Domestic Violence and Restraining Orders


IntroductionDomestic violence may include any or all of the following:

  1. Physical violence may include shoving, slapping, kicking, punching, or some action that causes physical pain.
  2. Emotional violence may include coercion, threats, and anger to create a fearful and controlling situation.
  3. Sexual violence may include unwanted fondling, touching, or forced sexual intimacy.

Family Code Section 6300 et. seq. provides the law covering protective orders and other domestic violence prevention orders.

For more information, visit the California Courts / Judicial Council Self-Help Center - Domestic Violence  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is the First Thing I Should Do?If you are the victim of domestic violence either:

  1. Go to your local Court and ask for a Domestic Violence Packet If you have children, ask for the packet for parents with children. There is no charge for this packet OR
  2. Visit the Judicial Council Self-Help - Domestic Violence

Once you have the forms, fill them out and file them at your local Court branch.

Do I Qualify for These Domestic Violence Prevention Orders?Only if there is both (1) a close relationship and (2) actual or threatened abuse.Close Relationship means that the person you want to restrain is a:

  1. Spouse or former spouse;
  2. A person you are dating or used to date (it does not have to be an intimate or sexual relationship);
  3. Mother or father of your child;
  4. Related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption (example: mother, father, child, brother, sister, grandparent, in-law);
  5. Person who regularly lives or used to live in your home.

Actual or Threatened Abuse means that the person you want to restrain has done one of the following things to you and/or to a person with a close relationship to you (per above description):

  1. Physically injured or attempted to injure you
  2. Sexually assaulted you
  3. Threatened you
  4. Attacked, struck, or battered you
  5. Molested you
  6. Harassed you
  7. Stalked you
  8. Harassed or threatened you by telephone or message
  9. Destroyed your personal property
  10. Disturbed your peace

Abuse can be physical, sexual, or verbal. It can include spoken or written abuse.

Am I Entitled to Restitution for Any Harm Done?You have the right to file a civil law suit against the other party for losses you have suffered as a result of any abuse you have received including medical expenses, damage to property, lost wages, and other related expenses you or any agency that sheltered you incurred.




What is the Purpose of a Restraining Order?The purpose of a restraining order is to protect you or your children under age 18 who live with you from violence or threats of violence. The violence or threats must come from someone in your family or in your home or with whom you have a close relationship.


Where Do I Go For a Restraining Order?The Domestic Violence Packet contains the paperwork you need to get a restraining order. To get a domestic violence packet, please refer to "What Is the First Thing I Should Do?" section above.



What Types of Orders Can I Get?



Type of Order Descriptions
Personal Conduct Orders These are orders to stop the restrained person from committing specific acts against you and anyone else included in the restraining order. Please refer to "Do I Qualify for These Domestic Violence Prevention Orders?" section above.
Stay-Away Orders Stay-Away orders keep the person you want to restrain away from:
  1. You;
  2. Where you live;
  3. Your place of work;
  4. Your child's school or place of child care;
  5. Your vehicle;
  6. Other important places where you go.
Residence Exclusion (Kick-Out) Orders This orders the person to be restrained to move out from where you live and to take only clothing and personal belongings until the court hearing.
Other Important Orders Other orders for your safety and the safety of the people in your household can include:
  1. Custody and visitation orders for the children under age 18 you have with the restrained person;
  2. Child support orders;
  3. Orders assigning temporary use, control, and possession of particular vehicles, bank accounts, keys, and household items and furnishings that you may have shared with the restrained person;
  4. Orders stating who is responsible for payment of specific bills that come due;
  5. Orders requiring the surrender of firearms;
  6. Other orders specific to your case.

Must I Have a Lawyer to Get These Orders?No. Lawyers are helpful but you can file these forms even if you don't have a lawyer. Follow the steps in the Domestic Violence Packet and check with the clerk of your local court to find out if there are any special local rules you need to know and follow.



Where Can I Go to Have the Papers Served?If you have papers to be served, you may do any of the following:




  1. Have the Sheriff's Department serve the papers. There is no fee associated with this service. Contact them at: Kern County Sheriff's Department, Civil Division 5251 Office Park Dr, Bldg 300 Bakersfield CA 93309 (661) 635-1300 Fax: (661) 635-1320
  2. Ask someone at least 18 years old who is not a party to the action to serve the papers
  3. Hire a private process server

How Long Do I Have to Wait Before the Court will Issue the Order?Once you have submitted your forms to the Court, the Court will review and sign the order the same day unless you submit them too late in the day. You will need to pick up your endorsed copies from the Court and have the other party served. Please refer to "Where Can I Go to Have the Papers Served?" section above. The order is now in effect until the hearing date.



How Long Does My Restraining Order Last?



Your temporary restraining order will be in effect until the hearing which will be in about 3 weeks. At your hearing, the Court can make your restraining order last up to five years.  Family Code section 6345 Additional Information on Can a Domestic Violence Restraining Order Help Me? Forms for Domestic Violence Cases - California Courts/Judicial Council Self-Help Center