Domestic Violence Restraining Order 101 (The Basics)

There are several kinds of restraining orders, one of which is a domestic violence protective order (DVPO).  There are basically two main requirements to get a DVPO: A Special Relationship and Abuse.

A) A Special Relationship including:

  1. Dating,
  2. Shared children,
  3. Related by Blood,
  4. Married, or
  5. Cohabitants.
  6. NOTE: If you don’t have one of these special relationships, you may still qualify for a Civil Harassment Protective Order under Code of Civil Procedure § 527.6.

B) Abuse such as:

  1. Stalking,
  2. Threatening,
  3. Sexual Abuse,
  4. Destruction of Personal Property,
  5. Harassing Phone Calls, or
  6. Physical Violence.

What Constitutes Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse is not limited to aggravated rape.  Many women are coerced into sex, give consent while under the influence, or have sex against their will with a physically forceful offender.  Coerced sex is sex involving intimidation or extreme psychological pressure, and is sexual abuse.

What Does a DVPO Do For Me?

DVPO’s can do lots of different things.  Specific remedies depend on the situation, but remedies can include:

  • Keeping the offender away from you
  • Keeping the offender away from other family members
  • Preventing the offender from calling you
  • Kicking the offender out of the house
  • Taking away the offender’s right to possess firearms
  • Making the offender pay certain bills
  • Giving you custody of children
  • Giving you custody of pets
  • Making the offender pay your legal fees related to the proceeding

How Long Does the DVPO Last?

The length of the order is determined by the judge, but can initially be up to 5 years.  Later on, orders can be renewed for even longer if a judge finds there is good reason.

Why Would I Want a Lawyer?

It is possible to get a DVPO without a lawyer, but it can be very helpful to have one.  The entire situation—confronting the abuser in court, testifying about what happened, and being in front of a judge can be very stressful.  Having a lawyer there to guide you through the process and worry about cross-examining the witness can make the entire situation less stressful.  In addition, some conduct not on the court form may be considered abuse and may strengthen your case against the other party.

What Does it Cost?

There are no court filing fees for a DVPO.  Depending on the situation, you may be to force the offender to pay you back the money you spent on a lawyer.  Our fees vary depending on the complexity of the case.  We don’t waste your time, we don’t take unnecessary steps, our billing is fair, and our rates are lower than many other lawyers in the county.

Where Do I Go in the Meantime?

First of all, if you are in danger and need help, call “911.”

If you are in Ventura County and need to move away from an abusive spouse and don’t know where to go, please contact Interface Children & Family Services.  Interface is in Camarillo, CA and has a 24 hour Domestic Violence Hotline @ 1 (800) 636-6738.

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