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Who Can File a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?

If you and the other party 1) do not have a close relationship (married, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, live together or used to live together), or 2) are not related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-laws), you can ask for a Civil Harassment Restraining Order if you are worried about your safety because someone:

  • Stalked,
  • Harassed,
  • Sexually assaulted, or
  • Threatened you with violence.

Find out more information about Civil Harassment Restraining Orders by reading Can a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Help Me? (CH-100-INFO) .

There are other kinds of Restraining Orders if this type does not apply to your situation:


How Will a Restraining order Help Me?

The judge can order a person to:

  • Not harass or threaten you,
  • Not contact or go near you, and
  • Not have a gun.

Can I have More Than One Restraining Order at the Same Time?

It is not uncommon for a protected person to have more than one order. A person may ask for a restraining order in Family Law or Civil even when there is a Criminal Restraining Order. A Criminal Protective Order can expire for reasons beyond your control. An order issued in Family Law or Civil will not expire early unless it is ordered to expire by the judge after a hearing.

A Criminal Protective Order, however, always has priority over any other type of restraining order. That means if the criminal order is different from another restraining order, it will supersede any other orders as the primary order that must be obeyed. For example, if the Civil Order allows contact and the Criminal Order states "no contact" the parties are not allowed to have contact.


Where to File

Where you can file your case is determined by where the respondent lives or where the alleged harassment took place. The General Information section of this website can provide you with the addresses of the court’s Justice Centers and the cities within their venue. For example, if the respondent lives in Anaheim and the harassment occurred in Anaheim, your case is filed at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

TIMES:

  • Court hours are Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm.
  • Final check-in at the Clerk’s Office is 4:00pm. All parties should appear in the Civil Division Clerk’s Office, or Self-Help Center no later than 3:00pm to complete the paperwork.
  • The Self-Help Center closes at 3:00pm on Fridays. If the Self-Help Center is closed, the Civil Division Clerk’s Office can assist you.

Forms to Complete

You are called the petitioner / protected person. The person you are seeking a Restraining Order against is called the respondent/restrained person.

YOU NEED TO COMPLETE:
YOU CAN GET THEM:

If you need help with your restraining order, then visit one of the court’s Self-Help Centers.


Filing the Forms and Getting a Hearing

NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER:

If you need immediate protection, you can ask the judge for a Temporary Restraining Order which lasts until your hearing date. However, before filing the forms, you must give written or telephonic "notice" to the respondent of when and where you will be seeking a Temporary Restraining Order, or give the court a good reason why you could not give such notice. The form that you use for this is called Declaration "Re: Notice Temporary Restraining Order (L-0889)" and is included in the forms above.

FILE THE FORMS IN THE CIVIL DIVISION CLERK’S OFFICE:

After completing the forms, you will file them in the Civil Division Clerk’s Office no later than 4:00pm, Monday – Friday.

FILING FEES:

If the restrained person has used or threatened to use violence against you or has stalked you, you may not have to pay a filing fee.

FEE WAIVER:

If the filing fee and service fee were not waived because there is not a credible threat of violence or stalking, but you cannot afford to pay the fees, you can apply for a fee waiver. For more information, go to the Waiving Court Fees and Costs section of this website.

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER:

If the documents are filed by 4:00pm, a judge will rule on your request for a Temporary Restraining Order on the same day. The Judge will be deciding based upon on what is stated in the documents you filed. Usually, you will not have the opportunity to speak to the judge until the full hearing date. KEEP A CERTIFIED COPY OF THIS ORDER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES in case you need to show it to a law enforcement officer.

HEARING DATE:

A court hearing will be set in about 3 weeks so the judge can decide if the orders will continue for up to 3 years. The judge may give you the option to mediate your case if both parties are present. If you fail to appear, the judge may dismiss your case. The Temporary Restraining Order will also expire and you will have no further protection.

If you have a disability and need help, fill out a Request for Accommodations By Persons With Disabilities (MC-410)  and file it with the court as soon as possible, but at least five days before the hearing date.

A child waiting room called "Children’s Chambers" is available for eligible children. You can read more about their services and guidelines.


Serving the Respondent

You are entitled to free service by the Orange County Sheriff if the order is based on a credible threat of violence or stalking. Check to see if section 10 has been completed by the judge on the form Temporary Restraining Order (CH-110) .

Complete the Sheriff Instruction form (OCSD1) . The clerk will forward the documents to the Sheriff if requested.

If section 10 has not been checked, you may still request that the Sheriff serve your documents for a fee. You may also request a person over 18, and not involved in the case, or a licensed process server serve the documents. Read What Is "Proof of Personal Service"? (CH-200-INFO) .

Refer to section 5 of the conformed copy signed by the judge of the Notice of Court Hearing (CH-109)  to determine what forms must be served and when they must be served by. The forms normally must be served at least five days prior to the hearing.

Service usually includes serving the following forms:

IMPORTANT: After successful service, the Sheriff or server must file a Proof of Personal Service (CH-200)  before the hearing date.


After the Hearing

If the judge signs the Restraining Order, it can last up to 3 years. The judge may also order that you immediately take a conformed copy of the Civil Harassment Restraining Order After Hearing (CH-130)  and blank proof of service forms to law enforcement so they know about the Restraining Order. The Civil Division Clerk’s Office staff can help you with this.

KEEP A CERTIFIED COPY OF THIS ORDER WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES in case you need to show it to a Law Enforcement Officer.


Responding to a Civil Harassment Restraining Order Request

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER:

The person requesting the Restraining Order, the petitioner, can ask the judge to issue a Temporary Restraining Order that lasts until the hearing date. If you receive notice from the petitioner, usually by a phone call, advising you that the petitioner is requesting a Temporary Restraining Order, you have the right to appear before the judge to object to the issuance. However, the petitioner can also request a Temporary Restraining Order without letting you know if they are fearful of contacting you.

FILING A RESPONSE:

After the petitioner files the papers with the court, a hearing date will be set. You must be served with a copy of the papers. Once you receive them, read them carefully. If a Temporary Restraining Order was granted, you must obey the temporary orders of the court.

    This includes:
  • Personal Conduct Orders
  • Stay-Away Order
  • No Guns or Other Firearms
  • Turn in or Sell Guns or Firearms

To protect your rights, read:

If you disagree with the orders listed in the temporary Restraining Order:

  • Fill Out the Response to Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders
    (CH-120) 
    .
  • Have someone other than yourself mail a copy of the completed Answer to the petitioner.
  • The person who mails a copy of the Response must fill out a Proof of Service of Response by Mail (CH-250)  and mail it along with the Response.
  • The original Response and Proof of Service of Response by Mail must be filed with the court prior to the hearing.
  • There is no filing fee if the person who asked for the order against you claimed that you used or threatened to use violence against them or have acted in some way that you make them fear violence.

Attend the hearing. If you do not, the judge can issue orders against you.


Guns and Firearms

The judge may order that the restrained person not own, possess, buy or try to buy, receive or try to receive, or otherwise get a gun while a Restraining Order is in effect. If a restrained person violates this order, it can result in jail and/or $1,000.00 fine. The restrained person must sell to a licensed gun dealer or turn in to a law enforcement agency any guns or other firearms that he/she has or control in accordance with the order of the court. If the court makes this order, the restrained person must comply and then file Proof of Firearms Turned In or Sold (CH-800) . For more information, read How Do I Turn In or Sell My Firearms? (CH-800-INFO) . If the restrained person does not obey the court order, he or she can be charged with a crime.


How to Get More Information

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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