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What You Need to Know About Filing a Restraining Order in California

Accusations of domestic violence are taken seriously in California. Moreover, being abused or threatened with abuse should not be tolerated, whether it is committed by a family member, partner, or your friends. If you are dealing with an abusive person -- or one who is threatening you with abuse -- consider requesting a court-issued restraining order for that person. This can help keep you safer, as it requires them to keep a court-ordered distance away from you, your home, and your family.

What Can be Qualified as “Abuse”?

Most cases may deal with physical violence, but as specified under California Law, “abuse” can mean different kinds of actions as each case may represent a particular element of abuse. Abuse includes any of the following actions or behaviors:

  • An intentional or reckless attempt to injure a person
  • Threatening with abuse
  • Stalking or harassing
  • Hitting a person (kicking, pushing, or shoving)
  • Destroying personal property
  • Sexual assault

Abuse has a broad definition under Family Law as it can be verbal, emotional, psychological, or most commonly physical. If you consider the actions of a person abusive, ask an attorney for advice.

Considering a Restraining Order

There are three main kinds of domestic violence restraining orders you could obtain. A judge can issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) in a scenario wherein a law enforcement officer requested such an order. This is typically done when there is an immediate danger involved. EPOs are only temporary in nature, lasting to only seven calendar days. To have an order that can last longer, there is an option for a temporary restraining order (TRO).

To get a TRO, you should go to court and fill out the required paperwork to claim that you are being abused. The judge will approve the order if he or she believes that you need further protection from the accused person. This order is only temporary, only lasting up to three weeks. The TRO would be in place until the formal hearing. At the formal hearing, the judge has the option of issuing a permanent restraining order. Such order could last up to five years and may be renewed by the petitioner.

How to File for a Restraining Order

Filing for a restraining order may take several steps, including making sure that the restraining order is right for you. There is also a consideration to be made on who you want to restrain and what your relationship is to that person. Other steps may require you to file the appropriate court forms, go to a court hearing, or in the case of wanting a permanent restraining order, serving the paperwork to the restrained person. If the recipient of the restraining order was not served, you may request that the judge extend the temporary restraining order until a new court date, in order to give more time to serve the papers.

Talk to a Lawyer

Domestic violence or abuse should not be tolerated by any person, and if you suspect that you may require a restraining order for your own safety, we here at SAC Attorneys LLP can help navigate you through this stressful process. To learn more about filing a restraining order, or to schedule a free, no-risk consultation with our team of family law attorneys, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

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