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Legal Information: California

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of January 11, 2024

Am I eligible to file for a DVRO?

You can file for a domestic violence restraining order if you or your minor child has been the victim of domestic violence from:

  • a spouse or former spouse;
  • a person you are dating or used to date, including a same-sex partner;
  • the mother or father of your child;
  • a person related to you by blood, marriage, or adoption, such as a mother, father, child, brother, sister, grandparent, or in-law; or
  • a “cohabitant,” who is someone who regularly lives/lived in your home.1 Generally, a cohabitant is someone closer to you than just a “roommate.”

The law defines a “dating relationship” as “frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement.”2

Even if the most recent act of abuse happened some time ago, the length of time between the most recent act of abuse and the date you filed your petition should not be the determining factor that a judge uses to determine if you can get an order. The judge is supposed to consider the the “whole picture” (totality of the circumstances) in determining whether or not to grant you a DVRO.3

Minors who are 12 years old or older can file for restraining orders without the assistance of a parent or guardian. However, for minors under 18 who are living with a parent or guardian, a copy of the restraining order must be sent to at least one parent or guardian, unless the judge determines that doing so would not be in the minor’s best interest.4

1 Cal.Fam.Code §§ 6211; 6209
2 Cal.Fam.Code §§ 6210
3 Cal.Fam.Code § 6301(c)
4 Cal. C.C.P. § 372(b)(1), (b)(2)