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Divorce Restraining Order: What Is It and How Do I Obtain One in California?

Divorce can cause significant difficulties for both parties, particularly if abuse becomes an issue. Divorce restraining orders save lives, and the state considers them very carefully.

Restraining orders prevent individuals from keeping a gun or ammunition or from going near you or others listed in the command. The order may require the restrained party to adhere to child support and custody instructions, to move out of a residence, and to obey property demands.

How Can I Obtain a Divorce Restraining Order?

California law considers abuse any act that puts you in immediate fear of injury or causes actual harm to you or your property. If your spouse or ex-spouse caused you serious harm, you can file a temporary restraining order to keep him or her away. You can also request that the order protect certain family members, including parents, children, or anyone else who lives in your household.

Restraining orders work differently in divorce cases than they do in other situations. You can file your request for a restraining order through your existing family law case instead of creating a new domestic violence claim.

Your divorce attorney can help you fill out and file your restraining order forms. The California Courts website also offers the information you need to successfully request and obtain a restraining order. You may need to fill out several different forms, such as child custody rights documents and documents disclosing financial information. In some cases, you may request that the restrained party pay your attorney fees for the order.

Serving the Order

The next step involves asking someone to “serve” or deliver the documents to your spouse or ex-spouse within a specific timeframe. You need to attend the hearing and bring evidence against the person cited in the request. If you need support during this time, seek it. Your attorney, the police station, and outreach programs can help you find counseling and support services.

The court may approve one or all of your requests for restraint. Make copies of the order, and deliver them to places and people protected under the directive. Any time an individual violates the terms of the order, you can contact the police to take further action. In some cases, you may renew an order and/or request a long-term or permanent restraining order.

“ATROs” – A Separate But Very Different Type of Restraining Order

This article from Forbes explains the difference. Here is the key point:

Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders (called “ATROs,” for short) used in divorce cases… are mutual court orders that prohibit either spouse from:

  • selling, transferring or borrowing against property
  • borrowing or selling insurance held for the other spouse
  • modifying beneficiaries on policies (health insurance, life insurance, retirement accounts, wills, etc.)
  • changing bank accounts
  • destroying or hiding assets

In other words, an ATRO prevents either party from changing the financial status quo of the marriage once a divorce action begins.”

Getting the Urgent Help You Need to Stay Safe and in Control

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