Domestic Violence Restraining Order
In California, a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) is a court order that protects people from the abuse or threats of abuse by an individual that they have or have had a close relationship with. Domestic violence is perpetrated by both men and women. It also has many forms, including physical violence, emotional abuse, economic deprivation, threats of violence and sexual abuse. A person can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of their race, age, gender, religion, education level, socioeconomic background or sexual orientation.
In order for the court to issue a restraining order, the person making the request for the restraining order must establish that an individual has abused them and that the individual has (or has had) a close relationship with them.
The California Family Code defines “domestic violence” as abuse by:
* A spouse or former spouse.
* A cohabitant or former cohabitant.
* A person with whom the respondent is having (or has had) a dating or engagement relationship.
* A child of a party or a child who is the subject of a parentage case.
* Any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree (i.e., a parent or sibling).
Domestic violence does not only affect the person that is experiencing the abuse. In fact, domestic violence may also have a substantial effect on the victim’s children, family members and friends. It has been recognized that children who grow up witnessing domestic violence in their households often become abusers or victims of domestic violence themselves.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or if you are in immediate danger, you can file a request for a temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) right away. When you file a request for a temporary DVRO, the court has the discretion to issue immediate court orders that the abuser have no contact with you, your children and other family members. The court may also issue other immediate orders for your protection, such as ordering that the abuser leave your shared home or stay away from your home, place of employment, school and even your vehicle.
Whether the court issues a temporary restraining order or not, the court must still schedule a court hearing for both parties to attend within the next twenty-one (21) days. At this future court hearing, the family court judge will decide whether or not a permanent restraining order will be issued.
The domestic violence restraining order process can be intimidating and confusing – especially considering that the documentation that you must initially file with the court is lengthy. Please note that when you file a request for restraining order, you will have to see your abuser in court. You will also have to declare the details of the abuse to the court in the presence of the abuser and possibly many other individuals as the hearings are held in a public courtroom. While hiring an attorney to represent you in your restraining order proceedings is not necessary, it may make the process less intimidating, confusing or burdensome.
Valenzuela & Montoya, LLP has experience in both the preparation and defense of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders (DVRO) in family court. Do not hesitate to contact our office if you wish to consult with an experienced
family law attorney in Sacramento.