Restraining orders are special types of cases that deal with one specific issue: keeping one person away from someone else.
There are two different types of restraining orders, but the more common one is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO). These are most commonly used when the individuals involved were either dating or married, living together, or related by blood or marriage.
What it can do: restrain.
Just like the name says, a DVRO is a specialized, personal order from the court. It applies to only you and the domestic violence perpetrator. It can be custom designed to your circumstances and restrains someone by limiting their ability to contact you, be around you, or even communicate with you indirectly through other people.
What it can’t do: put in jail.
A restraining order cannot put someone in jail or fine them for their behavior.
It may be possible to have the other side pay your legal fees, or if you were married, pay spousal support, but that isn’t always easy.
If someone’s behavior is serious enough, however, it could be a crime. They could be charged with domestic violence in a criminal court. This is an entirely separate case from the restraining order and requires a separate court proceeding with civil law, not family law.
How to get one: show evidence of “abuse”
To get a DVRO against someone, you must show a judge that the other side has abused you in some way.
This can be hard to explain, but LA County describes it in part as “cause bodily injury” or to make you afraid of “bodily injury.” It can also include consistent, abusive behaviors, like stalking, harassing, or destroying personal property.
Many things can be used to argue that abuse occurred, such as photographs, written statements, police reports, text messages, witness testimony, and sometimes videos. The more you have to back up your statements, the better your chances of getting a DVRO.
Abuse isn’t only physical
It’s most common for someone to get a restraining order when they have physical injuries, but physical abuse is just one form of domestic violence.
Domestic violence can occur in other ways too, such as verbal abuse or through control of finances. A judge will even take into account things such as immigration status and the presence and age of children.
If you’re unsure whether your circumstances call for a restraining order, don’t hesitate to contact us to find out. This can be a difficult area of law to predict, and we are experienced in it.