If someone living in California is in fear of perceived harm, it may be time to file a restraining order, also known as a protective order. Perceived harm, as well as documented physical harm, is more than domestic abuse or violence. A California restraining order is available as an effective measure to deter any one of four major areas of potential physical or emotional harm. Those four classifications are domestic violence; disabled, dependent adult and elder abuse; civil or criminal harassment or activities; and violence in the workplace.
Obtaining a restraining order in California will rely on how well prepared someone is when initiating the protective order request. The individual filing for a restraining order must decide on the nature of the offense to ensure receiving the correct protective order. A domestic violence protective order is requested when the accuser and the accused have a close association or relationship. Conversely, individuals with no known relationship or association would be classified as civil harassment. Individuals between the ages of 18 and 64 can be the victims of disabled, dependent adult abuse. Elder abuse involves persons aged 65 and older. Workplace violence can occur between any two or more employees. The uniqueness of workplace harassment is that an employer is able to file for a workplace violence restraining order on behalf of an employee; but an employee can only file for a civil harassment restraining order against another employee.
Anyone who is in imminent danger or in a situation with the threat of danger or harm is to dial 9-1-1 for immediate assistance. For those not in a life-or-death situation; the best approach for obtaining a restraining order is to:
1. Fill out a copy of the appropriate restraining order form. The forms are listed and available for downloading at www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm. The forms will outline any necessary documentation or supporting information required to file for a protective order.
2. Take the completed form, and any required supporting information, to the closest California Judicial Branch courthouse. All of California?s courts are listed at www.courts.ca.gov/find-my-court.htm.
3. Assistance is available at www.courts.ca.gov to help individuals to fill out the forms and to answer questions regarding each type of restraining order, what the order will do, how to present it to the courts for legal approval, how it will be served, how long it will be valid, and how to obtain an immediate, emergency restraining order.