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Reporting Abuse to the Authorities

Call your local police department. IF THE ABUSE IS LIFE THREATENING, CALL 911. The police can issue an Emergency Protective Order to protect you.


What is Abuse?

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.


Where to Get Help

There are several agencies that can provide you with help in getting a Restraining Order, counseling and treatment options, shelter information as well as other legal assistance. Here are a few:

  • Restraining Order:
    • Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office located in room C611, 6th floor, at the Superior Court of Orange County, Lamoreaux Justice Center
    • 341 The City Drive S.
      Orange, CA 92868
    • (714) 935-7956
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline:
    • (800) 799-7233
  • Anaheim Family Justice Center: Offers comprehensive services
  • Mariposa Women and Family Center: Counseling and support
  • Vietnamese Community of Orange County, Inc.:
  • Legal Assistance:
    • Legal Aid Society of Orange County: (714) 571-5200
    • Public Law Center: (714) 541-1010
    • Orange County Bar Association: (949) 440-6747
  • Shelters:
    • Human Options: (877) 854-3594
    • Laura’s House: (949) 498-1511
    • The Sheepfold: (877) 743-3736
    • Women’s Transitional Living Center: (714) 992-1931
    • Interval House: (562) 594-4555

Who Can File a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

You may apply for a Domestic Violence 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, have a child together, dating or used to date, live together or used to live together; or
  • You are related within the second degree of affinity or consanguinity. This means: mother or mother-in-law, father or father-in-law, child or 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 must be through a current marriage.

IMPORTANT: You can also ask that other family or household members be protected by the Restraining Order.

The person seeking protection is called the protected person. The person you want protection from is called the restrained person.

If there is a divorce, legal separation, or paternity case on file with the Superior Court of California, County of Orange, you do not need to open a Domestic Violence case. You should file your request for restraining orders in the related family law case.

If you do not qualify for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, there are other kinds of orders. You can ask for:

Find out more information by reading:

How Will a Restraining Order Help Me?

The court can order a restrained person:

  • Not to contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you
  • Not to have a gun or ammunition
  • To Move out of your house
  • Obey child custody and visitation orders
  • Pay child and/or spousal support
  • Obey orders about property

Violation of a restraining order is a crime.


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 Family Law Order allows contact and the Criminal Order states "no contact" the parties are not allowed to have contact.


Where to File

If the restrained person lives or the alleged harassment or abuse took place in Orange County, the request for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is filed in the Superior Court of Orange County at the Lamoreaux Justice Center (Family Law Clerk’s Office, 7th Floor), 341 The City Drive, Orange, CA 92868.

Court hours are 8:00am-4:00pm, Monday-Friday. You can also ask for an immediate Temporary Restraining Order on the same day if your papers are completed correctly and filed with the Family Law Clerk’s Office before 4:00pm. A Temporary Restraining Order protects you until the hearing date.

Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office hours are 8:00am-4:00pm (closed from 12:00pm-12:30pm). If you want help with the forms and procedures, you can go to the Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office on the 6th floor in Room C-611, (714) 935-7956. If you want a Temporary Restraining Order issued on the same day, you should arrive at the Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office by 8:30am so that the forms can be completed in time to file in the Family Law Clerk’s Office by the 4:00pm deadline.

Forms to Complete

Read How Do I Ask For a Temporary Restraining Order? (DV-505-INFO) . The Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office will help you with selecting the right forms and completing them.

The forms you may need include:
If you have children with the person you want protection from, you may also need:
If you want child support or spousal support, you may also need:

To know which one is right for you, read "Which Financial Form?" (DV-570) 

You can get these forms:
  • Online by clicking on the forms above
  • Information forms are available in Chinese, Korean, Spanish or Vietnamese.
    • NOTE: All forms must be filed in English.
  • Get help in person with how to file a Restraining Order at the Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office-see above.

Filing the Forms and Getting a Hearing

NOTICE OF REQUEST FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER:

If you need immediate protection, you can ask the court for a Temporary Restraining Order. Before filing the forms, you must give written or telephonic "notice" to the restrained person of when and where you will be seeking a Temporary Restraining Order, or give the judge a good reason why you could not give notice. The form that you use for this is called "Declaration Re: Notice (L-1124)" and is included in the forms above. The Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office (see above) can further explain the process.

FILE THE FORMS IN THE FAMILY LAW DIVISION CLERK’S OFFICE:

After completing the forms, you will file them in the Family Law Division Clerk’s Office on the 7th floor of the Lamoreaux Justice Center, no later than 4:00pm, Monday – Friday.

FILING FEE:

There is no fee to file these documents.

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER:

The judge generally rules on your request for a Temporary Restraining Order on the same day you make the request. If the judge grants your request, check it carefully to see what the orders are. The judge might not order everything you requested. The court will set a hearing date regardless of whether Temporary Restraining Orders were granted or not.

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

HEARING DATE:

After you appear before the judge to ask for a Temporary Restraining Order, a court hearing will be set in about 3 weeks so the judge can hear from both parties before deciding if the orders will continue for up to 5 years. Hearings are scheduled at 8:30am, Monday-Friday. 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.

A support person may accompany you in court, and if you are not represented by an attorney, may sit with you at the counsel table. The support person is present to provide moral and emotional support to you. The support person is not present as a legal adviser and may not provide legal advice. The support person may assist you in feeling more confident that you will not be injured or threatened by the other party during the proceedings.

For more information, read "Get Ready for the Court Hearing" (DV-520-INFO) .

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 children’s waiting room is available known as Children’s Chambers. You can read more about their services and guidelines.

You should have the following forms prepared for your hearing date for the permanent restraining order:

For more information, read Can a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Help Me? (DV-500-INFO) .


Serving the Restrained Person

You are entitled to free service by the Orange County Sheriff. Complete the Sheriff Instruction form (OCSD1) . The clerk will forward the documents to the Sheriff if requested.

The documents may also by a licensed process server or by any person over 18 and not involved in the case. You can learn more about serving the documents by reading the form What is Proof of Personal Service? (DV-200-INFO) . The server must prove to the court that the documents were served on the person that you want restrained by filing with the court a Proof of Personal Service (DV-200)  before the hearing date.

Refer to section 5 of the conformed copy signed by the judge of the "Notice of Hearing (DV-109)" form to determine what forms must be served on the restrained person and the date they must be served by.


Can I Cancel the Hearing?

If item 4 (a)(2) or 4 (a)(3) is checked on the conformed copy signed by the judge on the Notice of Court Hearing (DV-109) form, the judge has denied some or all of the temporary orders you requested until the court hearing. The judge may make the orders you want after the court hearing. You can keep the hearing date, or you can cancel your request for orders so there is no court hearing.

If you want to cancel the hearing, fill out a Waiver of Hearing on Denied Request for Temporary Restraining Order (DV-112)  and file it with the court as soon as possible. If you cancel the hearing, do not serve the documents on the other person. You may file a new request for orders, on the same or different facts, at a later time.


After the Hearing

If the judge signs the restraining order, it expires on the date set forth in the order - up to 5 years. For more information, read:

You must have the restrained person served with a conformed copy signed by the judge of the Restraining Order After Hearing (DV-130):

  • If the restrained person was at the hearing you may have him or her served by someone over the age of 18 with a copy of the Restraining Order After Hearing by mail.
  • If the restrained person was NOT at the hearing, and the judge’s orders are the SAME as the the temporary order, you may have him or her served by someone over the age of 18 with a copy of the Restraining Order after Hearing by mail.
  • If the restrained person was not at the hearing, and the judge’s orders are different from the temporary order, you must have someone over the age of 18 serve the Restraining Order after Hearing in PERSON, not by mail.

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


What if I Could Not Serve the Restraining Order in Time for the Hearing?

REQUESTING A NEW HEARING DATE

If the forms cannot be served in time for the court hearing you should come to the court hearing and tell the judge that you were unable to get the papers served. Fill out the following forms and bring them to court:

You will get a new hearing date and forms that will extend your Temporary Restraining Order until the new hearing date. Read the step by step instructions in How to Ask for a New Hearing Date (DV-115-INFO) .

SERVING THE RESTRAINED PERSON

You are entitled to free service by the Orange County Sheriff. Complete the Sheriff Instruction form (OCSD1)  . The clerk will forward the documents to the Sheriff if requested.

The documents may also by a licensed process server or by any person over 18 and not involved in the case. You can learn more about serving the documents by reading the form What is Proof of Personal Service (DV-200-INFO) . The server must prove to the court that the documents were served on the person that you want restrained by filing with the court a Proof of Personal Service (DV-200)  before the hearing date.

Refer to section 5 of the conformed copy signed by the judge on the Notice of Hearing (DV-109) form to determine what forms must be served on the restrained person and the date they must be served by. You must also serve a filed copy of Request to Continue Court Hearing and Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (DV-115) and the Notice of New Hearing and Order on Reissuance (DV-116).

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


Contesting or Responding To a Request for a Restraining Order

TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER:

The person requesting the restraining order, called the protected person, can ask the judge to immediately issue a Temporary Restraining Order that lasts until the hearing date. If you (the restrained person) receive notice from the protected person, usually a phone call, advising you that someone is requesting a Temporary Restraining Order, you have the right to appear before the judge to object to it. In some cases, a person may request a Temporary Restraining Order without letting you know if that person is fearful of contacting you.

HOW TO FILE A RESPONSE:

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

This may include:
  • Personal conduct orders
  • Stay-away orders
  • Moving out of the house
  • No guns or other firearms while the order is in effect
  • Child custody and visitation orders
  • Child and spousal support

If you do not obey the Order, you can be arrested and charged with a crime. To protect your rights, read How Can I Respond to a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order? (DV-120-INFO) 

You can agree or disagree with the orders:

You may receive assistance at any of the Self-Help Centers.


