How to Get a Restraining Order: A Step-by-Step Guide

A restraining order, also known as a protective order, is a legal document that can protect you from someone who is threatening, harassing, or harming you.

It can prevent the person from contacting you, coming near you, or entering your home, workplace, or school.

restraining order
How to get a restraining order | Shouse Law

Getting a restraining order can be a difficult and emotional process, but it can also be a lifesaving one.

If you are in an abusive or dangerous situation, you should not hesitate to seek help and protection.

Here are the steps you need to follow to get a restraining order.

Step 1: Identify the type of restraining order you need

There are different types of restraining orders for different situations. The most common ones are:

1.Domestic violence restraining order

This is for people who have been abused or threatened by a current or former spouse, partner, cohabitant, parent, child, sibling, or other family member.

You can also get this order if you have a child with the person or if you are dating or used to date the person.

2.Civil harassment restraining order

This is for people who have been harassed, stalked, or threatened by someone who is not related to them, such as a neighbor, a friend, a coworker, or a stranger.

3.Elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order

This is for people who are 65 years or older or who have certain disabilities and who have been abused, neglected, or exploited by a caregiver or someone else.

4.Workplace violence restraining order

This is for employers who want to protect their employees from violence or threats by another employee or someone else who has a conn

5.School violence restraining order

This is for school officials who want to protect students or staff from violence or threats by another student or someone else who has a connection to the school.

The type of restraining order you need will determine which court you need to go to, what forms you need to fill out, and what evidence you need to provide.

You can find more information about the different types of restraining orders and the requirements for each one on the California Courts website.

Step 2: Fill out the forms and gather the evidence

To get a restraining order, you need to fill out a petition, which tells the court what you want, and an affidavit, which tells the court what happened and why you need the order.

You can find the forms online or at the court clerk’s office.

Get help from a family law facilitator, a domestic violence advocate, or a lawyer.

You need to be as specific and detailed as possible when filling out the forms.

Include the name and address of the person you want to restrain, the relationship you have with them, the dates and locations of the incidents of abuse or harassment, the injuries or damages you suffered, the witnesses or evidence you have, and the terms and duration of the order you want.

You also need to gather any evidence that supports your case, such as:

Police reports

If you have called the police or filed a report about the abuse or harassment, you should get a copy of the report and attach it to your petition.

Medical records

If you have been injured or treated for the abuse or harassment, you should get a copy of your medical records and attach them to your petition.

Photos

If you have any photos of your injuries, damages, or the person you want to restrain, you should print them and attach them to your petition.

Text messages, emails, letters, or voicemails

If you have any messages from the person you want to restrain that show their abusive or harassing behavior, you should print them or save them on a device and bring them to the court.

Witness statements

If you have any witnesses who saw or heard the abuse or harassment, you should ask them to write a statement or testify in court.

Step 3: File the forms and get a temporary restraining order

Once you have filled out the forms and gathered the evidence, you need to file them with the court.

A divorcing wife asking an attorney questions
Asking attorney questions [PHOTO COURTESY OFWORTHY’S BLOG]
You can do this in person or by mail. You need to make at least three copies of your forms: one for you, one for the court, and one for the person you want to restrain.Pay a filing fee, unless you qualify for a fee waiver.

After you file your forms, the judge will review them and decide whether to grant you a temporary restraining order (TR

A TRO is a short-term order that lasts until your hearing date, which is usually within a few weeks.

It can give you immediate protection and relief while you wait for your permanent order.

The judge will grant you a TRO if they find that you are in immediate danger and that you have a reasonable chance of getting a permanent order.

Step 4: Serve the forms and the temporary restraining order

After you get a TRO, you need to serve the forms and the order to the person you want to restrain.

This means that you need to have someone else deliver the papers to them in person.

You cannot do this yourself or ask a friend or family member to do it.

Ask a sheriff, a marshal, a process server, or anyone who is over 18 and not involved in your case to do it.

Serve the papers as soon as possible, but at least five days before your hearing date.

You also need to fill out a proof of service form, which shows that the person you want to restrain has received the papers.

File this form with the court before your hearing.

Step 5: Go to the hearing and get a permanent restraining order

The last step is to go to the hearing and ask the judge for a permanent restraining order (PRO).

A PRO is a long-term order that can last up to five years and can be renewed or modified as needed.

It can give you more protection and relief than a TRO.

At the hearing, you and the person you want to restrain will have a chance to tell your sides of the story.

You need to bring all the documents and evidence that you filed and served, as well as any new or additional evidence that you have.

Dress appropriately, be respectful, and speak clearly and confidently.

The judge will listen to both parties and decide whether to grant you a PRO based on the facts and the law.

If the judge grants you a PRO, you need to get a copy of the order and keep it with you at all times.

Conclusion

A restraining order is a legal order that can protect you from abuse, threats, or harassment.

Getting a restraining order can be a complicated and stressful process, but you can get help from various sources, such as domestic violence agencies, legal aid offices, or lawyers.

You will need to file some forms, serve the abuser, and attend a hearing to get a restraining order.

Take precautions to protect yourself and your children, and report any violations of the restraining order to the police.

A restraining order can help you escape from an abusive or threatening situation, but it is not a guarantee of safety.

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