A domestic violence restraining order is a court order designed to protect people from abuse or threats of abuse from a person with whom they have a close relationship. Domestic violence or abuse may occur if someone physically hurts others and threatens or causes people to fear that they will be hurt. Other examples of domestic violence may be sexual assault and harassing or stalking behaviors.
A court cannot issue a restraining order unless a specific relationship exists between the two people. These relationships include married couples and domestic partners, people who are divorced, separated, or are parents of a child, people who previously were dating or are currently dating, couples who live together or used to live together as more than roommates, and close relatives.
What a Domestic Violence Restraining Order CAN Do
- A domestic violence restraining order can stop one person from contacting the other person or anyone in that person’s household, including children and pets. As part of a restraining order, one person may have to stay away from another person’s home or workplace or a child’s school.
- One person may have to move out of a jointly shared or owned home.
- For couples who are married, domestic partners, or who share a child, a domestic violence restraining order can contain child custody, visitation, and child support orders, as well as spousal or partner support orders. As a result, one person may have to start paying the other person spousal or child support. A restraining order also could set up a visitation schedule for people who share a child.
- If there is evidence showing that a parent might “abduct” the child, a restraining order can place restrictions on either parent traveling out of the county, state, or country with the child. A judge can order that one or both parents turn in their passports and the children’s passports or require a parent to post a bond with the court.
- A court can use a restraining order to order a person to pay specific household bills, transfer a cell phone account to another person, keep insurance policies in place, and not run up joint debts.
- In a restraining order, one person may have to pay other types of bills, such as medical bills, the costs of repairing or replacing damaged property, loss of earnings, and legal fees.
- The court can order one person to return or give some property items to the other, such as vehicles, children’s clothing, identification cards, and personal belongings in a restraining order.
- A restraining order can prevent one person from owning, possessing, or carrying any guns or ammunition.
- A court also may order a person to complete a 52-week batterer intervention program within a domestic violence restraining order.
- A domestic violence restraining order can contain a “wiretap” order, allowing one person to record any conversations or interactions with the other person after the restraining order is in place.
What a Domestic Violence Restraining Order CANNOT Do
- A domestic violence restraining order does not end your marriage or domestic partnership. You would still have to file a divorce or legal separation as required by law.
- You cannot establish parentage for a child within a domestic violence restraining order proceeding unless you both agree that the man is the child’s father and agree to the court entering a parentage order.
- Domestic violence restraining orders cannot keep a person with whom you do not have a family or close relationship away from you. California law provides for other types of restraining orders if you need one against a neighbor, an acquaintance, or someone else who is bothering you.
- You cannot resolve significant child custody or visitation disputes in a protective order proceeding. You usually will have separate court proceedings about those issues.
- A domestic violence restraining order cannot order people to be deported, even if they have no legal immigration status. However, being subject to a restraining order could affect a person’s immigration status and result in deportation proceedings in immigration court.
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