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Understanding California Protective Orders in Domestic Violence Cases

California courts take great measures to ensure the safety and well-being of domestic violence victims. One of those measures is the implementation of the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (CLETS), a system that allows legal professionals (i.e. judges, police officers, and courthouse staff) access to FBI and state Criminal Justice Information.

Why is this beneficial? Because now law enforcement can access orders immediately and be privy to any and all terms, conditions, or extenuating circumstances as noted by the ordering judge. This eliminates any confusion brought on by multiple orders and enables legal officials to best serve victims of domestic violence.

Filing for a Protection Order

The state of California issues protection orders for victims of domestic violence. If you are a victim, and you have a protective order against the perpetrator, legal professionals would be able to see their records and personal information on the CLETS system.

You will qualify for a Domestic Violence Protective Order if you have any of the following relationships with your abuser:

  • Married
  • Registered Domestic Partners
  • Divorced or separated
  • Dating or used to date
  • Live together or used to live together (i.e., more than just roommates)
  • Co-parents
  • Close in relation, such as parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, or in-laws

To obtain a protective order against your abuser in California you’ll need to go through a series of steps. Contrary to popular belief, you can file for an order of protection even if you haven’t been physically abused. California recognizes intimidation and the threat of abuse as a volatile act that can lead to actual, physical abuse and can offer protection from it if you are fearful for your safety. To begin you’ll need to take the following steps:

  1. Go to your local courthouse and fill out the necessary forms for protection. You may also include your children in this request.
  2. Submit your forms to the clerk’s office. Once the forms are filed the judge will have one business day to rule on your request.
  3. If the judge grants your request, the clerk’s office will file it for you and it will be valid for 3 weeks until you are summoned to come to court for your permanent hearing. During this time you will need to have the other party served. Anyone over the age of 18 can execute service, though many times law enforcement may do it for you.
  4. Once served you’ll need to fill out a “proof of service” document and take it to the courthouse. At this time you’ll be given the time and date for your final hearing.

What Does the Protective Order Do for Me?

Once your order has been issued it will prevent your abuser from coming within a certain distance of you, your home, your place of business, your school or children’s school. It can also deny your abuser the right to contact you via cell phone, internet, or mail. If your abuser lives with you, the protective order may demand that they move out of the home, but continue to pay for certain items like rent, car notes, or utilities.

You’re Not Alone. Contact Us!

Taking the first step in reclaiming your life and separating yourself from your abuser can be frightening. It opens up a world of paperwork, court dates, and wounds from re-telling your story over and over. But this is all temporary. Everyone deserves to live a life free from abuse and fear.

If you or your children have been abused or have suffered the threat of abuse, we can help. The Fenchel Family Law PC firm is here to hold your hand through every step of the protective order process to ensure you are granted the protection and peace of mind you deserve. To talk to us about obtaining an order of protection—or about any other California family law matter—give us a call at (415) 805-9069. We’re here for you.