Domestic Violence Restraining Order FAQs

The following was written to provide some basic information on how a domestic violence restraining order works, and how to go about getting one:

  • Q: What is a domestic violence restraining order? It is a written court order document that helps protect people from either physical or emotional abuse.
  • Q: How can I get a restraining order started? You can ask the court for a restraining order if the following applies.
    • A person has abused you, and
    • You have a close relationship with that person including: Married or registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, you live together or used to live together, or you are related family member such as parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law. The law doesn’t work for roommates; you have to be more involved than just roommates.
  • Q: What if I don’t qualify for a restraining order? If you don’t qualify, there are other kinds of orders you can apply for:
    • Civil harassment orders: These can be used for neighbors, roommates, and co-workers.
    • Dependent adult or elder abuse restraining order.
  • Q: Once I apply for a domestic violence restraining order how soon can I get the order? Most judges will decide whether or not to issue the order by the next business day.
  • Q: How will a restraining order help me? It can order the restrained person to:
    • Not contact or go near you, your children, other relatives, or others who live with you
    • Not have a gun
    • Move out of your house
    • Follow child custody and visitation orders
    • Pay child support
    • Pay spousal or partner support
  • Q: How long does the order last? The first restraining order is called a “temporary” and the order lasts until your next court date. At that time, the judge will decide to continue or cancel the order. The order could last for up to 5 years. Child custody orders have different end dates and usually last until the child turns 18.
  • Q: How much does it cost to get a restraining order? There is no cost for any type of restraining order.
  • Q: I’m a green card holding immigrant, can I get a restraining order? Yes, you can still get a restraining order. If you are worried about deportation, talk to an immigration lawyer.
  • Q: Do I have to go to court? Yes. Go to court on the date the clerk gives you. If you do not, your order will end.
  • Q: Do I need a lawyer to get a restraining order? No. But it is a good idea, especially if you have children.

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