Understanding Family Law Emergency Restraining Orders

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

Restraining orders Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsNot all family law cases can be mediated and resolved amicably, particularly where domestic violence or child abuse is involved where emergency restraining orders may be necessary to obtain.  Emergency restraining orders are granted only on certain instances such as a threat or an incidence of domestic violence or child abuse, child support and custody disputes, alimony requests and so on. The California Family Court, though, does not term everything under Family Law as an ‘emergency’.

Domestic Violence

If you have been a victim of domestic violence, you should ask your lawyer to file a domestic violence restraining order petition on your behalf and request for a restraining order against your spouse immediately. You will be granted a temporary emergency order till the time of the hearing on the domestic violence case.

During the hearing, you and any other witness will have to testify. Your lawyer will provide the court with documentary evidences. The court will then give a verdict that will either revoke the temporary emergency restraining order or will make it a permanent one. Most attorneys ask for a restraining order of 3 years. If there have been multiple instances of domestic violence, the court can increase it to 5 years.

If you are contesting a restraining order for domestic violence, you need to respond within 24 hours or less of receiving the notification. You will be barred from contacting and communicating with your spouse and children. You may also have to pay a support amount. You need to provide the court with evidences and testimonies from witnesses that prove you have not carried out the alleged act of domestic violence. You should declare your innocence under oath before the hearing.

Child abuse

An emergency restraining order for child abuse will immediately withdraw all visitation rights of the accused parent. Allegations of child abuse include instances of physical, sexual and extreme emotional abuse. Cases of emotional abuse are difficult to prove. Any parent filing a restraining order for child abuse should enlist the help of the local police and the child protective services.

If you are contesting a restraining order for child abuse, you must respond immediately and with great caution. You must gather witnesses for testimony. You must ask the court to appoint a forensic psychological evaluator and ask the alleging parent to depose.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation