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How do I get a restraining order in California?

California residents who fear for their safety may be eligible to seek a restraining order. A restraining order legally protects an individual from unwanted contact, harassment and other forms of physical or emotional abuse.

Once it has been determined that the person is eligible to file a restraining order, there are five steps. The first step is to fill out the order form. If the person also wants to request that their children be protected, they will need to file a request for child custody and visitation. Once the form has been reviewed, the next step is to actually file the forms with the court. These forms are dropped off with the clerk. If the judge grants the order, the person who filed will need to pick up the paperwork and distribute them to those who are protected by the order and to any security officers in his or her workplace. If the temporary order is not granted, the person can request the order at the court hearing.

If the protective order is granted, the person must serve, or provide copies of the order to, the restricted individual. A third person must be the one to actually deliver the paperwork. Once the paperwork has been delivered, both parties must attend a hearing. The person who filed should be prepared by having evidence of any abuse that took place. The final step depends upon whether or not the restraining order was granted at the hearing. If the order was granted, paperwork will need to be filled out and signed.

Because each case is unique and this blog only provides an overview, an attorney's legal knowledge may be sought if someone believes that they are in need of a protective order. The attorney may be able to counsel their client by providing options and help with having the accused person be served with the paperwork.

Source: California Courts, "Restraining Orders", August 13, 2014

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