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A restraining order is a court order issued to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer. Under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, abuse is defined as any of the following:
Intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause bodily injury.
Placing a person in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury to that person or to another.
Engaging in any behavior that has been or could be illegal such as molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, battering, harassing, destroying personal property, contacting the other by mail, telephone, or otherwise, disturbing the peace of the other party.
To obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you MUST have, or have had, a close personal relationship with the party you are asking to have restrained. Under the law, a relationship is defined as "close" if at least one of the following is true:
You are married or were formerly married to the other party.
You have or formerly had an engagement or dating relationship with the other party.
You and the other party have a child or children together.
You are related to the other party by blood, marriage or adoption, e.g., (mother, father, in-laws, siblings, adult children).
You and the other party are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a "household."
The act(s) of abuse/violence must be recent, within 30 days.
The restraining order can include the following: restraints on personal conduct by the batterer; orders for the batterer to stay away from the victim's home/work and/or children's school; orders for the batterer to be removed from the residence; child custody and visitation and support orders and other miscellaneous orders.
How to File for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
An elder/dependent adult abuse restraining order applies to a person seeking a protective order who falls within the definition of elder or dependent adult as follows:
A person who is 65 years of age or older (elder) OR a person who is between 18 and 64 years of age and who has mental or physical limitations that prevent them from carrying out their normal activities (dependent adult), who has been a victim of one or more of the following:
Physical, financial, mental or emotional abuse; Neglect, abandonment, abduction, or isolation; Treatment that has caused physical harm or pain or mental suffering; OR. Deprived by a caregiver of goods or services needed to avoid harm or suffering.
Can You Answer Yes?
Are you over the age of 60 and being abused?
Is someone physically abusing you or causing you emotional harm?
Is someone who helps you with the daily necessities of life threatening to hurt you?
Is someone who helps you with the daily necessities of life misusing your money?
There are domestic violence clinics available throughout the county available to assist you with the preparation of the forms required to obtain a restraining order. Legal services organizations provide the following clinics.
If the domestic violence clinics are unable to serve you, Family Law Facilitators are available at all locations to assist you with paperwork. Assistance is provided on a first come, first served basis and appointments are not available. Be prepared to spend a minimum of one-half of a day to a full day at the court to obtain your restraining order.
There is NO FEE to apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
Things to bring with you when you complete your Restraining Order paperwork, if available:
The address for the person you would like restrained
Date of birth for the person you would like restrained
Physical description of the person you would like restrained
Photographs of any injuries
Topics discussed regarding domestic violence may not be appropriate for minor children. While child care facilities are available at each courthouse, space is limited. If you have minor children, you are encouraged to make other child care arrangements.
What is the "Safe at Home" program?
A victim-survivor of domestic violence may apply for a Safe At Home program, which is run by the Secretary of State's office in California.
The Safe At Home program will give you a substitute mailing address to use on official documents, including:
your court papers
your driver's license
your voter registration papers, and,
if you decide to get married while on the program, your address will remain confidential on those documents as well.
Any first-class or government mail sent to you at that address will be forwarded within 48 hours.
Any Service of Process delivered to the address also will be passed on to you.
If you follow the rules, you can use the address for up to four (4) years.
The programs listed are not affiliated with the San Diego Superior Court. Each program is independently responsible for compliance with applicable state or federal laws. The Superior Court does not endorse, evaluate, supervise, or monitor these programs.