|Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
Certified Family Law Specialist
DO NOT WAIT TOO LONG
BEFORE APPLYING FOR A RESTRAINING ORDER
If you are a victim of domestic violence, it is important to take action as soon as possible. If you
are afraid that a spouse or partner may cause you harm you should immediately call the police.
They have the power to issue ex parte emergency protective orders. You can then go to court
and request that a Judge issue a Temporary Restraining Order. Many courtrooms have
volunteers who will help you prepare the paperwork. If the Judge grants you a temporary
restraining order (TRO), the Judge will then direct that the paperwork be served on the other side
and will set the matter for a trial to decide whether the order should be made permanent. The
trial must take place within 21 days.
There are practical and legal reasons why there is a danger in waiting too long before you file an
application for a restraining order. As a practical matter, a restraining order gives the victim of
domestic abuse protection against further abuse. It may include personal restraining orders
which order that the batterer stays a certain distance away from the victim. As a legal matter, if
you wait too long, it may raise credibility issues with the court. The batterer may argue that
someone who waited weeks or months does not have a reasonable apprehension of further
harm and therefore does not need a restraining order. Unfortunately, it is a fact that some
people apply for domestic violence restraining orders to seek a litigation advantage in divorces
or custody proceedings.
The purpose behind our domestic violence legislation is to prevent future acts of abuse. In one
case, the Court said that it would only grant a restraining order if there was a preponderance of
the evidence that "the protected party entertained a “reasonable apprehension” of future abuse.”
It went on to say that the apprehension of future abuse is an objective test based on the
apprehensions of a reasonable man or woman in the same circumstances. That case involved a
request for a renewed, permanent restraining order against the victim’s former fiancé. The Court
of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order because it was “based solely on the victim's
subjective desire the protective order be extended”. The Court of Appeals held that the trial
court should have considered the “change in circumstances” which occurred in the 3 years after
the original order had been issued because it showed that the “probability of future acts” of
abuse may have decreased.
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Please call to make an appointment at 310.247.9913.
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