This information explains what to do before, during, and after the restraining order hearing. You can go to www.courts.ca.gov/dvforms for more information and to find the court forms listed in this information form
Before the hearing
- 3 copies of all papers you filed for your case.
- 3 copies of documents that support your case (police or medical reports, rental agreements or receipts, photos, bills). Be ready to give the other party copies of what you give to the judge. Sometimes the judge cannot look at or consider certain documents. The judge will decide which documents can be included in your case.
- 3 copies of pay stubs or other proof of income (only if orders about money, such as child or spousal support, were requested). If the judge accepts your proof, s/he will also give a copy to the other person.
If needed, make arrangements for:
- A support person. But that person cannot speak for you in court.
- Witness(es) to testify in court. Or you may bring a witness’s signed statement of what they saw or heard. The witness’s statement can be on a sheet of paper that says Declaration at the top, and Signed under penalty of perjury at the bottom, just above the witness’s signature. Or the witness may use form MC-030, Declaration instead.
- Exception: If the other person objects to your witness, that witness must be in court if you want the judge to hear from him or her.
- The signed Proof of Service form. For more information, see DV-200-INFO, What Is “Proof of Personal Service?”
- Make a list of the orders you want (or donʼt want), and practice saying it. You may only have a few minutes to talk to the judge. If you get nervous at the hearing, just read from your list. You may also write a statement and read it to the judge. You may also say other things after you read the statement.
- Childcare. Most of the time, children will not be allowed in the courtroom during the hearing. Call the court and ask if they have a children’s waiting room. If not, arrange for childcare.
- If you do not speak English well, ask the clerk for an interpreter. The clerk may ask you to fill out a request form if you want the court to have an interpreter at the hearing. If the court cannot give you an interpreter, bring an adult to interpret for you. Do not ask a witness or a child involved in your case to interpret for you.
If the hearing is about getting a restraining order against you:
- Go to the hearing! If you miss it, the judge can make orders without hearing your side.
- Read DV-120-INFO, How Can I Respond to a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order?
- You can fill out and file a court form to tell the judge your side (form DV-120, Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order). Take 3 copies of this form to the court hearing.
- Note: If the other person asks for orders about money (child or spousal support or other financial orders), read form DV-570 to see if you should fill out an Income and Expense Declaration or a Simplified Financial Statement.
At the hearing
Get to court at least 30 minutes early. Find your courtroom. When it opens, go in and tell the courtroom clerk or law enforcement officer you are present, and the names of any witnesses, and if the witness needs an interpreter.
- Do not sit near or talk to the other person. If you are afraid of the other person, tell the officer.
- Watch the other cases so you will know what to do.
- Go to the front of the courtroom when they call your name.
- You may be at court several hours. It depends on how many cases there are. Your hearing may last just a few minutes or over an hour.
Warning! If you asked for the restraining order but do not go to the hearing, your temporary restraining order will end and there may not be a hearing. The court could make other orders if the other side asks, even if the restraining order is not granted. To get another restraining order, you must fill out and file a new set of forms.
In the courtroom
The judge may ask you questions. The other people in the case and their lawyers may ask questions, too.
- Tell the truth. Speak slowly. Give complete answers. You can read from your list.
- Try to answer exactly what the judge asks.
- If you don’t understand, say “I don’t understand the question.”
- Speak only to the judge unless it’s your turn to ask questions or the judge tells you to answer a question from the other person or his/her lawyer.
- Do not interrupt anyone! If the other person tells a lie, wait until s/he finishes talking, then tell the judge.
The court may postpone (continue) your case if:
- The person to be restrained has not been served or needs time to get a lawyer or prepare an answer.
- The judge wants more information or your hearing is taking longer than planned.
If this happens, you will have to come back another day. The person who asked for the order may ask the judge to make the temporary orders last until the new hearing date. The court might use form DV-116 for the new hearing.
At the end of the hearing
For most cases, the judge will make decisions about your case at the end of the hearing. To decide if the requested orders should be approved or not, the judge will decide if the evidence shows that the person asking for protection is entitled to a restraining order. The judge will consider the evidence and the safety risks of the adults and children involved in the case. If the judge makes orders at the hearing, the orders will be on form DV-130, Restraining Order After Hearing.
If you asked for the order(s):
- The court clerk might fill out form DV-130. If so, s/he will take it to the judge. If not, ask who should fill it out, and where to file it. After the form is filed, the court clerk will give you up to 3 copies.
- Read the signed form DV-130 carefully. If anything is different from what the judge said in court, ask the clerk for help right away. Or talk to your lawyer, if you have one.
- Your temporary orders expire at midnight of the date of your hearing. File your new order the same day so you will be protected.
- If the court makes the restraining order, the clerk will send form DV-130, Restraining Order After Hearing to law enforcement. Doing this puts your orders in a database called CLETS. This lets police everywhere in the state know about the orders.
- Important! Always keep a copy of the restraining order with you.
Family Court Services
If you ask for parenting time (custody and visitation) orders, the court may send both parents to Family Court Services for court-connected mediation or child custody recommending counseling. For more information, see forms: FL-313-INFO, Child Custody Information Sheet —Recommending Counseling, or FL- 314-INFO, Child Custody Information Sheet—Child Custody Mediation. If you are sent to Family Court Services, the judge may extend the date of the orders (or make new temporary orders) to last until your next court date.
After the Hearing
f you asked for the restraining order, and the court made the order… You must have the other person served with a copy of form DV-130. You may have him or her served with a copy of form DV-130 in the courtroom after the hearing or by mail. If the restrained person was not at the hearing and the new orders are
- the same as the temporary order, you may have the other person served with a copy of form DV-130 by mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-250.
- different from the temporary order, you must have someone serve form DV-130 in person, not by mail. Ask the server to complete form DV-200, Proof of Personal Service, and give it back to you.
Important! You must file a completed form DV-200, Proof of Personal Service, or form DV-250, Proof of Service by Mail. Keep a copy for your records. Keep a copy of the orders with you at all times.
If you asked for support or child custody/visitation orders, you may also get one of these forms:
- Form DV-140, Child Custody and Visitation Order, if the judge ordered child custody or visitation.
- Form FL-342, Child Support Information and Order Attachment, or form FL-343, Spousal, Partner, or Family Support Order Attachment, if the judge orders child support and/or spousal support.
If the court made a restraining order against you…
- You must obey orders the judge makes at the hearing. Orders are written on form DV-130. If you do not obey them, you could be arrested.
- You will be served the Restraining Order After Hearing (form DV-130) at the hearing or within a few days, by mail or in person.
- Read the signed form DV-130 carefully when you receive it. If anything is different from what the judge said, ask the court clerk for help right away. Or talk to your lawyer, if you have one.
If you do not receive a copy of the orders within a few days, ask the clerk for a copy.
Review How Do I Turn In, Sell, or Store My Firearms (DV-800-INFO/JV-252-INFO).
Need more help?
Ask the court clerk about free or low-cost legal help. Ask for information at the court about the Self-Help Center or Family Law Facilitator Office.
For a referral to a local domestic violence or legal assistance program, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline:
It’s free and private. They can help you in more than 100 languages.
What if you are deaf or hard of hearing?
Assistive listening systems, computer-assisted real-time captioning, or sign language interpreter services are available if you ask at least five days before the proceeding. Contact the clerk’s office or go to <a href="https: //www.courts.ca.gov/forms" target="_blank">www.courts.ca.gov/forms</a> for Request for Accommodations by Persons With Disabilities and Order (form MC-410). (Civil Code, § 54.8)