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Legal Ease: Protecting Yourself with a Restraining Order

Are you being harassed, stalked, ex-lover gone crazy? If your safety is in danger, filing a restraining order can protect you and your family. A restraining order is a court order that requires another to stay away from you, your family, and your work / place of business. It will help protect you from physical abuse, being threatened, stalked or harassed.

Keep in mind that getting the courts involved is very serious. Before you file a restraining order against someone make sure it is necessary. A restraining order should be sought when you are in real danger, not to get revenge in a bad break up. The person that will have the order against them will potentially suffer multiple consequences. If the order is granted, it is almost like having a criminal record. Also, if granted and then violated, they will be arrested.

In order to begin the process, you will have to fill out paperwork with the court. You will have to explain why you need to be protected from the person you are filing against. For California all the necessary forms are available online. You may want to consult an attorney to assist in filing out the paperwork and providing a proper affidavit.

Once you file, a temporary restraining order (TRO) is automatically granted and a hearing is set. The person you are filing against will have the opportunity to defend him or herself. The court may decide not to grant the order depending on the circumstances and this may make your situation worse. If you have not yet, at this point you may want to contact an attorney for advice and guidance, especially if the other party hired an attorney. To be prepared make sure you get any documentation, photos, evidence or witnesses together for the date of the hearing. You will have to prove to the court that you need the protection you are asking for. Be on time, be polite, and respectful. Practice what you want to say and try to keep emotion out of it. Tell the truth and give complete answers.

In California there are four different types of orders, they differ based on the particular type of protection that is needed:

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is appropriate when there has been abuse by a person that you are in a close relationship with, i.e. spouse, domestic partner, someone you are related to, or you have a child with that person.

A Civil Harassment Restraining Order is used when you are suffering harassment from someone you are not close with. Harassment can anything that is violence, threat of violence, threats, stalking, something that really scares or annoys you and it is done on purpose for no good reason. This type of order protects you from neighbors, co-workers, roommates and other relationships of this nature.

An Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order is used to protect a person that is over the age of 65 or is between the ages of 18 and 64 with certain disabilities. The purpose is to protect victims of physical or financial abuse, neglect, abandonment or treatment that has physically or mentally hurt you.

You can ask for a Workplace Violence Restraining Order if you are the employer and you need to protect an employee who has suffered violence or the threat of physical violence at the work place. (An employee cannot file the order, only the employer).

Regardless as to the type of order you file, make sure you have the necessary information needed in order to make your case to the judge.

Alexis graduated from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2007. In law school she served as Student Body President, Public Relations Director for OUTLaw, and was a competing member of the Mock Trial team. Upon graduating she accepted an associate position with Anthony J. Solare and was recently named partner. Solare & Scott provides legal services focusing on criminal defense – including juvenile and military cases, family law, and civil litigation. A true believer in justice and equality, Alexis hopes to influence positive change in our legal and political system. You can contact Alexis at 619.234.7575 or online at SolareandScott.com.