Restraining orders in California
These web pages provide sources of information to help you - the "restrained" person - with court filings and forms. You may also find sources which can guide you once a restraining order has been established.
(Last updated Feb 2016)
Best sources at ACLL
Best sources on-line
Other places to look
Someone is taking out a restraining order against me. What do I do now?
Restraining orders - When someone files a restraining order against you - An introduction.
If you want information on taking out a restraining against another person, you will need to use another research guide. Here is a link - Obtaining a Restraining Order
You may have received (or in legal terms been "served") a notice from a California court telling you that another person has requested a restraining order against you. This other person (or "party") is asking the court to prevent you from doing certain things. If the court agrees to the other party's request, you become the "restrained" person. You must do or not do what the court tells you.
This guide is for restraining orders that involve behavior between individuals. Frequently, these people have been in a personal relationship but not necessarily. This guide's information is focused on civil restraining orders and not criminal orders which will involve law enforcement officers. Sometimes people doing business with each other will ask the court for an injunction to prevent another person or company from doing things that may hurt a person's economic or business interests. Such legal actions are beyond the scope of this guide.
Self-help. This guide will help you locate information sources to help you respond to a request for a restraining order. Only lawyers who are members of the California State Bar Association can give you legal advice. If you will be representing yourself in court, you will be representing yourself "in pro per." You will be a "self-represented litigant" or "SLR." As you begin your research you will see the term "self-help" on court or information web sites. Self-help information is written especially for pro pers and consumers who are not represented by a lawyer -- you are "helping yourself" through the legal system.
Legal words can have special meaning. For help in understanding legal names and words, a reliable Internet source for the meanings under California law can be found on the Judicial Council website - Self-Help Glossary
The California courts have developed other Internet resources to help you represent yourself. This guide has a web page to help you find these Internet sites for your topic. In addition, the Alameda County Law Library has research resources within its collections to help you. This guide has another web page listing these specially selected resources. You will need to come into the library to use these resources.
First step - You need to understand what type or category of California restraining order the other person has asked the court for. The courts have created specialized fill-in-the-blank forms. The category of order depends on your relationship with the other person. Look at the copy of form you received from the court. At the top right corner, there will be a form designation with letters and numbers. This might include:
- DV - Domestic Violence
- EA - Elder Abuse
- CH - Civil Harassment
- WV - Workplace Violence
- GV - Gun Violence/Firearms
The forms or the paperwork you file with court to explain your side of the events or situation ("response" or "answer") will vary depending on what category of restraining order has been requested.
In addition to restraining orders based on type of relationship between the parties, the courts may also issued orders for different length of times – temporary or permanent.
REMEMBER: Be sure to check for any local court rules used by the California Superior Court in which your case was filed. Look on that the court's website or ask at your local county law library for a copy of the local rules.