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Pasadena Child Custody Attorney’s Guide to Domestic Protection Orders in California


Domestic violence is not just something that happens between two spouses. California law protects victims of domestic violence whether the victim is a spouse, significant other, child, parent, or roommate, and domestic violence includes not just acts of physical aggression but also threats of physical aggression, sexual abuse, and mental abuse.

Victims of domestic violence – whether it be a wife/girlfriend or a child – may feel helpless, but help is available if the victim or a loved one is willing to take the first step to reach out to authorities and/or resources. Obtaining a protective order, also called a restraining order, is often a crucial step in protecting yourself against domestic violence. There are several types of restraining orders available under California law.

Contact the Police if You Are Facing an Immediate Threat

The police will respond to reports of domestic violence. A police officer can then issue what is called an Emergency Protective Order on the spot. This order, also called an EPO, is only valid for 5 days. The EPO protects victims from domestic violence, stalking, child abuse and child abduction, by requiring that the alleged perpetrator of violence stay away from the victim or risk being arrested.

Never feel afraid or embarrassed to take action to shield yourself or your children from violence. Abusers often resort to shaming their victims into staying at home or into remaining silent. Remember: speaking up or leaving is about protecting yourself and your children. If you need help, but you aren’t sure where to turn, state agencies can help you find safe placement away from your abuser.

Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Order

If you and/or a child are not facing an emergency situation requiring police intervention, you can obtained a temporary restraining order, also known as a TRO or DVRO. This will require going to a court, and an attorney can represent you. The perpetrator of domestic violence does not have to be present at the hearing, or even made aware of it, and a judge may issue a TRO without his or her input. A TRO is good for up to three weeks.

Converting a TRO to a Permanent Restraining Order

In order to obtain protection for longer than the three weeks provided by a TRO, a person with a TRO will need to go back to court to extend the TRO to a Permanent Restraining Order, which is effective for up to five years. This will require presenting further evidence to a judge, and, unlike with a TRO, the defendant (the person against whom the order is to be issued) must be notified and allowed to attend the hearing. An attorney can represent you and/your child in requesting this restraining order.

Other Protective Orders Available to Children

Children who have been abused or are threatened by abuse may also be able to obtain the following types of protective orders:

  • Criminal Protective Order. Victims can obtain this restraining order through the District Attorney; it protects witnesses or victims of a crime. It usually lasts throughout court proceedings, but a judge could extend it up to 10 years. For this type of order, a person must prove the defendant threatened you or your family, actually harmed you, or tried to coerce you to prevent you from testifying.
  • Civil Harassment Restraining Order. Also called a CHO, this type of order extends beyond domestic situations. Anyone who feels threatened because of stalking, harassment, or violence may obtain a Civil Harassment Restraining Order.

Get Help Today From a Skilled Pasadena Child Custody Attorney

Have an experienced Pasadena child custody attorney on your side. Although not all domestic abuse situations are the same, support abounds to help victims who are afraid for themselves or their children. We can assist in this process. Call our experienced lawyers to explore your options, take back control and stop unwanted, dangerous behavior.

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