Restraining Orders

Criminal Records

When a request for a domestic violence restraining order is filed, California Family Code Section 6306 requires the judge to review the criminal record of the alleged abuser. If the alleged abuser has a conviction for a violent felony or a misdemeanor for domestic violence, weapons. or other violence, the court can use the information in its consideration to issue a restraining order in the current family law situation. If the court uses the information then the divorce attorney for either party may obtain a copy of the record, but the criminal record does not become part of the domestic violence record. It remains part of a confidential record, and its distribution is severely limited. If the criminal record does not include any conviction of this type, then the court must destroy the record, and it does not become part of the domestic violence proceedings.


After a request for a restraining order has been filed, a family law court may issue a temporary restraining order. The matter is then set for a permanent restraining order hearing.

Permanent restraining orders in California are granted after a noticed hearing. If the court believes that a restraining order is necessary, a permanent restraining order can be issued for up to five years. 

A person can request an extension of the permanent restraining order if a motion if filed before the expiration of the restraining order.

Temporary Orders

Custody and support orders can be issued in a request for a restraining order. If a court finds that one party has committed domestic violence towards the other parent or the children within the past 5 years, there is a rebuttable presumption that joint custody is detrimental to the children. 

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Domestic Violence

How Does California Define Domestic Violence?
Domestic Violence is defined by California Family Code Section 6203. The code states that a person has committed domestic violence when he or she intentionally or recklessly causes or attempts to cause bodily injury, sexual assault, placed another in reasonable apprehension of imminent serious bodily injury, or engages in the enjoined behavior found in California Family Code Section 6320. 

What help is available for victims of domestic violence?
There are resources for people who suffer from domestic violence. Information in regards to shelters and centers can be found on this page.

Does the batterer lose control of himself or herself?
A common misconception in respect to domestic violence is the belief that batterers lose control when enraged or put in situations where they could lose control.  However, a batterer is in control at all times–knowing when to stop. For more information in respect to the behavior of batterers please purchase Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

I am constantly walking on egg shells, how can I change that?
Victims of domestic violence are led to believe that it is their fault for the abuse that they suffer. If they did not burn dinner, or did not increase stress, or got the kids to school on time, then the abuser would not be angry. The reality is that the abuser should be in control of his or her emotions and anger. Perfection is impossible. 

How is custody managed in a domestic violence case?
There is a presumption against joint custody and sole custody for the abuser.  The abuse must be proven in a court of law for these presumption to apply. 

Can a male be a victim of domestic violence?
Both females and males can be victims, however, the more severe harm occurs when the female is being victimized by a male abuser. He is often stronger and more powerful, and the physical abuse is more likely to land the victim in the hospital when it is a female. 

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