Applying for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

1. What is a domestic violence restraining order?

California law protects victims of domestic violence by allowing them to seek a restraining order against an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, spouse, or family member who has been violent towards them or threatens their physical and/or emotional safety. A domestic violence restraining order requires the restrained party to stay away from the victim for a certain period of time.

2. Do domestic violence laws only cover physical abuse?

The answer is: NO.

Domestic violence is an infringement and assault on an individual’s right to feel safe, loved, and/or cared for in his or her own home. Though many associate domestic violence with forms of physical abuse, it can also include name-calling, insults, constant criticism, manipulation of emotions, frequent and incessant “checking up” or monitoring, and isolation.

Just because the victim does not have physical scars doesn’t mean they don’t have emotional ones; and fortunately, many California laws recognize this.

3. Who can get a domestic violence restraining order?

Many states, including California, also have statutes protecting those in dating relationships, and many also have domestic violence laws that include any persons related by blood or living partnerships.

Under California law, you are qualified for a domestic violence restraining order if you and the person you want to restrain are:

·      married or registered domestic partners

·      divorced or separated

·      dating or used to date

·      living together or used to live together

·      parents together of a child

·      closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law, etc.)

4. What can I do to help my domestic violence restraining order case?

Evidence! Getting the evidence you need to support your case is incredibly crucial. With that said, it is strongly suggested that you begin gathering your evidence sooner than later. This can include: photos, medical or police reports, text messages, emails, voicemails, damaged property, etc.

You can also take a witness to help your case. However, witnesses may or may not be allowed to speak. In any case, you may want to bring a written statement of what the witness said or heard. NOTE: These statements must be filed and served at the same time as your request for the restraining order.

5. How does a domestic violence restraining order affect child custody?

You can request custody and support orders within the request for restraining order forms. It is the courts duty to make child custody decisions based on a fairly simple standard: the best interest of the child. With that said, findings of domestic abuse and the need for a domestic violence restraining order will be major factors when making that determination.

6. What forms do I need to file?

You can find all necessary court forms HERE.

In addition to these forms, you should also ask your local court clerk if there are any local forms you have to fill out. You can find these forms on court websites. Click HERE to find your local court’s website.

If you are not represented by an attorney, it is a good idea to have your completed forms reviewed by your court’s family law facilitator or self-help center. They can make sure you filled out your forms properly before you move ahead with your case.

**It is IMPORTANT to know that your restraining order paperwork will go to the person you are wishing to restrain and he or she will have the opportunity to read everything you write. If you do not want this person to know where you are staying and you want to keep your address confidential, do NOT write it on these papers. Instead, use a program called “Safe at Home” that gives you a secure address to use for your court papers (or for banking and other things) where you can still get your court papers without having to reveal your address**

Remember, the most important thing for victims is personal, physical, and emotional safety. In some cases, ensuring that safety may require getting a restraining order against an abuser. If you or someone you know is in need of a domestic violence restraining order or legal advice, feel free to contact Sturtevant Law.

For details on the process of filing a request for a restraining order in the state of California and for links to court forms visit: www.courts.ca.gov or CLICK HERE.

Getting a divorce and worried about your assets? Read this.

Divorces are difficult, and unfortunately, high-asset divorces are often even more cumbersome, simply because there is a lot more to fight over. 

If you want to make it out of a high-asset divorce (or nearly any divorce for that matter) with your assets protected and your livelihood in tact, here are five easy things you can do:

1.     Educate yourself.

If you took a back seat in your family’s financial dealings, now is the time to pay close attention to what you and your spouse jointly hold. The more you understand about your family’s personal and business assets, the more prepared you will be to negotiate what you want. More importantly, you will be able to recognize a fair (or unfair) settlement when you see it.

2.      Look for hidden assets.

If artwork, jewelry, baseball card collections, or even cars go missing, you’d likely notice. However, your spouse might not count on you noticing unusual transfers out of your joint account. Keep an eye out for payments to non-existent bills or bogus “business” expenses – these transactions are likely a way for your partner to hide cash while your assets are still held as community property.

3.     Keep records.

California laws make it very clear that in the event of a divorce, each spouse must disclose all of their financial information and assets. This is because California is a strict community property state, which means almost all property acquired during the marriage is to be divided between you and your spouse 50/50.

If you acquired any assets separate from your spouse’s money that you wish to keep, you will need proof of where those assets originally came from, including: wills, trusts, bank statements, and insurance policies. Start collecting any records you can now so that you and your attorney can use them as a starting point for negotiations.

4.     Keep future costs in mind.

Be smart about what assets you choose to keep. Simply put, it won’t do you any good to keep the family vacation home if you can’t afford the payments and upkeep.

5.     Be upfront about your assets

You can try to deceive your spouse by hiding or concealing assets, but don’t forget that you would also be messing with the law. If what you’re hiding is discovered, you will lose your credibility in court and you could also be met with stiff penalties, including monetary sanctions. To protect yourself and your property during a divorce, it is best to declare all assets upfront.

By being honest about your assets, you can set the tone for future negotiations with your spouse and, hopefully, come to an agreement that allows you to keep most or all of what you have tucked away.

Ultimately, you want to work with an attorney who will listen to your goals and help you achieve the closest possible outcome to those goals. Sturtevant Law is here to help you navigate and negotiate through your divorce with as little conflict as possible. For more information or to set up a consultation, please visit our Contact page.