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Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in California

In California, incidents of domestic violence are, unfortunately, a common occurrence. More than 166,000 phone calls were made to law enforcement related to incidents of domestic violence in 2018 alone.

If you or a loved one has been subjected to domestic violence and are in the San Francisco area, contact us here or call Geller Firm at 414-840-0570 . You need to retain the services of an experienced family law attorney to assist in filing the necessary paperwork to obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (also known as a “DVRO”).

Types of Behavior Considered to Be Domestic Violence under California Law

It is important to note coercive control is considered domestic abuse in California.

Under California law, domestic violence is considered to be acts of abuse or threats of abuse when the person being abused and the abuser are, or have been, in an intimate relationship. An “intimate relationship” is considered to be any of the following relationships:

  • Married couple;
  • Domestic partners;
  • Couple that is dating or used to date;
  • Couple that lives, or has lived together, or
  • Couple that has a child together.

An act of domestic violence, according to California law, considers “abuse” to be:

  • Physically harming or trying to harm someone (whether the harm is intentional or reckless);
  • Sexual assault;
  • Making someone reasonably afraid that they, or someone else, are about to be seriously harmed (e.g., a threat or promise to harm someone);
  • Harassing or stalking someone;
  • Disturbing someone's peace; or
  • Destroying someone's personal property.

It is important to note that abuse is not confined to a physical act of violence. California law recognizes that abuse can be inflicted on someone verbally, emotionally, or psychologically.

Process for Obtaining a Restraining Order in California

A domestic violence restraining order is obtained by filing specific documents with a family court in the appropriate jurisdiction. An individual can pursue a domestic violence restraining order if the restrained party has abused the protected party, and the protected party can show that they are in an aforementioned “intimate” relationship with the restrained party.

The documents submitted to the family court need to describe why the individual is requesting protection from the other party. A judge will then review your filed forms and decide whether to issue a temporary restraining order. If the judge agrees to grant the temporary restraining order, it usually remains in effect until the scheduled hearing. You then have the option to pursue a longer-term restraining order, if necessary.

Evidence Needed to Get a Restraining Order Granted in California

You need to be prepared to present evidence to the court substantiating the fact that you have been subjected to threatening behavior by another individual. In most instances, domestic violence orders generally include evidence showing emotional, psychological, and/or physical abuse.

The typical standard of proof applied in criminal cases (i.e., “proof beyond a reasonable doubt”) is not the governing standard for domestic violence restraining orders. Instead, the standard of proof in these matters is the “preponderance of the evidence.” Basically, this means the bar is much lower for someone seeking a domestic violence restraining order since they only need to provide enough evidence to show that it is likelier than not that they need to be protected from the other party through a restraining order.

Have Questions? Contact The Geller Firm

If you have additional questions about the steps that need to be taken to secure a domestic violence restraining order in California, contact The Geller Firm today. We offer a comprehensive, confidential consultation to all prospective clients. We are here to help and will discuss your case and offer proactive solutions. We are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and are proud to provide legal services in Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, San Francisco County, Santa Clara County, San Mateo County, and Solano County.