Requesting a Domestic Violence Restraining Order in San Diego County
A How-To and Important Information Regarding Requesting a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
What is Abuse?In order to qualify for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you must have been abused, or threatened to be abused.
The Family Code defines abuse as the following: "Abuse means to intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to you; or sexually assault you; or to place you or another person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or to molest, attack, hit, stalk, threaten, batter, harass, telephone, or contact you; or to disturb your peace; or destroy your personal property. Abuse can be spoken, written, or physical."
You will need to show the Court that you are experiencing apprehension of either current or imminent serious bodily injury or abuse. The more remote the abuse is to the time of your request for the restraining order, the less likely your request will be granted.
Who may request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?The person who perpetrated the abuse must have one of the following relationships with you: (a) You are married or were formerly married; (b) You are engaged or dating, or formerly engaged or dating; (c) You have a child or children together; (d) You are related by blood, marriage, or adoption; or (e) You are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a "household"
If you and the person you are requesting be restrained do not fall into any of these categories, you will not qualify for a DVRO. You may however qualify for a Civil Harassment Order, Dependent Adult or Elder Abuse Restraining Order, or Workplace Violence Order.
Complete the Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) formsComplete all required forms. A list of the required forms is available on the Court's website. If you need assistance completing the forms and are unable to hire an attorney, San Diego County offers Domestic Violence Restraining Order clinics through the local courthouses free of charge. You may also seek assistance from the Family Law Facilitator's office.
What will you need to complete the forms?(a) Name, address, and date of birth for the person you would like restrained; (b) Physical description of the person you would like restrained; (c) Photographs of any injuries , or copies of any e-mails/text messages giving rise to your request for a restraining order; (d) Copies of any police reports or incident numbers; (e) Declarations of any witnesses
File the Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) formsGo to your Court's clerk's office and file the forms. There is no fee for filing these documents. After you file the forms with the Court, a judge will review and determine if they will issue a Temporary Restraining Order. This is usually completed same day, however be sure to ask the Clerk if you should wait or come back another time.
If the Judge grants your request, a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) and a hearing date will be issued. A Temporary Restraining Order is usually valid for approximately two (2) weeks, or until the hearing date.
Have the other party servedThe person you are requesting be restrained must be notified of the existence of the temporary restraining order and the hearing date and time. This allows them the opportunity to be "heard" before a judge. A permanent restraining order will not be granted unless the other party has been served.
You must have someone, other than yourself, who is over the age of 18 personally serve the other party. You may request the sheriff's office serve the party, but you must make a request, it does not happen automatically. If someone other than the Sheriff's Department serves the other party, be sure to have them complete a Proof of Personal Service.
Appear for HearingAt the hearing, the Judge will review the evidence, testimony of parties, etc. and determine whether a "permanent" restraining order is appropriate. If the Court finds that it is not, the temporary restraining order will terminate. Permanent restraining order does not mean indefinitely. A permanent restraining order may issue for 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or indefinitely, as the Court determines on the facts.