Domestic Violence: Obtaining a Restraining Order

Restraining Orders are court orders directing a violent person to stop harassing a victim or the victim’s children. They may be obtained without cost, and will be enforced by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

As of July 1, 1998, a judge or court commissioner must be available on a 24-hour basis to issue telephonic orders when court is not in session. These orders may be obtained through the LAPD when there are reasonable facts showing an immediate and present threat of domestic violence.

Persons violating restraining orders may be arrested. Once a person obtains a valid Restraining Order from the court, the court clerk will notify LAPD. The victim should also meet with the detectives of LAPD and provide them with a photo or description of the person who is the subject of the court order.

Who Can Obtain A Restraining Order?

You can request a Restraining Order against the person who hurt or threatened you or other family members by appearing at the Superior Court located nearest to you.

A Restraining Order may be requested whether or not an arrest has been made or the Los Angeles Police Department has been called. You can also request a Restraining Order whether or not you have any relationship to the defendant.

An order may be obtained to:

  • Direct the attacker to leave the household
  • Prevent the attacker from entering the residence, school, business, or place of employment of the victim
  • Award the victim or other parent custody of, visitation with, a minor child or children
  • Restrain the attacker from molesting or interfering with minor children in the custody of the victim
  • Direct the party not granted custody to pay support of minor children, if that party has a legal obligation to do so
  • Direct the defendant to make specified debit payments coming due while the order is in effect and/or
  • Direct that either or both parties participate in counseling

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is always free. In many courts free legal assistance is available or you can represent yourself.

What Can I Do to Obtain a Restraining Order?

Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) requests must be made through the Superior Court.

Note: Emergency Protection Orders (EPO) are available through the Los Angeles Police Department on a 24 hour basis, and are valid for only 5 court days. In most cases an EPO is only issued when circumstances present a possibility of imminent and immediate danger to the victim.

The court tries to grant all TRO requests the same or next day. Once you have obtained a Restraining Order, the defendant must be served with a copy of the TRO. (Anyone over18 years of age except you can hand the Order to the defendant.) Once the defendant has been served a copy of the TRO, a Proof of Service must be delivered to your local police station. You should retain the originals of all documents. In approximately three weeks, you must return to court to obtain an order that is valid for three years. This order must also be served to the defendant and copies delivered to the police station.

You may be ordered to see a mediator to try and work out visitation of any minor children involved. The law gives you the right to see the mediator ALONE, in a separate meeting. After any agreement with the mediator regarding visitation, be sure to return to court to obtain the three year restraining order which protects YOU!