Violating the Restraining Order

The protected person should always carry a certified copy of the Restraining Order. If the restrained person violates the order, call the police or 911 if it is life threatening. The police will decide what action to take. The restrained person may be arrested and criminal charges may be filed.


Extending (Renewing) the Date of the Permanent Restraining Order

RENEWING THE RESTRAINING ORDER:

A protected person may ask the court to renew a restraining order, either for additional five years or permanently, whether or not there has been any more violence or threats of violence. If there is a need for renewal, he or she should apply before the original order runs out. To renew a restraining order, follow the step-by-step instructions in the form called How Do I Ask the Court to Renew My Restraining Order? (DV-700-INFO) .

Fill out and file with the court the following forms:
SERVING THE RESTRAINED PERSON WITH THE REQUEST FOR RENEWAL:
COURT HEARING:

Go to the court hearing. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to renew the order. Complete and bring the forms:

SERVING THE RESTRAINED PERSON WITH THE ORDER AFTER THE HEARING:

After the judge grants the Order to Renew Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DV-
730) 
, you must have the form served, either by mail or in person, depending on whether the restrained person appeared at the hearing:

  • Have someone at least 18 years old serve the retrained person.
  • Or, you are entitled to free service by the Orange County Sheriff. Complete the Sheriff Instruction form (OCSD2) . The clerk will forward the documents to the Sheriff if requested.

For more information on serving the Order, read section 13 of the form called How Do I Ask the Court to Renew My Restraining Order? (DV-700-INFO) . The person who serves the order must complete either:

File the original Proof of Service with the court as soon as possible. Keep a copy in a safe place.

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


Contesting or Responding to a Request to Renew a Restraining Order

The protected person can make a request to the court to extend (renew) a restraining order prior to the time in which it expires. You can agree or disagree with the request by filling out and filing with the court a form called Response to Request to Renew Restraining Order (DV-720) .

Have someone at least 18 years old serve the protected person by mail with a copy of the Response. They must complete a Proof of Service by Mail (DV-250) . Bring this form with you to the hearing.

The court will consider your Response at the hearing. You must continue to obey the current restraining order until the hearing. If you do not come to the hearing, the court may renew the order against you for up to 5 years or permanently.

You may wish to talk to a lawyer about your rights.


Can I Cancel the Restraining Order?

Only a judge can change or cancel a restraining order before its time limit has passed. If you wish to make this request, you will need to fill out a Request for Dismissal (CIV-110)  and file it with the court. A hearing may be required.


Domestic Violence Prevention Services Project

The Domestic Violence Prevention Services Project (DVPSP) establishes within Family Court a unique model for the special handling of Domestic Violence Civil Restraining Orders when the parties have children in common. Increased and specialized judicial oversight and review are the cornerstones of this prevention based program.

The DVPSP program was developed and implemented by the Superior Court of Orange County in 1997 to address the serious issue of domestic violence and its impact on children and victims. Highly trained Court Investigators gather background information, including police reports, criminal and DVPSP histories, child abuse reports and witness statements regarding domestic violence. The Court Investigator interviews each parent separately and at separate times. Children of an appropriate age may be interviewed. The court receives a written report detailing the Court Investigator’s finding and any recommendations for the protection of the victim and the children during visitation or visitation exchanges.

An investigation is ordered by the court when a Temporary Restraining Order is requested by an individual. Only those cases in which there are children involved are eligible to participate. The DVPSP includes a specialized assessment and investigation provided at no cost to the family. It is not a criminal investigation. The information gathered helps the court determine who is the "primary aggressor" and provides recommendations for a safe parenting plan. All investigations are performed by trained, experienced court staff assigned to Family Court Services. All Domestic Violence Court Investigators are skilled professionals who have at least a Master’s Degree and extensive clinical experience in the fields of psychology, marriage, family and child counseling, or social work. They are trained in investigations, domestic violence assessment and conflict resolution.


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 (DV-800) . If the restrained person does not obey the court order, they can be charged with a crime. Read How Do I Turn In Or Sell My Firearms? (DV-800-INFO) .


ENFORCING OUT-OF-STATE RESTRAINING ORDERS

If you have a restraining order from another state, that order is valid in California. If you want your out-of-state restraining order to be entered into California’s restraining order computer system, you can register your order in California. It will then be available to law enforcement all over California so police officers can find out about your order in case you need to call them.

The out-of-state restraining order:

  • Must be valid and in full force and effect.
  • Must have not been changed, canceled, or replace by any other order.
  • Must have made in a state other than California, or in a U.S. territory, Indian tribal court, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virginia Island, or in a military court.

To register your restraining order with the Superior Court of Orange County:

The clerk will provide you with a certified copy of the California Order and Out-of-State Order and arrange for the Orders to be entered into California’s restraining order computer system.

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


How to Get More Information

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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