Common reasons for restraining orders in California
California law allows for restraining orders in response to different types of abuse or harassment. Most of these situations violate domestic violence laws, though courts sometimes issue them in other circumstances. If you are thinking of pursuing a restraining order, you may be wondering if it is the right step for you. Common reasons that Californians give for pursuing a restraining order include:
- Physical abuse in the home – Perhaps the most common reason for a restraining order is domestic violence that has turned physical, including sexual assault.
- Harassment – Harassment could come from a romantic partner, but may also come from someone else like a neighbor or coworker. This may range from repeated nuisance contact to making threats.
- Stalking – Stalkers may start out by following you without your knowledge, but often build up to contact, harassment and even threats.
- Emotional and verbal abuse – When abuse takes the form of emotional manipulation and verbal denigration or threats of harm, it may still fall under the domestic violence laws as a form of coercive control.
- Destruction of personal property – Destroying your property is considered threatening and damaging enough to warrant a restraining order.
Domestic violence restraining order (DVRO) vs. civil harassment order (CHO)
You may need to choose between a DVRO and a CHO. Domestic violence laws apply to:
- People in a current or former romantic relationship
- Family members, whether through blood, adoption or marriage
- Co-parents of a child
- Cohabitants in your home
CHOs can apply to anyone and do not require an intimate connection, but they are slightly more difficult to get and not quite as far-reaching. In general, if your situation falls under domestic violence laws, you may be better off with a DVRO.
If you fear for your safety or the safety of your children, a protective order can help to deter your abuser or harasser. The court can even issue emergency orders on short notice. The abuser may still choose to violate the order, but will face even harsher penalties if they do. The important thing is to correctly file for a restraining order that the courts will consider enforceable.