California Domestic Violence
- General Information:
Often at the commencement of a contested divorce
action, very serious issues present themselves immediately
– issues which cannot wait for resolution at
a settlement or trial which may not come for six months
or longer. Where children are involved, it may be
necessary to have the court enter temporary custody,
visitation, and support orders. If one of the spouses
is unemployed, he or she may need temporary spousal
support orders. If the emotion and stress of the breakup
has resulted in violence, it may be necessary for
the court to enter temporary orders restraining violence
or ejecting one of the parties from the family home.
In California there are two distinctly different
procedures to obtain such temporary orders. If personal
restraining orders are needed to eject a party from
the home or to enter orders restraining violence,
a “domestic violence” procedure may be
initiated whether or not a divorce action is in progress
in as little as 24 hours. Non-domestic violence orders
may be granted only in connection with a pending divorce,
legal separation, or paternity action.
Domestic violence orders include:
You may obtain domestic violence restaining orders
if 1) you are the victim of “abuse” and,
2) you have a close relationship with the abuser.
“Abuse” means to hit, kick, hurt, scare,
throw things, pull hair, push, follow, harass, sexually
assault, or threaten to do any of these things. Abuse
can be spoken, written, or physical.
·You have a “close relationship”
with someone if:
You are now married, or
You used to be married, or
You live together, or
You used to live together, or
You are relatives, in-laws, or
related by adoption, or
You are dating or used to date,
You are engaged to be married
or were engaged to be married, or
You are parents together of a
child or children under 18, or
You and/or the other party has
signed a Voluntary Declaration of Paternity for
your child or children.
The procedure to obtain domestic violence restraining
orders involves two hearings. The first “ex
parte” hearing is held on the day you file your
papers with as little as 24 hours prior notice to
the other party. (And in some cases with no notice
at all.) Temporary orders issued at the ex parte hearing
are effective only until the date of a second hearing
– the “Order To Show Cause” hearing
– about 3 weeks later. At the Order To Show
Cause Hearing, both parties are given an opportunity
to fully present their cases. Orders issued at the
Order To Show Cause hearing are effective for 3 years.
First, Fill Out The Basic
1. For a restraining order, you need to fill out:
2. If you have children with the person you want
protection from, you also need to fill out:
Child Custody, Visitation, and
Support Request (form
3. If you want child support, you also need to fill
*Read Which Financial Form-FL-155 or FL-150? (form
DV-570) to find out which form is right for you.
4. Ask the court clerk if your county has special
forms or rules. Fill out the forms. Then take them
back to the court clerk.
5. Other forms you will need):
Have Filled Out The Basic Forms And Obtained Your Initial
Take your forms to the court clerk.
The clerk will give your forms to the judge. The judge
will look at them and decide to make the order, or
not. Sometimes the judge may want to talk to you.
If so, the clerk will tell you.
Find out if the judge made the temporary
Ask the clerk when to come back to see if the judge
signed the Temporary Restraining Order (form
DV-110). The judge must decide by the next business
day. Check to see if the judge made any changes.
"File" the judge's order.
If the judge signs the order, the court clerk will
file it. "File" means that the court clerk
will make the order an official part of the court's
record of your case.
The clerk will keep the original for the court and
give you 5 "filed-stamped" copies. If you
need more, make them yourself.
What to do with your copies:
Keep 1 copy with you, always.
You may need to show it to thepolice.
Keep another copy in a safe place.
Give a copy to anyone else protected
by the order.
Leave copies at the places where
the restrained person is ordered not to go (your
school, work, etc.).
Give a copy to the security officers
in your apartment and office buildings.
Restraining orders get entered into a special computer
system at the California Department of Justice. That
way, police officers across the state can find out
about your order. In some counties, the court sends
your order to the state computer for you. Ask the
clerk if your court will do this. If not, take a copy
of the order to your local police. Click
here for help finding a law enforcement agency.
They can enter your order into the computer.
Know your hearing date. Look at
for the date and time of your hearing. You must go
to your hearing to get a permanent order. The order
you have after the first hearing only lasts for about
"Serve" the restrained person.
Ask someone you know, a process server, or law enforcement
to personally "serve" (give) the restrained
person a copy of the order. You can't send it by mail.
The server must:
A "process server" is a business you pay
to deliver court forms. Look in the Yellow Pages of
your phone book, under "Process Serving."*
*If law enforcement or the process server uses a
different Proof of Service form, make sure it lists
the forms served.
For more help with service, read What is "Proof
of Service"? (form
File your Proof of Service. The
Proof of Service (In Person) (form
DV-200) shows the judge and police that the restrained
person got a copy of the order. Make 5 copies of the
completed Proof of Service. Take the original and
5 copies to the court clerk before your hearing. The
clerk will keep the original and give you back the
copies stamped "Filed." Bring a copy to
Keep 1 copy with you and another in a safe place
in case you need to show it to the police. Give the
other copies out like you did in 3. Some courts send
the Proof of Service to law enforcement for you. That
way, police across the state know that the restrained
person knows about the orders. Ask the clerk if they
will do this. If not, take a copy of the order and
Proof of Service to your local police.
If the restrained person wasn't served.
The restrained person must be served before the hearing.
If the restrained person wasn't served, fill out a
Reissue Temporary Restraining Order (form
DV-125) to ask the judge for a new hearing date.
Do this before or at your hearing. (If you wait until
after the hearing, you have to start from the beginning.)
If the judge signs this order, the restraining order
will last until the new hearing date.
After serving the orders, the server fills out and
signs the Proof of Service (In Person) (form
DV-200) and gives it to you. File your Proof of
(Order To Show Cause) Hearing:
Make a list of the orders you want and practice saying
them. Do not take more than 3 minutes to say what
If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from
your list. Use that list to see if the judge has made
every order you asked for.
At the end of the hearing, the judge will say what
the orders are.
Make sure your form DV-130 says what the judge has
Sometimes the clerk fills out the form for you. If
not, fill it out yourself. If you filled it out before
the hearing, you may have to make changes.
Review it and make sure you understand. If anything
is wrong or missing, tell the clerk right away.
If the judge makes the orders, the judge will sign
your DV-130. Take it to the clerk to file it. The
clerk will give you up to 5 copies.
Ask the clerk if the court will fill out DV-130 for
you. If not, fill it out. Click here for additional
forms you may need to attach to your DV-130.
If the judge makes the orders, go to the clerk and
Take a copy of DV-130 to your local police or sheriff
if the clerk doesn't send it for you.
If the restrained person was at the hearing, you
can have him or her served with a copy of DV-130 by
mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-250 and give
it back to you after the restrained person receives
If the restrained person was not at the hearing,
but the judge's orders are the same as the temporary
order, you can have him or her served with a copy
of DV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete form
DV-250 and give it back to you.
If the restrained person was not at the hearing,
and the judge's orders are different from the temporary
order, you must have someone serve DV-130 in person,
not by mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-200
and give it back to you.
Remember, you and other protected people can't serve
The sheriff or marshal can serve the orders for free.
Ask the court clerk if you need to file more forms.