If you have been the victim of domestic violence or abuse, you can file Judicial Council forms with the court and obtain a variety of restraining orders for your protection and for the protection of your children. You can obtain these orders under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act, which we will refer to as the DVPA. You can obtain temporary restraining orders immediately, sometimes on the same day you file the forms with the court. You can oftentimes obtain immediate temporary restraining orders, without any court hearing, just on the basis of the information you put in your court forms. About three weeks later, there will be a hearing. You do not have to file for a divorce to apply for restraining orders. You do not even have to be married to the person against whom you want the restraining orders to apply.
It does not cost money to apply for orders under the DVPA. There is no court filing fee.
Filing domestic violence papers under the DVPA is not related to the process of getting divorced, even though you can get child custody orders and support orders under the DVPA. If you want to get divorced, you will need to file a divorce petition (FL-100) and other court forms in a separate court proceeding. If you also want to file for divorce, start by reading the “Initial Considerations” section of this website and then the “Initial Filings” section.
You do not need to be a U.S. citizen in to apply for domestic violence restraining orders.