Ask for a Restraining Order

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Are You in Danger Now? If you need help right now, call “911.”

Ask for a Restraining Order

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? (Form EA-100-INFO).

2. You qualify to ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order. You qualify if:

  • You are 65 or older or a dependent adult, AND
  • You have been:
    • Physically abused,
    • Financially abused,
    • Mentally or emotionally abused,
    • Neglected,
    • Abandoned or abducted,
    • Isolated, or
    • Deprived by a caregiver of things or services you need to avoid harm or suffering.

3. If available, you get help from an agency in your area. Or call the Senior Legal Hotline at 1-800-222-1753.

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.

Your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may also be able to help you with the restraining order. Or you can hire a lawyer. Click for help finding a lawyer.

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. Fill out your restraining order forms:

  • Request for Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders (Form EA-100);
  • Confidential CLETS Information (Form CLETS-001);
  • Items 1 and 2 of the Notice of Court Hearing (Form EA-109);
  • Items 1, 2 and 3 of the Temporary Restraining Order (CLETS — TEA or TEF) (Form EA-110); and
  • Additional Page (Form MC-020) or Attachement to Judicial Council Form (Form MC-025) if you need more space to describe why you need the restraining order.
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet (Form CM-010). Not all courts require this form, so ask the court clerk to make sure you need it.

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.


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 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.

  • 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 (CLETS — TEA or TEF) (Form EA-110).
  • If the judge made any changes to the orders you asked for in your request.
  • When your court hearing is, on the Notice of Court Hearing (Form EA-109). The court hearing is also the date your temporary order, if it was granted, runs out. If you want to extend it, you must go to your hearing to get a permanent order.
  • 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.

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 an elder or dependent adult abuse 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 for tips to help you work with a court interpreter.
  • If you are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have another disability, ask for an interpreter or other accommodation. Click for more information for persons with disabilities and a form to ask for an accommodation.

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 work, any security people at your home or building, etc.).

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.


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 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.”

For more help with service, read What Is “Proof of Personal Service”? (Form EA-200-INFO). And read the section of this website 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 item 3 on page 1 of Form EA-109.
  • Look at the number of days written in Item 5 on page 2 of Form EA-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:

  • Response to Request for Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders (Form EA-120)
  • How Can I Respond to a Request for Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders? (Form EA-120-INFO)
  • Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (Form EA-800).

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.

  • 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.
  • 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 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:

1. Fill out a Request to Continue Court Hearing and to Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (Form EA-115) and items 1 and 2 of a Notice of New Hearing Date and Order on Reissuance (Form EA-116).

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.


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.

Be prepared:

  • Take documents that help prove the abuse (including financial abuse) or to back up your claims of emotional and mental suffering. 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;
    • Copies of financial documents that show the abuse;
    • Damaged property;
    • A threatening letter, e-mail, or telephone messages.
  • Take a blank Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS — EAR or EAF) (Form EA-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 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 and the court was not able to provide you with an interpreter, take someone to interpret for you. Do not ask a child, another 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.  If not, make sure you arrange for child care.

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.

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, 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.

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

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.

  • If the restrained person was at the hearing, you do not have to legally serve him or her with a copy of Form EA-130. But it is a good idea to do it, and if you choose to, you can have him or her served with a copy of Form EA-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service of Order After Hearing by Mail (Form EA-260) 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 EA-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Service of Order After Hearing by Mail (Form EA-260) 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 EA-130 in person, NOT by mail. Ask the server to complete the Proof of Personal Service (Form EA-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 can NOT serve the orders.


Getting Help

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:

Your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center may also be able to help you.

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