When a relationship (romantic or otherwise) begins to show signs of abuse or danger, panic can lead to indecision and confusion. It is important to stay informed of the existing forms of legal relief available in these situations. According to a report from New York based advocacy organization Safe Horizon, 1 in 4 women will experience an instance of domestic violence at some point during their life. Further, a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, shows that domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness in the United States. You may need to File a restraining order in California to give you the peace of mind you deserve.
What is a restraining order?
A restraining order is a legally enforceable order from the court that prohibits an individual (the restrained person) from engaging in abusive activities or conduct against another person (the protected person). “Abuse” as applied to restraining orders can mean a number of things. Abuse can be:
- Excessive and inappropriate contact (e.g. phone calls, emails, texts, social media interaction) or stalking
- Physical abuse, whether sexual or otherwise
- Verbal or physical threats of violence
- Destruction of property
- Other inappropriate conduct
There are three main prohibitions that a restraining order can place on a party: restraints on personal conduct, stay-away orders, and residence exclusion orders.
A personal conduct order prevents the restrained party from engaging in activities directed at a protected party or person. It prohibits the restrained party from engaging in some sort of act or conduct that would otherwise be allowed. The court will prohibit the restrained party from carrying on with the abusive activity.
A stay-away order is exactly what it sounds like; an order that the restrained party must stay away from the protected party for a set period of time, and at a set distance. Sometimes abuse is not so much about physical interaction, but the perceived or actual threat of physical or emotional violence or abuse. These orders take into consideration the role that proximity can play in an abusive relationship. Schools, places of employment, residences, vehicles, and other places that are relevant to the protected person’s daily life are all areas that the restrained party may be prohibited from visiting.
Finally, residence exclusion orders force the restrained party to vacate the house, apartment, or dwelling of the protected party. This type of relief is reserved for situations involving either domestic violence or elder abuse. If a party is served with a residence exclusion order, they are allowed to take only personal belongings (like clothing and other necessities) and are not allowed to return until after the court hearing.
Under what circumstances may a person file a Restraining Order in California?
There are four circumstances a person may file a restraining order in California, each based on the relationship you have with your abuser. The different relationships that are determined by the following elements:
Domestic Violence: To file a domestic violence based restraining order, the applicant must have been abused by someone with whom he or she has a close relationship. In determining whether the parties are closely related, the court will consider factors such as whether the parties are married or are registered domestic partners, whether they are divorced or dating (past or present), whether the parties are cohabiting, or if they are related by blood or law.
Elder/Dependent Adult Abuse: For an applicant to file for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order, as a preliminary matter, the applicant must show one of two things. First, the applicant must be 65 years old or older. If that is not the case, the applicant can be between the ages of 18 and 64, and suffer from a qualified mental or physical disability that prevents them from being able to protect themselves from his abuser.
In addition, the applicant must show that he or she is the victim of either financial or physical abuse, neglect or abandonment, or is being deprived of the services or treatment needed to avoid physical, emotional, or mental suffering.
Civil Harassment: Civil harassment is similar to domestic violence, but it does not require a showing of a close relationship. These restraining orders allow you to file against your employer, strangers (think of someone you have never met that is stalking or harassing you in person or on the internet for example), more distant family members, friends, neighbors, or acquaintances. Other than this distinction, a civil harassment based order is similar to a domestic violence based order.
Workplace Violence: A workplace violence order is a restraining order reserved for employers to file because of an employee that is being harassed, stalked, or abused. The purpose is to protect the employee, the employer, and anyone else that may be present at the workplace against a real threat of violence.
An important element in filing this sort of order is that the person filing must be an employer; not an employee. An employee would seek the aforementioned civil, elder/dependent adult, or domestic violence restraining orders.
How can A People’s Choice help you file a Restraining Order in California?
The process of filing a restraining order can be simplified by having the team at A People’s Choice prepare the necessary forms for you. As one of California’s premier legal document assistance services, the staff at A People’s Choice have decades of experience in providing cost-effective assistance to our clients hoping to avoid the hassle of dealing with an attorney. If you are considering filing a restraining order, or need help with any other legal documents, let A People’s Choice take the additional stress of preparing the paperwork out of the equation for you. Reach out to us today and we can start your paperwork right away.