your right to this hearing and cancel it:

    • Fill out and file a Waiver of Hearing on Denied Request for Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-112).
    • Do NOT continue with the rest of these steps. Do NOT give a copy of your papers to the person you wanted protection from.
    • If you already gave a copy of your papers to the other side, you have to also serve him or her with a copy of your Form DV-112 so he or she knows that the court hearing has been canceled.
    • Read the instructions on Form DV-112 carefully.


    STEP 3. "Serve" Your Papers on the Restrained Person

    "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:

    • Be 18 or older, and 
    • Not be protected by the orders.

    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 domestic violence cases, a law enforcement officer may be able to serve your restraining order papers for you. If they do, they will do it for free.

    You can also hire a “process server,” which is a business you pay to deliver court forms. Search for "process serving" online or look in the Yellow Pages of your phone book.

    For more help with service, read What Is “Proof of Personal Service”? (Form DV-200-INFO | audio). And read the section on Service of Process.

    To serve your papers, follow these steps:

    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:

    • Look at your court date on page 1 of Form DV-109.
    • Look at the number of days written in item 5 on page 2 of Form DV-109.
    • Subtract the number of days in item 5 from the court date. That is your deadline to serve your papers. (You can always serve before the deadline!)

    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:

    And if you have children with the restrained person, also serve BLANK:

    3. File your proof of service
    Have your server fill out a Proof of Personal Service (CLETS) (Form DV-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.

    • If your server is a law enforcement officer or a process server, they 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.
    • Make 5 copies of the Proof of Service after the server gives it to you.
    • Then, file the original and copies with the court clerk before your hearing. The clerk will keep the original and give you back the copies stamped “Filed.” Take a copy to your hearing.
    • Keep 1 copy with you (together with your restraining order) AT ALL times. Put the other copies with the temporary restraining order copies you have distributed.

    If the restrained person was NOT served

    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 your papers. Read How to Ask for a New Hearing Date (Reissuance) (Form DV-115-INFO | audio) for detailed instructions.

    You will need a Request to Continue Hearing and Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-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:

    1. Fill out a Request to Continue Hearing and Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-115) and items 1 and 2 of the Notice of New Hearing Date and Order on Reissuance (Form DV-116).
    2. Have the judge sign Form DV-116 (at the hearing) or give it to the clerk (before the hearing) to give to the judge to sign.
    3. File the signed Notice of New Hearing Date and Order on Reissuance (Form DV-116) and Request to Continue Hearing and Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (Form DV-115) with the clerk.
    4. Attach them 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 (CLETS) (Form DV-200) and gives it to you. File your Proof of Service.
    6. Give a “Filed” copy of Form DV-116 to your local police and to everyone who has a copy of your temporary restraining order.
    7. Bring a copy to your hearing.

     

    STEP 4. Get Ready and Go to Your Court Hearing


    Get Ready for Your Hearing

    This section will tell you how to get ready for your hearing. Read Get Ready for the Court Hearing (Form DV-520-INFO| audio) for more information.

    Be prepared:

    • Take documents that help prove the abuse. Take 2 copies of all documents and filed forms, including the Proof of Service. Some of the documents that can help your case may be:
      • Photos;
      • Medical or police reports;
      • Damaged property;
      • A threatening letter, email or telephone messages.

    • Take the Restraining Order After Hearing (Order of Protection) (CLETS — OAH) (Form DV-130) to your court hearing. Try to fill out as much of the form as you can, but do not fill out the parts that deal with what the judge orders.
    • You can take a friend or relative (a support person), but that person must not talk for you in court.
    • You can take a witness to help support your case. Witnesses may or may not be allowed to speak. But you can bring a written statement of what the witness saw or heard. You must file and serve witness statements at the same time that you filed your request for the restraining order.
    • If you do not speak English well, take an interpreter to help you. Do not ask a child, a protected person, or a witness to interpret for you. Get tips to help you work with a court interpreter.
    • Most courtrooms do not allow children. Ask if there is a children’s waiting room in the courthouse before your hearing date.

    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:

    • Find the courtroom.
    • When the courtroom opens, go in and tell the clerk or officer that you are present.
    • If you are afraid of the restrained person, tell the officer.
    • Watch the other cases so you will know what to do.
    • When your name is called, go to the front of the courtroom.
    • Your hearing may last just a few minutes or up to an hour.

    Practice what you want to say:

    • Make a list of the orders you want and practice saying them. Do not take more than 3 minutes to say what you want.
    • If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from your list. Use that list to see if the judge has made every order you asked for.

    Your court hearing

    During your hearing, the judge may ask questions

    • Tell the truth. Speak slowly. You can read from your list.
    • The restrained person or his or her lawyer may also ask you questions.
    • Give complete answers.
    • If you do not understand, say "I don't understand the question."
    • If the restrained person lies in court, wait until he or she finishes talking. Then tell the judge.
    • Speak only to the judge unless it is your turn to ask questions.
    • When people are talking to the judge, wait for them to finish. Then you can ask them questions about what they said.

