How to Serve Domestic Violence Papers California

What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

In California, someone being subjected to physical, mental, emotional, or forms of abuse can go to a civil court and file a request for a domestic violence restraining order. If granted, a domestic violence restraining order will direct the abuser to immediately halt harming the victim and to stay away from the victim’s home and workplace for the duration of the order. Even though this is a civil order, if there is evidence that an abuser violated the order, then they could be subjected to criminal penalties, including jail time and monetary fines.

Types of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in California

Domestic violence is also known as domestic “abuse” under California family law. The word “abuse” encompasses a range of harms, including:

  • To hurt
  • To throw things
  • To pull hair
  • To follow
  • To harass
  • To sexually assault
  • To murder
  • To break into a victim’s home or work
  • To destroy or steal the victim’s property
  • To intimidate or to threaten to do any of these things.

It is also important to point out that abuse can take many forms. For example, abuse can be spoken, written, emotional, and/or physical. If you are being subjected to domestic violence, you may have grounds to file for a domestic violence restraining order. The types of domestic violence restraining orders in California include:

  • Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)
  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO)
  • Restraining Order After Hearing, a.k.a. “Permanent” Restraining Order

How to File for a California Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Fill Out the Necessary Forms

In order to obtain a domestic violence restraining order in California, a victim will need to fill out the following forms. Please note that these forms must be filled out neatly in blue or black ink:

File the Paperwork with the Court

Once completed, you will need to file the above-described forms with the Clerk of the Court. Please be advised that there is no court fee associated with filing a request for a domestic violence restraining order. In addition, you do not need to have a lawyer in order to file the request.

Have the Papers Served by a Third Party

In addition to filing the relevant paperwork with the Clerk of the Court, you also need to ensure a copy of the paperwork is served on the abuser by a third party. Typically, the third party is someone who is over the age of 18 and not protected by the restraining order. This individual; must personally serve a copy of the restraining order forms to the abuser at least five days prior to the scheduled Court hearing.

The forms can be served by:

  • A process server
  • Someone you know
  • A law enforcement official with the Sheriff’s Office

The server must also provide the abuser a blank Form DV-120 (i.e., Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order) for them to fill out. 

Complete the Proof of Service Form

Another important document that needs to be completed to secure a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is the Proof of Service (i.e., Form DV-200 ). This form provides confirmation for the judge and members of law enforcement that the restrained individual received a copy of the restraining order. Please note that you should make at least two copies of the completed Proof of Service. Take the original and two copies to the Clerk’s Office prior to your scheduled Court hearing. The Clerk of the Court will maintain the original and provide you the copies stamped “Filed.” Make sure to also bring a copy to your Court hearing.

Attend the Court Hearing

To ensure you obtain a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, make sure to attend the scheduled Court hearing. Bring all relevant forms and paperwork in case the judge needs a copy. For example, make sure to bring at least three copies of the restraining order request form. One copy will be for yourself, one copy will be for the judge, and one copy will be for the individual you want to have restrained.

Contact a Family Lawyer Today

If you are a victim of abuse seeking assistance in completing and/or filing for a domestic violence restraining order, contact a skilled and knowledgeable family law attorney with Castro Law Offices, P.C.. We stand ready to help you during your time of need and are available to schedule a confidential case evaluation. 

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