is a restraining order right for me?


What is a domestic violence restraining order?

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that can help protect someone who has been abused or threatened with abuse.

Can I get for a domestic violence restraining order?

You can ask for a restraining order if a person has abused you or threatened to abuse you AND you have one of the following relationships with that person: married, divorced, separated, registered domestic partnership, dating or used to date, have a child together, live together or used to live together.

OR if you are related to the person who is abusing you as their mother or mother-in-law, father or father-in-law, child, stepchild, or legally adopted child, grandparent or grandparent-in-law, grandchild or grandchild-in-law, sister or sister-in-law, brother or brother-in-law, stepparent, daughter-in-law or son-in-law. The in-law, however, must be through a current marriage.

What if I don’t have the relationship necessary to get a domestic violence restraining order?

There are other kinds of orders that you can ask for, such as:

  • A civil harassment order- covers neighbors, roommates, aunts, uncles, or cousins.
  • A dependent adult or elder abuse order
  • A workplace violence order

An advocate at Wild Iris can help you determine which restraining order best fits your situation.

What qualifies as abuse?

Abuse means to intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to you, to 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, disturb your peace or destroy your personal property. Abuse can spoken, written, or physical.

How soon can I get the order?

The judge will decide within one business day whether or not to make any temporary orders. Sometimes the judge will decide sooner.

How will the restraining order help me?

The court can order your abuser to:

  • Not contact or go near your, your children, your other relatives, your pets, or others who live with you.
  • Not have any guns or ammunition
  • Move out of your home
  • Obey child custody and visitation orders
  • Pay child support
  • Pay spousal support
  • Obey orders about property
  • Enroll in a batterer’s intervention program

How do I ask for a domestic violence restraining order?

Contact your local Wild Iris office for assistance. A Wild Iris advocate will assist you with completing the proper forms and will turn them into the court for your. The judge will review your request for a domestic violence restraining order, and if granted, you will receive a copy of your Temporary Restraining Order, signed by a judicial officer. The court will issue you a hearing date to make the order permanent.

How long does the order last?

If the judge makes a temporary order, it will last until the hearing date. At the hearing, the judge will decide to continue or cancel the order. If the judge decides to continue the order, it can last up to 5 years. Child custody, visitation, child support and spousal support orders can last longer than 5 years; they do not end when the restraining order ends.

How much does a domestic violence restraining order cost?

There is no cost for a domestic violence restraining order.

How will my abuser know about the order?

Someone who is at least 18 – NOT YOU,or anyone else protected by the order – must “serve” (give) your abuser a copy of the order in person. If your request for a domestic violence restraining order is prepared by Wild Iris, your advocate can facilitate having law enforcement or a private company serve the order for you.

What if my abuser doesn’t obey the order?

Call the police immediately. Your abuser can be arrested and charged with a crime.

Do I have to go to court to get a restraining order?

If your request for a domestic violence restraining order is prepared by Wild Iris, your advocate will take care of the initial filing with the court. However, you will have to attend the court hearing. If you do not, your order will end. If you are nervous or scared to attend the hearing by yourself, ask your Wild Iris advocate if he/she will accompany you. Although your advocate will not be able to speak on your behalf or give you any advice, he/she will be able to sit with you and support you while the judge hears your case.

Will I see my abuser at the court hearing?

Yes, if your abuser comes to the court hearing. But, your abuser does not have the right to speak to you. If you are afraid, tell your Wild Iris advocate so he/she can let the bailiff know. The bailiff can take extra measures to ensure you are safe in court.

Do I need an attorney?

Having an attorney is always a good idea, especially if you have children, but it is not required.

What if the judge denies my request for a domestic violence restraining order?

If your request for a domestic violence restraining order is denied, there may be other types of protection orders that can help you. A Wild Iris advocate can help you find resources for other options. Wild Iris will also help you to safety plan to help keep you safe from future incidents.

I have a restraining order from another country/state. Is it still good in California or do I need a new one?

Restraining orders issued within the United States are valid anywhere in the United States. Orders from outside the country may not be. If you have a restraining order from another country, you should consult an attorney or the local Family Law Facilitator where you will be visiting or relocating to determine if your restraining order is valid there. Your Wild Iris advocate can help you get in contact with the right person.

What if I have a previous history of abuse and filed for a domestic violence restraining order before, but did not pursue it, and now, want to file again?

It is not unusual for victims of domestic violence to have filed a restraining order and then decide they do not want it. Just because you filed a restraining order in the past does mean you cannot file again, as long as your situation meets the criteria for a domestic violence restraining order.

What if I don’t have a green card?

You can get a restraining order even if you are not a U.S. citizen.

Can my abuser and I agree to cancel the order?

No. After the order is issued, only a judge can change or cancel it.

Can I use the restraining order to get a divorce or terminate a registered domestic partnership?

No. A domestic violence restraining order will not end your marriage or registered domestic partnership. You must file other forms to end you marriage or registered domestic partnership. A Wild Iris advocate can help you to locate those resources.

What if I want to leave the Country or State?

The restraining order is valid anywhere in the United States. If you move out of California, contact the local police so they will know about your orders.

 

If you have any other questions about restraining orders or wish to request one, contact your local Wild Iris office to speak with an advocate.