If a child under 12 years old is abused → a parent or guardian must file the restraining order paperwork on behalf of the child; if the child is 12 or older they can file the restraining order paperwork on their own. You are eligible to request a domestic violence restraining order against someone who has:

  • Abused you or threatened to abuse you (physical or emotional); and
  • You have a close relationship with the person (married or registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, have a child together, or live together or used to live together), or you are closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).

This page only explains how to file a domestic violence restraining order in California. We also provide information on how to defend a restraining order, how to file a civil harassment restraining order in Los Angeles, a workplace violence restraining order and an elder abuse restraining order.

Filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

Form DV-100 → this form provides the judge with the details of your particular circumstances, and what you are asking the court to do.

Form DV-109 → this form will tell both you and the party you are seeking to restrain when to come to court for the hearing.

Form DV-110 → this form asks the court to grant a temporary restraining order to protect you from domestic violence before the hearing. At the hearing, the judge will either cancel the temporary order or convert it to a permanent order.

If children are involved you also need to include the following forms:

  • Form DV-105, and attach it to Form DV-100 → this form allows you to request that the judge decides custody and visitation while you wait for your hearing date.
  • Form DV-140 and attach to Form DV-110 → this is the court order regarding child custody and visitation.
  • Form DV-108 → this form allows you to request that the children do not leave the State of California.

If you are requesting child support you need to check Item 13 on Form DV-100) and you need to include either:

If you are requesting spousal, partner, or family support: You need to include: Form FL-150 and attach to Form DV-100

A request for a civil harassment restraining order can be denied if the proper filing method should have been to request a domestic violence restraining order. The opposite of a workplace violence restraining order request, where individuals mistakenly file this type of request when a civil harassment request is appropriate, individuals are often unaware they should be filing a domestic violence request because of a qualifying familial or domestic relationship. The best course of action is to always consult a qualified restraining order attorney to determine which type of request is appropriate / required. 

Submit the Documents to the Court

  • Take the forms to the clerk.
  • You will receive your hearing date.
  • Deliver the Documents to the Other Side.

Serve a copy of your restraining order documents.

You also need to include BLANK copies of:

You can request that the Sheriff serves the domestic violence restraining order documents on the other party. In domestic violence restraining orders (and in civil harassment restraining orders where actual violence or a credible threat of violence is alleged), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will serve the notice of the restraining order and the notice of the restraining order hearing at no cost.

While this process will sometimes be less effective, as respondents can easily identify a law enforcement official and evade service more easily than when a citizen, dressed in street clothes approaches, a sheriff’s declaration will be more forceful than a process server’s if service is contested. The best course of action is always to hire an attorney when filing a domestic violence restraining order. He or she will usually proceed in the manner most beneficial to your case. 

The documents must be served by the deadline the judge writes on your documents – Form DV-109, page 2, item 5.

File a Proof of Service

The person who served the documents must fill out Form DV-200.

If the person is not properly served→request continuance (a delay in the hearing date):

  • Form DV-115 → this form requests a delay in the hearing date because you were unable to serve the other party with the paperwork in time.
  • Form DV-116 → this form provides a new hearing date.
  • Give filed Form DV-116 to local police.

Restrained Person’s Response

The other party must, after being served with your restraining order paperwork, file and serve you with a response. This response is Form DV-120.

The Hearing

If the domestic violence restraining order is granted → you must serve a Form DV-130 on the other party.

If the other party is at the hearing, you can serve Form DV-130 by mail after the hearing.

If the other party is not at the hearing, but judge’s orders are the same as the temporary order, you can serve copy Form DV-130 by mail.

If the other party is not at the hearing, and the judge’s orders are different from the temporary order, you must personally serve Form DV-130.

At the hearing, be sure to have all evidence you need to present to prove your case available. This means have witnesses who can support your testimony available to testify at the time of the hearing. Have all documents and exhibits with you and ready to show the judge. You must give the other side a copy of all documentary evidence you wish to present at the hearing in advance of the hearing, along with other paperwork you file. When presenting your case, whether in testimony or with physical evidence, be sure to be concise and not embellish the facts. You can call witnesses to support every point that you have made or need to make in order to establish the restraining order hearing. However, calling multiple witnesses to testify to the same fact may be superfluous and the judge may request that you limit the number of witnesses. If certain witnesses are impeached or their testimony is otherwise called into question, you may request to have additional witnesses that the court did not previously allow, testify. 

The judge may ask you additional questions. When you are being questioned (cross-examined) by the other side, answer the questions honestly and do not appear combative or argumentative. The more honest you are and the more willing you are to admit facts that are true but may not necessarily support your position completely, the more credibility you will have with other facts of real importance. Lying or appearing to be untruthful about minor details or minor issues can hurt your chances of having a restraining order granted or denied, depending on which side you are on. While witnesses honestly forget certain facts and often cannot recall events verbatim, judges understand this phenomenon and proceed with that fact in mind. It is better for your case to testify honestly, conceding points that are not particularly important, adding credibility to the critical parts of your case.