This section helps you respond to (answer) a request for a domestic violence restraining order. Read the introduction to the Domestic Violence section to get more information about domestic violence restraining orders and the restraining order court process.
It can order you to:
1. Read the order carefully. If you disobey the order, you can go to jail or be fined.
2. Read How Can I Respond to a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order? (Form DV-120-INFO).
3. Go to the court hearing on the restraining order. The hearing date is on the Notice of Court Hearing (Form DV-109).
4. If you want to tell your side of the story, file an answer BEFORE your court date.
5. If you need protection from the person who filed a restraining order against you, you can ask for a restraining order against them (even if they asked for one against you first). But you cannot ask for your order in your response to their restraining order. You have to fill out your own request. Follow the instructions for Ask for a Restraining Order.
You do not need a lawyer to respond to a restraining order. BUT it is a good idea to have a lawyer, especially if you have children. And having a restraining order issued against you can have very serious consequences, so by having a lawyer you can protect your rights as best as possible. Click for help finding a lawyer. If you want to ask for the other side to pay your lawyer's fees, read the instructions to ask for lawyer's fees in domestic violence cases.
Your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may also be able to help you respond to the restraining order, or at least help you with any child support or spousal/partner support issues you may have.
IMPORTANT! If you also have a criminal case related to the abuse or violence in this case, it is very important you talk to a lawyer. Anything you say or write in the domestic violence restraining order case can be used against you in your criminal case.
If you decide to respond to (answer) the request for the restraining order, follow these steps:
2. Other forms you may need to fill out
If the protected person asked for child support, 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 the protected person asked for spousal, partner, or family support, fill out:
3. 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. Find your local court's website.
4. 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 out your Response properly. Even if they cannot help you with the restraining order response form, they can help you with the child support and spousal/partner support forms.
5. Make at least 2 copies of all your forms
One copy will be for you; another copy will be for the protected person. The original is for the court.
Once you have filled out all your forms, you have to file them with the court and "serve" (give a copy to) the protected persons. Both filing your Response and “serving” it have to be done before your deadline.
1. File your Response and other forms in court
Take the original and 2 copies of your forms to the court clerk to file them. The court clerk will keep the original and return both copies to you, stamped “Filed.” There is NO FEE for you to do this.
2. Serve the protected person with a copy of your forms
You must get someone 18 or older (NOT YOU) to mail a copy of your Response and other papers to the protected person. The person who does this is called the “server” or “process server.”
3. File your proof of service
Have your server fill out a Proof of Service by Mail (CLETS) (Form DV-250) and give it to you. Then, you file it with the court and keep a copy for yourself. This form tells the judge that the protected person got a copy of your Response.
This section will tell you how to get ready for your hearing. Read Get Ready for the Restraining Order Court Hearing (Form DV-520-INFO) for more information.
Do not miss your hearing!
If you miss it, the judge can make the orders without hearing from you.
Get there 30 minutes early:
If there are child custody and visitation issues in your case:
At the end of the hearing, the judge will say what the orders are. The judge may:
- You need more time to get a lawyer or prepare an answer.
- The judge wants more information.
- Your hearing is taking longer than planned.
See Going to Court to read more information about how to prepare for your court hearing.
If the judge issues a restraining order against you at the hearing, or any type of orders, you MUST follow them. If you do not, you can be arrested.
You will be served with the Restraining Order After Hearing (Order of Protection) (CLETS — OAH) (Form DV-130) within a few days of your court date, by mail or in person. If anything on the DV-130 form is different from what the judge ordered, talk to the court clerk right away to see what you can do. If the clerk cannot help you, talk to a lawyer right away. Or talk to your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center to see if there is anything they can help you with.
If a restraining order was issued against you and you were ordered to complete a 52-week batterer intervention program, you have to fill out Proof of Enrollment for Batterer Intervention Program (Form DV-805) and file it with the court. You must do this by the date the judge orders on Form DV-130 or, if no specific date, no later than 30 days after the judge made the order. Once you start your program, you can use the Batterer Intervention Program Progress Report (Form DV-815) to provide updates to the court on your program participation.
And remember, if the restraining order was issued, you CANNOT own, possess, or have a gun or firearm while the order is in effect. If you have a gun now, you have to turn it in to the police or sell it to a gun dealer. Read How Do I Turn In, Sell, or Store My Firearms? (Form DV-800-INFO).
It can be difficult to find free or low-cost legal help if you are responding to a request for a domestic violence restraining order. But you should still try since legal aid agencies have different guidelines, and your local bar association may have a volunteer lawyer program that can help you. Click for help finding a lawyer.
Your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may also be able to help you respond to the restraining order. If they cannot help with the restraining order, they can at least help you with any child support or spousal/partner support issues you may have.
Batterer Intervention Program Information
You can find batterer intervention programs in your area at: California Department of Public Health Violence Prevention Resource Directory which lists help by county.
If you need a court-approved batterer intervention program, contact your county probation department.