Jenkins P.C.

When can I get a restraining order against my spouse?

In California, there are two qualifiers for requesting a domestic violence restraining order: existence of abuse and a close relationship to the abuser. This means you can only request this kind of restraining order if someone you have a close relationship with has abused you.

What abuse looks like

Although people usually picture domestic abuse as one spouse hitting the other, abuse can come in many forms. Physical abuse can also be pulling hair, pushing, kicking, throwing things, following you or preventing you from leaving. Abuse can also be verbal, emotional or psychological. Even a threat of abuse can still be cause for a restraining order.

Your relationship with the abuser

To get a domestic violence restraining order, the abuser must have a close relationship to you. While your spouse is an example of this, you could also request a domestic violence restraining order against someone you have divorced, are dating, used to date, or have a child with. You could also request it against a parent, sibling, grandparent or in-law.

If you are a parent of a young child who is being abused, you can file a restraining order on behalf of your child. However, children 12 years old and older can file a restraining order on their own.

What restraining orders offer

Many people know that a restraining order can prohibit someone from going near you, but it can also require that person to:

  • Move out of a residence you share
  • Pay child support, spousal support or certain bills
  • Return certain property
  • Not have any guns

How to get a restraining order

To get a restraining order, you will need to complete and file restraining order forms, which can be found online or at your local courthouse or county law library. The completed forms will be turned in to the clerk of court, and a judge will decide if you will be given a Temporary Restraining Order, which will last until the hearing for the Permanent Restraining Order. A Permanent Restraining order is not actually permanent, but can last up to five years.

If you are being abused, you have options to protect yourself and your children. A restraining order can be one good option to reclaim your safety and security.

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