How To Get A Restraining Order For A Family Member Facing Abuse

If you or someone you know are subject to domestic violence, there are ways to get help and to find shelter if necessary.  Here are the steps to take towards obtaining a restraining order for a family member who might be facing domestic abuse.

Gather The Requisite Paperwork And Complete It.

A domestic violence restraining order may be requested in the superior court of the county where the offender resides. If the abuser lives outside of the state, you can file a lawsuit with the superior court in the city where you live or where the violence occurred. Visit the state’s Courthouse Locations page for contact details. You will meet with the civil clerk of court at the courthouse. Request a petition for a restraining order against domestic abuse. 

The clerk will provide you with the required paperwork. If you need assistance filling out the form, ask the clerk. On the state’s Download Court Forms page, you’ll also find links to online forms.Also, one of the domestic violence groups mentioned on the state’s Advocates and Shelters page might be able to assist you.

If taking legal action to fill out a petition, remember to carry some sort of identification (a driver’s license or a photo ID). Fill out all the forms with care. Be as descriptive as possible. Start writing about the most recent instance of abuse, using descriptive terminology that suits your situation (slapping, punching, clutching, intimidating, when the cops were called, etc.). 

As the form allows, include previous cases of violence. Based on the events you mention, the judge will make a decision on whether or not to issue a provisional ex parte order. Make sure the details you provide are accurate and fully tell your story.

Obtain An Ex Parte Restraining Order For Domestic Abuse.

When you submit your claim, you will apply for an ex parte provisional family violence restraining order if you are at imminent risk. Each court, as per the court’s self-help manual, functions differently. You will be required to inform the bailiff or judge that you have filed a family violence complaint and wish to get an ex parte hearing. 

The judge can meet with you in his or her chambers, which is the equivalent of a judge’s office, in some courts (the abuser will not be present). You will be sworn in, and the judge will query you about your request and the safeguards you are seeking. Domestic violence groups also assist victims of domestic violence in navigating the ex parte procedure.

Process Service

If the judge issues a preliminary ex parte order, individuals will be forced to take it to the clerk’s office to be filed. As per the court’s self-help guide, service varies by county; you will need to take the summons to the sheriff’s department and fill out paperwork so that the abuser is served. 

If that’s the case, you’ll need to include details such as the abuser’s address, job and workdays, SSN, and a detailed description. The petitioner may complete the form also at the clerk’s office, and the clerk should submit it to the sheriff’s office, along with the respondent’s duplicate of the grievance and the provisional ex parte order, for processing on the defendant. 

You should inquire with the clerk about how the service will be carried out in your specific county.

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