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California Domestic Violence - General Information:

Often at the commencement of a contested divorce action, very serious issues present themselves immediately – issues which cannot wait for resolution at a settlement or trial which may not come for six months or longer. Where children are involved, it may be necessary to have the court enter temporary custody, visitation, and support orders. If one of the spouses is unemployed, he or she may need temporary spousal support orders. If the emotion and stress of the breakup has resulted in violence, it may be necessary for the court to enter temporary orders restraining violence or ejecting one of the parties from the family home.

In California there are two distinctly different procedures to obtain such temporary orders. If personal restraining orders are needed to eject a party from the home or to enter orders restraining violence, a “domestic violence” procedure may be initiated whether or not a divorce action is in progress in as little as 24 hours. Non-domestic violence orders may be granted only in connection with a pending divorce, legal separation, or paternity action.

Domestic violence orders include:

      • Personal Conduct (Harassment, Violence, Contact)
      • Stay Away Orders
      • Move Out Orders
      • Child Custody, Visitation, and Child Support
      • Permitting Recording Of Restrained Communications
      • Temporary Control Of Property
      • Payment (by the other party) Of Debts
      • Property Restraint (against disposing of jointly-owned property)
      • Payment Of Your Attorney Fees (if any)
      • Payment Of Court Costs
      • Orders Requiring The Other Party To Attend A Batterer’s program
      • Orders Against Possession Of Firearms
      • Orders Against Ownership Of Firearms

You may obtain domestic violence restaining orders if 1) you are the victim of “abuse” and, 2) you have a close relationship with the abuser.

“Abuse” means to hit, kick, hurt, scare, throw things, pull hair, push, follow, harass, sexually assault, or threaten to do any of these things. Abuse can be spoken, written, or physical.

·You have a “close relationship” with someone if:

      • You are now married, or
      • You used to be married, or
      • You live together, or
      • You used to live together, or
      • You are relatives, in-laws, or related by adoption, or
      • You are dating or used to date, or
      • You are engaged to be married or were engaged to be married, or
      • You are parents together of a child or children under 18, or
      • You and/or the other party has signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity for your child or children.

The procedure to obtain domestic violence restraining orders involves two hearings. The first “ex parte” hearing is held on the day you file your papers with as little as 24 hours prior notice to the other party. (And in some cases with no notice at all.) Temporary orders issued at the ex parte hearing are effective only until the date of a second hearing – the “Order To Show Cause” hearing – about 3 weeks later. At the Order To Show Cause Hearing, both parties are given an opportunity to fully present their cases. Orders issued at the Order To Show Cause hearing are effective for 3 years.

First, Fill Out The Basic Forms:

1. For a restraining order, you need to fill out:

2. If you have children with the person you want protection from, you also need to fill out:

  • Child Custody, Visitation, and Support Request (form DV-105), and
  • Child Custody and Visitation Order (form DV-140).

3. If you want child support, you also need to fill out:


*Read Which Financial Form-FL-155 or FL-150? (form DV-570) to find out which form is right for you.

4. Ask the court clerk if your county has special forms or rules. Fill out the forms. Then take them back to the court clerk.

5. Other forms you will need):

After You Have Filled Out The Basic Forms And Obtained Your Initial Order::

Take your forms to the court clerk. The clerk will give your forms to the judge. The judge will look at them and decide to make the order, or not. Sometimes the judge may want to talk to you. If so, the clerk will tell you.

Find out if the judge made the temporary restraining order.
Ask the clerk when to come back to see if the judge signed the Temporary Restraining Order (form DV-110). The judge must decide by the next business day. Check to see if the judge made any changes.

"File" the judge's order. 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 5 "filed-stamped" copies. If you need more, make them yourself.

What to do with your copies:

      • Keep 1 copy with you, always. You may need to show it to thepolice.
      • 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 school, work, etc.).
      • Give a copy to the security officers in your apartment and office buildings.

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 some counties, the court sends your order to the state computer for you. Ask the clerk if your court will do this. If not, take a copy of the order to your local police. Click here for help finding a law enforcement agency.

They can enter your order into the computer.

Know your hearing date. Look at form DV-110 for the date and time of your hearing. You must go to your hearing to get a permanent order. The order you have after the first hearing only lasts for about 3 weeks.

"Serve" the restrained person. Ask someone you know, a process server, or law enforcement to personally "serve" (give) the restrained person a copy of the order. You can't send it by mail.

The server must:

      • Be 18 or over
      • Not be protected by the orders.
      • Law enforcement will serve the orders for free.*

A "process server" is a business you pay to deliver court forms. Look in the Yellow Pages of your phone book, under "Process Serving."*

*If law enforcement or the process server uses a different Proof of Service form, make sure it lists the forms served.

For more help with service, read What is "Proof of Service"? (form DV-210).

File your Proof of Service. The Proof of Service (In Person) (form DV-200) shows the judge and police that the restrained person got a copy of the order. Make 5 copies of the completed Proof of Service. Take the original and 5 copies to the court clerk before your hearing. The clerk will keep the original and give you back the copies stamped "Filed." Bring a copy to your hearing.

Keep 1 copy with you and another in a safe place in case you need to show it to the police. Give the other copies out like you did in 3. Some courts send the Proof of Service to law enforcement for you. That way, police across the state know that the restrained person knows about the orders. Ask the clerk if they will do this. If not, take a copy of the order and Proof of Service to your local police.

If the restrained person wasn't served. The restrained person must be served before the hearing. If the restrained person wasn't served, fill out a Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (form DV-125) to ask the judge for a new hearing date. Do this before or at your hearing. (If you wait until after the hearing, you have to start from the beginning.)

If the judge signs this order, the restraining order will last until the new hearing date.

      • File the signed Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (form DV-125) with the clerk.
      • Attach it to your other court papers and get the restrained person served.
      • Give a "filed-stamped" copy of form DV-125 to your local police.
      • Bring a copy to your hearing.

After serving the orders, the server fills out and signs the Proof of Service (In Person) (form DV-200) and gives it to you. File your Proof of Service.

The Second (Order To Show Cause) Hearing:

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.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will say what the orders are.
Make sure your form DV-130 says what the judge has ordered.

Sometimes the clerk fills out the form for you. If not, fill it out yourself. If you filled it out before the hearing, you may have to make changes.

Review it and make sure you understand. If anything is wrong or missing, tell the clerk right away.

If the judge makes the orders, the judge will sign your DV-130. Take it to the clerk to file it. The clerk will give you up to 5 copies.

Ask the clerk if the court will fill out DV-130 for you. If not, fill it out. Click here for additional forms you may need to attach to your DV-130.

If the judge makes the orders, go to the clerk and file DV-130.

Take a copy of DV-130 to your local police or sheriff if the clerk doesn't send it for you.

If the restrained person was at the hearing, you can have him or her served with a copy of DV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-250 and give it back to you after the restrained person receives DV-130.

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 DV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-250 and give it back to you.

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 DV-130 in person, not by mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-200 and give it back to you.

Remember, you and other protected people can't serve the orders.
The sheriff or marshal can serve the orders for free. Ask the court clerk if you need to file more forms.

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