Do I Need a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

Domestic violence, in California as well as elsewhere, affects many families and individuals. It happens more than you realize, in part because it is often hard to identify. The traditional depiction of domestic violence in popular culture is typically a husband beating his wife. While this is a common occurrence of domestic violence, the legal definition of domestic violence is much broader and not limited to only physical abuse or a marital relationship.

Domestic violence can take the form of physical violence or forced sexual contact, but it can also take the form of verbal, emotional or psychological abuse or attempts at such abuse. Stalking (in-person or online), threatening, provoking fear or controlling behaviors are also considered domestic violence. Even certain forms of texting and emailing have been found to constitute domestic violence.

However, in order for the conduct to be considered domestic abuse, the victim and perpetrator must have a close relationship of some kind. You fall under the protection of the domestic violence laws if you have been abused by a spouse or ex-spouse, someone you are dating, a close relative or a romantic partner who you live with or used to live with. If there is not this type of relationship, there are other laws in California governing civil harassment, workplace violence and elder or dependent adult abuse that might apply.  

A domestic violence restraining order, sometimes called a protective order, is a civil court order intended to protect someone (the “protected person”) from abuse by another person (the “restrained person”). If the restrained person breaks the restraining order, he or she has committed a criminal offense and may receive a sentence of time in jail, payment of a fine, or both. A restraining order can require the restrained person to:

  • Not contact you.
  • Stay away from you, your family, or the people that you live with.
  • Move out of your home.
  • Pay child support, spousal, or partner support.
  • Obey child custody and visitation orders.
  • Not be allowed to possess a firearm.

You will have to go to civil court to prove your domestic violence case. You may want to consult with an attorney to evaluate the merits of your case and to represent you before the court to protect your interests. Each domestic violence situation requires a case-by-case analysis of its specific facts and circumstances. [Disclaimer]

Our family law team at Naimish & Lewis can advise you on questions related to domestic violence and other dissolution and divorce related matters. To schedule an initial consultation with an attorney at our firm, please contact us.