California has different types of restraining orders. One version is the Domestic Violence Restraining Order. The DVRO can only be used in cases that involve two people who have shared an intimate relationship. It can be used in cases that include fiancées, spouses, couples who have been dating, siblings, parents, children, and grandparents. There are cases where a DVRO was taken out in cases involving in-laws.
Having an intimate relationship with the person you’re trying to get the DVRO against is just one-half of the equation. The second half is that you must have been abused. This doesn’t always mean physical abuse. Suppose you can provide sufficient evidence to support a claim of emotional, psychological, and even online abuse by a person you have a relationship with. In that case, you can apply for a DVRO.
A DVRO can only be granted by a California judge. Once the judge approves the DVRO, the police are contacted and tasked with letting the person named in the DVRO know that a restraining order against them has been granted and to make sure that the individual understands the terms of the DVRO.
While each DVRO goes through a bit of customization to suit each case, it can be used to:
- Make sure the person named in the order can’t contact you
- That they must maintain a specific distance away from you
- If you live together, they’ll be required to move out
- Make sure the named person doesn’t stalk, harm, harass, or threaten anyone the DVRO is designed to protect
A surprising number of people assume that they have to pay to have a DVRO taken out on an abuser in their life. That’s not the case. Not only are you able to fill out the application for a DVRO for free, but the police will also serve your abuser with the papers at no charge.
Some California counties have a policy that requires you to fill out a “fee waiver application” form, and there still won’t be a fee connected to the filing process. The document simply states that you aren’t paying for anything connected to the DVRO.
The amount of time a DVRO remains in effect depends on its type of protection order. If the DVRO was created as a direct result of an emergency, it’s only in effect for seven days. Before the seventh day elapses, you need to file for another DVRO that will last longer.
A temporary DVRO is designed to protect you for 20-25 days. Permanent DVROs can remain in effect for as long as five years. A hearing will take place during which a judge will listen to the case and decide exactly how long the DVRO should last before it expires.