How Do I Get Ready for Restraining Order Matters in Court?

Relationships between dating partners, spouses, exes, co-parents, and family members are inherently complicated. While every relationship encounters its fair share of highs and lows, there are times when a disagreement may snowball out of control and turn explosive (and, in some cases, physically violent). A temporary loss of control or an impulsive action can carry severe consequences that extend far beyond your relationship. For instance, your spouse or dating partner may decide to petition the court to issue a restraining order against you, which may prevent you from contacting them in any way or compel you to vacate a shared residence, stay away from the person, surrender any firearms in your possession, or adhere to any other specified rules. If you violate the terms of the restraining order in any way or at any point, you may face penalties like fines, mandatory arrest, or even criminal penalties. If someone is pursuing a restraining order against you in the Palmdale or Lancaster area, it’s essential that you contact a local domestic violence defense lawyer as soon as possible to understand your options. Former Deputy District Attorney, and Former Judge Pro Tem David Wallin is committed to helping individuals throughout Southern California prepare for an upcoming civil domestic violence hearing. Let’s take a look at how domestic violence restraining orders work in northern Los Angeles County and what steps you can take to prepare for your civil court hearing. 

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in California

First, it’s helpful to understand what a domestic violence restraining order does for both the petitioner and the respondent. Essentially, a domestic violence restraining order aims to protect the petitioner from physical or emotional abuse at the hands of an intimate partner, relative, parent, sibling, or grandparent (including in-laws). It’s important to recognize that domestic violence does not always mean physical abuse; the court can grant a domestic violence restraining order to protect someone from a partner’s ongoing attempts to control their finances, limit their independence, or isolate them from friends and family. If the court grants the petitioner’s request for a restraining order, the respondent must follow every term listed in the court order. The specific terms of the restraining order may vary from case to case, but generally prohibit the respondent from contacting, harassing, or stalking the petitioner in any way. Domestic violence restraining orders are initially issued as temporary (lasting between 20 to 25 days) until a hearing takes place to determine whether the court should make the order permanent. 

Navigating the Domestic Violence Restraining Order Process

When someone wants to put a domestic violence restraining order in place, they must locate and complete several forms asking them to provide details about why they want this legal protection. When they file the forms, the court will review their petition and determine whether to issue a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO). If the judge decides that a TRO is warranted, you will be served with form DV-110, which notifies you of the restraining order issued against you and describes the rules you must follow. For instance, you must turn in, sell, or properly store any firearms, ammunition, and firearm parts within 48 hours of receiving the order. The TRO will also inform you of the actions you cannot take, such as contacting the petitioner, showing up at their place of work, or monitoring their location (the exact terms of the TRO will be customized to address the specific circumstances of the situation). Additionally, the TRO will inform you of the date of the hearing in civil court, so it’s essential to contact a knowledgeable and skilled Lancaster domestic violence defense lawyer right away to start preparing for this court appearance.

Preparing For Restraining Order Matters in Court

Once you receive form DV-110, you must comply with every provision listed in the order. You may have also been served DV-109, which notifies you of an upcoming civil court hearing to address the petitioner’s request for a domestic violence restraining order against you. In addition to enlisting legal representation right away, you can start to prepare for this critical hearing by taking the following steps.

Identify and Gather Evidence

Due to the intimate nature of domestic violence matters, these cases usually come down to one person’s word against the other’s. However, you can support your position by gathering and compiling any evidence to show why the petitioner’s request for a restraining order is unfounded or unwarranted. For example, if you have text messages or emails that contradict the petitioner’s account of what happened, your attorney can help you print them out and prepare to enter as evidence in support of your assertions. If you know that the petitioner is exaggerating their allegations or claiming that you injured them (when you know their injuries were pre-existing or occurred elsewhere), you can use photos or other forms of evidence to show the court that the petitioner’s account of events is inaccurate, baseless, or downright false. 

Discuss What You Will Say to the Judge

At the hearing, both parties will have the opportunity to make their cases and explain their version of events. It’s essential to focus on what you plan to say to the judge, as this will be your primary chance to present your case. As a former Deputy District Attorney, and Former Judge Pro Tem David Wallin knows the ins and outs of both the criminal and civil court systems. He’s ready to help you develop a sound and strategic plan for defending yourself against the petitioner’s domestic violence restraining order request. Together, you can put together the best possible defensive strategy to keep your future as bright as possible. 

If you are facing accusations of domestic violence in Palmdale or Lancaster, you need effective and reliable legal representation to help you obtain the best possible outcome. As a former Deputy District Attorney, and Former Judge Pro Tem David M. Wallin understands all sides of the California justice system. Call (661) 267-1313 today to arrange a free consultation with a trusted and experienced domestic violence defense attorney.