Monday, October 1, 2007

California Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Divorce, division of property, custody, child support, spousal support, and domestic violence information provided by an experienced family law and divorce attorney serving the Temecula, Murrieta, and Hemet areas of Riverside County, California.

Although most people think of domestic violence as a husband hitting his wife, domestic violence is actually a much broader concept. California courts define domestic violence as the use of force or fear to intimidate another person. Domestic violence restraining orders can be obtained in marriages, dating relationships, and among family members. Examples of domestic violence include threats of violence, throwing an object against a wall or hitting the wall in the presence of the victim, taking away the person’s car keys, preventing the person from leaving a room, breaking an object in their presence, grabbing the person’s wrist, or intentionally bumping into the person. These examples are not exhaustive, and usually domestic violence consists of a pattern of activities designed to control the other person through intimidation.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can get a “kick out” order. To do so, you should first find yourself a competent family law attorney. Then you need to decide whether you really want to file for divorce. If yes, you would file a divorce lawsuit and a request for the kick out order at the same time. Otherwise, you could file a domestic violence action now, and a divorce at a later time, if desired.

The process to obtain your restraining orders would be through an emergency application, commonly called an “ex parte.” This is a request to the court that it make certain temporary, emergency orders. In your case, you would be asking for temporary orders to protect you. Your paperwork would outline for the judge the type of abuse you have suffered. The judge would then decide whether to issue orders to protect you. Your spouse will not know you have filed the paperwork until you obtain an order from the court. In Riverside county, you are supposed to be able to file a request in the morning and obtain a restraining order by the end of the day. Usually, however, it takes about three to four days to obtain a court order.

If an emergency protective order is issued, it is only good for twenty-one days. At the end of that time, the court will have a hearing to determine whether the orders should be extended. At the hearing on the permanent restraining order, your spouse will be notified. Your spouse will have the right to make you testify, and your spouse will have the right to call his/her own witnesses. If the court finds there was good cause to issue the original court order, it will make those orders permanent for a period of up to five years.

Both the temporary and the permanent restraining orders will prohibit your spouse from contacting you in any way, from being within 100 yards of you, your home, your place of business, and your vehicle. If your spouse violates the restraining orders, he/she will be arrested and criminally prosecuted. Although there is no guarantee that your spouse will not violate the restraining order, it is very rare for anyone to do so more than once. The penalties for violating an order are very severe, and the orders are easy to enforce.

If a restraining order is issued, you should call your local police department and have them come to your home when your husband is present. Do not confront your husband on your own. A policeman will serve the restraining order for you and then escort your spouse through the house so that he/she can obtain a bag of clothing. A policeman will also advise your spouse about the legal consequences of violating the order. As soon as your spouse is out of the home, your next call should be to a local locksmith; change your locks and your garage code immediately. Thereafter, if your spouse attempts to e-mail you, send you a text message, call you on the telephone, send you flowers, drive by your house, or send you a card, it is your job to notify the police.

If you live in the Temecula, Murrieta, Hemet or Riverside areas of Riverside County, California and have any questions about obtaining a domestic violence restraining order, or if you need additional divorce information, please feel free to contact our office to set up an appointment with a divorce lawyer at Famularo & Associates by calling: (951) 816-9543.

For more information, please visit one of our websites: Temecula Divorce Lawyer, Riverside County Family Law, or Family Lawyer in Temecula