    If there are child custody and visitation issues in your case:

    • The judge will probably send you to mediation. Mediation helps parents agree on a parenting plan that is best for the children.
    • If you are sent to mediation, the judge may make your temporary custody and visitation orders last until the next hearing or until another court order.
    • Either parent can ask to meet with the mediator separately.
    • If parentage (paternity) of your child with the restrained person has not been legally determined, and you and the restrained person agree to parentage of your child and agree to the court entering a judgment about parentage, you can use Agreement and Judgment of Parentage (Form DV-180) to establish parentage of your child without having to start a separate parentage case.

    The judge’s decision

    At the end of the hearing, the judge will say what the orders are. The judge may:

    • Give you the orders you asked for.
    • Give you some of the orders you asked for and not others.
    • Not give you any of the orders you asked for.
    • Postpone your case and give you a new court date. This means you have to come back another day. The judge can do this if:
      • The restrained person needs time to get a lawyer or prepare an answer.
      • The judge wants more information.
      • Your hearing is taking longer than planned.

    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.


    STEP 5. After the Court Hearing

    If the judge issues a restraining order at the hearing, or any type of orders, 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. Read pages 2 and 3 of Get Ready for the Court Hearing (Form DV-520-INFO | audio).

    2. Fill out the Restraining Order After Hearing (Order of Protection) (CLETS — OAH) (Form DV-130), which will become your “permanent” restraining order.

      • Make sure your Form DV-130 says what the judge has ordered. Review it to make sure you understand it.

    3. Attach any other forms you may need for other orders the judge made.
      Here are some forms you may need (you will NOT need all of these forms, just the ones that deal with the orders the judge made):

    4. Fill out a Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001).
      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 the police know about your order.

    5. Give your Form DV-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.

    6. Serve the restrained person with a copy of Form DV-130 and any other attachments to the order.

      • If the restrained person was at the hearing, you can have him or her served with a copy of Form DV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service by Mail (CLETS) (Form DV-250) and give it back to you so you can file it. Keep a copy of it with your restraining order at all times.

      • If the restrained person was not at the hearing, but the judge’s orders are the same as the temporary order, you can have him or her served with a copy of Form DV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service by Mail (CLETS) (Form DV-250) and give it back to you so you can file it. Keep a copy of it with your restraining order at all times.

      • If the restrained person was not at the hearing, and the judge’s orders are different from the temporary order, you must have someone serve Form DV-130 in person, not by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Personal Service (CLETS) (Form DV-200) and give it back to you so you can file it. Keep a copy of it with your restraining order at all times.

    Remember, you and other protected people CANNOT serve the orders. The sheriff or marshal can serve the orders for free.

    Getting Help

    Most cities or counties have domestic violence help centers, shelters, or legal aid agencies that help people ask for a restraining order. These services are usually free or very low cost. If you are the person asking for a restraining order, look for help in your area before you try to do it on your own.

    1-800-799-7233
    TDD: 1-800-787-3224
    Call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They can help you in more than 100 languages. It is free and private.
    The National Domestic Violence Hotline links you to the following resources in your community:
  • Domestic violence shelters
  • Emergency shelters
  • Legal help
  • Social service programs
  • The website also provides a lot of information to help you and your children stay safe and get protection.

    This site lists help by county, like:
  • Women’s shelters
  • Domestic violence programs
  • Victim witness assistance programs
  • Counseling services for victims of domestic violence
  • Crisis hotlines

  • More Information and Resources


    ________________________________________

    General Resources

    California Department of Health Services (CDHS)
    The CDHS Family Violence Referral Directory lists resources by county, including shelters/domestic violence programs, counseling services for victims, crisis hotlines, services for defendants, and legal service providers.

    Can the Law Help Protect Me From Domestic Violence? 
    A State Bar of California pamphlet.

    Domestic Violence & Employment: Job-guaranteed time off to obtain services 
    Factsheet prepared by the Legal Aid Society of San Francisco Employment Law Center.

    Domestic Violence Project of Santa Clara County 
    This site has information about many domestic violence topics.

    LawHelpCalifornia Domestic Violence 
    Step-by-step information on how to get a restraining order, links to domestic violence resources, domestic violence in the military, Internet security and more. (Select your county or enter your zip code for information specific to the area that you live in.)

    National Domestic Violence Hotline 
    Call 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-799-SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 for TDD.
    This hotline helps people all over the U.S. find information about shelters, legal advocacy and assistance programs, and social services programs in their area. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get help in over 100 languages.

    Working Together to End the Violence
    This online tool contains information and resources for both victims and those seeking to help them. All content, including a public service announcement, is available in both English and Spanish. Use this site to identify signs of domestic violence and for access to organizations that can help.

    San Francisco Law Library Family Law Research Guide 
    This site has a list of books about domestic violence topics.

    Stalking Resource Center&
    The SRC's dual mission is to raise national awareness of stalking and to encourage the development and implementation of multidisciplinary responses to stalking in local communities across the country.

    Supervised Visitation Network
    This site may help you find supervised visitation services in your county. Click on the "Service Providers Dir." link in the left-hand column to find providers in California.

    Help for Children and Teens

    Date Rape Information 
    This publication was written by the National Crime Prevention Council.

    Love: the good, the bad and the ugly

    When Love Hurts: A Guide for Girls on Love, Respect and Abuse in Relationships 
    This website was developed by the Domestic Violence and Incest Resource Center (DVIRC) of Australia.

     

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