What is a restraining order?
It is a court order that helps protect people from abuse.
What is abuse?
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.
Can I get a restraining order?
- You can ask for one if a person has abused you.
- You can ask for one if you have a close relationship with that person (married, divorced, separated, dating or use to date, live together or used to live together*) or you are related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law)
*You have to be more involved than just roommates
How will the restraining order help me?
It can order the restrained person to:
- Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you
- Not have a gun
- Move out of your house
- Follow child custody and visitation orders
- Pay child support
There are two types main types of restraining orders:
A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is for people who have or have had a married or dating relationship or are closely related. The person seeking protection must have experienced actual physical violence or a credible threat of physical violence. These requests do not cost anything to file. Instruction to start a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Note: With few exceptions, this court does not like to make orders other than necessary custody/visitation orders in a Domestic Violence case. If you have property or support issues to address, it is best to do those in another case, such as a divorce or paternity action.
A Civil Harassment Restraining Order is appropriate if there is not a romantic or close familial relationship between the parties. Common examples of the types of restraining order are neighbor vs. neighbor, stranger vs. stranger, and distant relative vs. distant relative. The conduct that these orders try to prevent can range from annoying behaviors to physical abuse. Civil Harassment Orders can be made to stop a variety of behaviors, from repetitive phone calling to stalking and physical violence. It costs $355.00 to file a Civil Harassment Retraining Order unless physical harm or the threat of physical harm is present. In that case, fees may be waived. Instructions to start a Civil Harassment Order
Please also note that there are two additional types of restraining order available:
- Elder Abuse Restraining Orders - for seniors who are suffering physical, mental or financial abuse.
- Workplace Violence Restraining Orders - Protects one co-worker from another.
For more detailed information, you may visit the Legal Help Center, or log onto the Judicial Council's self-help Web site at http://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp.htm