Restraining Orders: What Do They Do and What Do You Need To Know?

Apr 28, 2023 | Knowledge

A restraining order is a court order that protects the requesting party from abuse, threats, stalking, and harassment. The person seeking the restraining order is the “protected party” and the person the restraining order is against is the “restrained party.”

In California, there are five types of restraining orders each of which has a different intended purpose and different qualifications. The process begins with the protected party requesting a restraining order from the Court.

What is the process for obtaining a restraining order? 

After filing documents requesting the restraining order, a judge will review and grant or deny the request for a temporary restraining order. The temporary restraining order will provide a hearing date where the court will review whether the temporary restraining order should become permanent. Both parties will have notice to appear and the opportunity to present evidence such as witnesses, photographs, or videos.

What are the types of restraining orders?

California has domestic violence, elder/dependent adult abuse, civil, and workplace violence restraining orders. Each type of restraining order has a different purpose and requires a different application. Each case requires a case-by-case determination of what type of restraining order the protected party qualifies for.

To qualify for a domestic violence restraining order the “protected party” and the “restrained party” must have a close relationship.  A close relationship includes marriage, divorce, separation, dating or used to date, living together, used to live together as a couple, or familial relationship (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-laws).

To qualify for an elder/dependent adult abuse restraining order the “protected party” must be 65 years old or a dependent adult that has certain mental or physical disabilities.

Workplace restraining orders are requested by an employer to prohibit unlawful violence or credible threats of violence against an employee.

Finally, Civil Harassment restraining orders do not require any specific relationship but do require a showing of harassment, stalking, threats, or certain other harmful activities.

What Can a Restraining Order Do?

A restraining order ensures the protected person is not contacted, attacked, stalked, threatened, etc. A restraining order can also order the restrained party to stay away from the protected party, their home, their work, their vehicle, etc.   Finally, certain restraining orders can order the restrained party to move out from where the protected person lives.

Why Do I Need a Lawyer For A Restraining Order?

The most important reason to have an attorney when applying for or fighting a restraining order is the serious consequences restraining orders can have. For the restrained party, the orders can have daily consequences. Restraining orders impact the restrained party’s ability to go certain places, do certain things, complete child visitation, access firearms, and even affect their immigration status. An attorney assures that parties are well represented and that they understand the impact these hearings will have. Restrained Parties that are facing criminal charges as well should consult an attorney about their restraining order appearance as a voluntary appearance at a restraining order hearing can waive a criminal defendant’s right against self-incrimination.


  • Montana Massone

    Montana Massone of Castillo Harper, APC, is a PORAC Legal Defense Fund (LDF) panel attorney and California Correctional Supervisors’ Organization (CCSO) panel attorney.