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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESTRAINING ORDERS

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There are several types of restraining orders. A "domestic violence restraining order" protects a person from physical violence, the threat of physical violence, or a pattern of harassing behavior by someone that has or had a close relationship with the person. It can issue against a spouse or former spouse, blood relatives (including parents), certain cohabitants and former cohabitants, and persons who are having or had a "dating relationship." It cannot be brought against someone with whom the person requesting the order has only had a casual social relationship.

The order may issue to prevent, among other things, molesting, attacking, stalking, threatening, harassing, telephoning, contacting or coming within a specified distance of, the other party or other named family or household members. An order may exclude a party from a dwelling and may also grant a party exclusive care and possession or any animal owned by either party.

A "domestic violence restraining order" may issue in a dissolution case, or independently under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.

If a request for a domestic violence restraining order is filed, the judge must decide within 24 hours whether to issue the order. If issued, it can order the restrained person:

  • Not to contact or go near you, your children, other relatives or others who live with you;
  • Not to have a gun;
  • To move out of the house;
  • To appear in court at a hearing on a specified date;
This "temporary" domestic violence restraining order is valid until the hearing date (which is set by the judge and stated in the temporary order). If a domestic violence restraining order has been filed against you, you must file a response at least nine court days before the hearing. At the hearing, the judge can make restraining orders that last up to five years. The judge can also make other orders regarding custody and visitation, child and spousal support, money and property.

Both the request for an order and the response must set forth in detail the supporting facts. A response can, if the facts support it, request a restraining order against the other party. Both the request and the response must be signed "under penalty of perjury." This is equivalent to swearing an oath to tell the truth.

It is a felony to violate a domestic violence restraining order. The order may be enforced by any law enforcement officer. The order is sent confidentially to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS) and becomes part of a statewide computer system that lets police know about the order.
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The firm serves all of Santa Clara County, including Palo Alto, Los Altos, San Jose, Los Gatos, Mountain View, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Santa Clara, Campbell, Milpitas, Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Cupertino and Sunnyvale. It provides divorce mediation services as well as representation.