Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in California

This guide can help you follow the process to:


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There are different types of restraining orders. A domestic violence restraining order is against someone you've dated or had an intimate relationship with, including a spouse or domestic partner. It can also be against a relative if they are your child, parent, sibling or grandparent. This includes in-laws.

A domestic violence restraining order can be granted against someone who has abused you or your children. Abuse can be emotional or physical. It can happen anywhere, including online. Abuse can happen in different ways, including someone stopping you from accessing money or basic needs, or isolating you from friends or family.

If you are 12 or older, you can ask for a restraining order on your own and without your parent's permission.  In some cases, a judge may ask you to have a trusted adult help you in your case. If you are under 18, you can go to your local court's Self-Help Center for help. For support and safety tips, you can chat at, text "LOVEIS" to 22522, or call 1-866-331-9474.

If you are 12 or older and someone has asked for a restraining order against you, you can go to court without a parent. In some situations, the judge may ask you to have a trusted adult help you in your case.

If you need a Restraining Order against a neighbor, landlord, or someone who is not closely related or an intimate partner there are other types of restraining orders you can request.

What can a restraining order do?

A judge can grant a restraining order to protect  someone, their children, their property, or their pets. Once a judge grants a restraining order, the police can be called to enforce the order.

A domestic violence restraining order can include these types of orders:

  • No contact
  • Not harass, stalk, threaten or harm people protected by the order
  • Stay away by a certain distance
  • Move out from a home that is shared with the protected person
  • Not have guns, firearms, or ammunition
  • Pay spousal support, if you are married
  • Pay child support, if you have children together

The judge can also make orders about child custody if you have children together.

There are many other ways a domestic violence restraining order can protect someone.

If you were given a protective order as part of a criminal case, you can still ask for a domestic violence restraining order. There are some reasons why you might want to have multiple restraining orders. One reason is that if the criminal case gets dismissed (closed), then the criminal protective order will be cancelled. Also, a criminal protective order may not include some protections such as child custody orders or protection for your family members.

How do I ask for a domestic violence restraining order?

You will need to complete a few court forms. The forms will ask you to give details about the abuse. If you want help with these forms, you can contact your local Self-Help Center

There is no court fee to file to ask for a domestic violence restraining order, and you do not have to have a lawyer. This guide will take you step-by-step through the process of asking for a restraining order. The whole process can last a few weeks or months, depending on how complicated your case is. Cases involving children and property may be more complicated.

In most counties, you will not talk to a judge right away. But, a judge will make a decision quickly on whether to give you temporary protection. Once you turn in your forms, the judge will make a decision that same day or by the next business day.


What if someone asked for a restraining order against me?

If someone has filed court papers to ask for a restraining order against you, carefully read over the papers you were given:

  • If you were served with form DV-110, this means the judge granted a temporary restraining order against you. You must follow all the orders on form DV-110. If you don't, you could be arrested and charged with a crime. 
  • You will have a court date, which is listed on form DV-109. Make sure to go to your court date if you do not agree to the restraining order. At the court date, a judge will decide whether to grant a restraining order against you that can last up to five years.

This guide can help you figure out your options to "respond" and prepare for your case. Respond means to tell the judge if you agree or don't agree to the request for restraining order.  You don't have to have a lawyer in this case, but if you want one you will need to hire one. You can also get free help from a court Self-Help Center.

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