Contact the police if physical abuse occurred recently or a threat of harm has been made.
Police will take action if the abuse happened recently and there are signs of physical injury. The police will arrest the domiinat aggressor, if he or she can be found, and will also have an Emergency Protective Order ("EPO") issued. The EPO requires the abuser to stay away from the victim from the time it served on him or her for 72 hours. This provides time for the victim to seek a more permanent restraining order,
Complete court forms to request a restraining order
You need to complete the following forms to request a domestic violence restraining order:
Request for Order, Form DV-100
Temporary Restraining Order, Form DV-110
Notice of Court Hearing, Form DV-109
See the following link for all of the forms mentioned in this guide: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp/protection/dv/formsyouneed.htm
Domestic violence for purposes of a restraining order is broadly defined. It includes physical abuse, stalking, damaging personal property, threats, and harassment.
Complete each section of the forms. Describe the abuse in detail. Use dates, times, and places if possible for all incidents of abuse. Attach copies of police reports, medical reports, and photos if you have them.
You can request custody and visitation orders in the application.
If you have children with the abuser, fill out the following forms and attach them to your application:
Child Custody, Visitation, and Support Request (form DV-105), and
Child Custody and Visitation Order (form DV-140).
You can request that your children be additional protected parties in the order.
You can also request child support in the application,
Fill out the following forms to request child support from the abuser where applicable:
Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150),* or
Financial Statement (Simplified) (form FL-155).*
Child Support Order (Order of Protection) (form DV-160)
*To see whether to use Form FL-155 or FL-150, see Form DV-570 for additional information,
You can also request spousal support in the application,
If you are married to the abuser, or are a domestic partner with that person, and want spousal or domestic partner support, fill out the following forms and attach them to your application:
Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150), and
Spousal, Partner, or Family Support Order Attachment (Family Law) (form FL-343)
File the papers in court and request temporary order.
When you appear in court, the court will read your papers and issue a temporary restraining order pending a hearing. The temporary restraining order will last until the time of the hearing. Most courts have a domestic violence center which can help you complete the forms.
Have the papers served on the abuser.
You need to make sure the papers on served on the abuser prior to the hearing. The police will assist you in serving the papers on request. Make sure a Proof of Service (In Person) (form DV-200) is filed. Be especially careful after the papers are served, as it might provoke further violence by the abuser.
Appear at the hearing.
Go to court on the date set for the hearing and be prepared to testify as to what happened. You can bring witneses and support persons with you. If the court grants your request for a permanent restraining order, it will issue the order for typically three years but it can issue the order for a longer period. If the order is granted, the terms will be entered into the CLETS system, allowing law enforcement to confirm that the order is in effect. The abuser will be immediately arrestable if he or she violates the order, Be careful entering and leaving the courthouse. You can ask the bailiff for an escort to your vehicle if you feel unsafe. You may want to arrive very early, and wait considerable time before leaving the courthouse to avoid a confrontation,
Take actions to protect yourself.
Remember that a restraining order is only a piece of paper. It does not prevent the abuser from causing harm to you -- it only makes it illegal for the abuser to violate the order. Be aware of your surroundings and take security measures to protect yourself. Do not have contact witht the abuser, except as necessary for child custody exchanges,.
Additional resources provided by the author
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
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