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Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Restraining Order

A domestic violence restraining order is a court order that helps protect you from a person with whom you have had a close relationship and who may be physically, sexually or verbally abusing you. It may include orders that tell this person to stay a certain distance from you and what they cannot do to you. These orders provide a separation of the people involved, if you ask the court for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, you should be prepared to not see or talk to the restrained person.

Emergency Protective Order

When a law enforcement officer believes that there is a danger of domestic violence, child abuse, abduction or elder abuse, the officer will contact a judge to request that an emergency protective order be issued. This usually happens after law enforcement has been called to a person’s home due to a disturbance.

This type of protective order is only temporary, and only gives protection for a few days. The protected person must come to the court to file an application for a permanent restraining order before the Emergency Protective Order expires to remain protected.

Frequently Asked Questions

You may apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order if you have been the victim of any of the following:

  • Actual physical violence, such as molesting, attacking, striking, battering;
  • Stalking;
  • Sexual assault;
  • A serious threat of violence
  • Harassing and annoying phone calls;
  • Destruction of personal property.


One of the following is true:

  • You are married or were formerly married to the other person.
  • You have or formerly had a dating relationship with the other party.
  • You and the other party have a child or children together.
  • You are related by blood, marriage or adoption (for example: mother, father, child, brother, sister, grandparent, in-law)
  • You and the other party are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a “household”.

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

Important: There are different types of restraining orders. If you need protection from someone but do not meet the criteria listed above, you can learn about civil harassment restraining orders using the Civil Harassment Forms Packet, in the Civil Forms menu.

To apply for a domestic violence restraining order you must complete the following forms and file them with the court:

There are several other attachments available in the domestic violence forms packet that may apply to your specific situation. For assistance you may contact the Domestic Violence Assistance Program office, or to have your completed documents reviewed visit our Self Help Center.

Domestic Violence hearings are held at 1:30 p.m. each day. Before your case can be heard by the judge you must give the other person at least four hours notice of your intent to request a restraining order against them. If you do not give notice, you will be required to explain to the judge in your written declaration why you did not do so, and the judge will determine if you will need to be scheduled for another date to allow for notice to the other side.

There is no cost for filing Domestic Violence forms.

You will get your order on the same day you come to court if your papers are completed correctly and submitted to the Clerks Office before 3:00 p.m. If you want a person to assist you through the process you should be at the Family Law Court before 8:30 a.m. and go to the Domestic Violence Assistance Program Office on the 7th Floor Room 705 of the Lamoreaux Justice Center.

If you have children with the other person, temporary or long term custody, visitation and support orders may be included in the restraining order.

You can ask the Sheriff in the county where the restrained person lives and works to serve the papers for you, at no cost. You may also have a person over the age of 18, who is not protected by the order, deliver a copy of the papers. This person must complete the Proof of Service form (DV-200).

You should come to the court hearing and tell the courtroom clerk or the judge that you were unable to get the papers served. Your will get a new hearing date and new paperwork that will extend your restraining orders and continue to protect you until the new date. You will need to serve this new form, Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (DV-125), along with the original paperwork you received.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders can last as long as five years.

A protected person can ask the court to renew a restraining order, either for another five years or permanently, whether or not there has been any more violence or threats of violence. If there is a need for renewal, you should apply before the original order runs out. To do this, complete the form, Request to Renew Restraining Order (form DV-700.)

You can ask someone you know to give the papers to the restrained person. The person who serves the papers must be over 18 years old and cannot be one of the parties protected by the order.

If the court issues a restraining order against you, the consequences can be severe:

  • You will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things.
  • You might have to move out of your home.
  • It may affect your ability to see your children.
  • You might not be able to own or purchase a gun.
  • If you violate the court orders, you may go to jail.

If you want the chance to tell your side of the story in court, you should prepare and file a Response and go to court on the date set for your hearing.

As the protected person you should always have a certified copy of the restraining order with you. If the restrained person violates the order by committing or threatening violence, you should call a local law enforcement agency. Once the police officer or sheriff’s deputy reads the order to see if it has been violated, he or she will decide what action to take. The restrained person may be arrested and criminal charges may be filed.

If the restrained person is in violation of provisions such as child support payments, the protected person can contact the Family Law Facilitator or the Department of Child Support Services for assistance.

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 complete the proper forms and file them with the court for a judge to review the request.

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