Legal Advocacy

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Restraining Order Process | Frequently Asked Questions | Types of Orders | Helpful Hints

Restraining Order Process


  1. Temporary restraining/custody order gets filed at the Superior Court of Tulare County in Visalia.
  2. The signed restraining order gets picked up from the Superior Court. This may take up to 3-5 days.
  3. A copy of the restraining order is taken to the Sheriff’s Department to have the defendant served.
  4. When the defendant has been served, copies of the restraining order should be taken to the Police Department and Sheriff’s Department (Records Division in Visalia, Sheriff's Administration Building) for them to keep on file.
  5. Attend the hearing. The Legal Advocate can accompany client to provide moral support.
  6. A Findings and Order After Hearing will be prepared by the legal advocate.
  7. The Findings and Order After Hearing will be filed with the Superior Court right after the hearing for the judge to be signed the same day.
  8. Copies of the Findings and Order After Hearing should be taken to the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction.
  9. Keep a copy of the restraining order on you at all times. Copies given to children's schools, daycare, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q: How long do restraining orders last?
A: A restraining order can last for up to three years. Expiration on child custody when children turn 18 years.

Q: Do I have to go to the hearing?
A: Yes. If you do not attend the hearing your temporary orders will expire.

Q: Can I have someone with me at the court hearing?
A: Yes. If you don’t have a lawyer, you can bring a support person who can be with you in court and sit next to you during the hearing. However, children under the age of 18 are not allowed in the courtroom.

Q: What if I move?
A: Your restraining order can be enforced in any state, territory, or Indian Reservation through the court of that state. You must be registered in the state where you reside. If you move out of California, contact law enforcement so they know to enforce your orders.

Q: Who serves the person to be restrained?
A: Anyone over the age of 18, a process server, or the Sheriff's Department, who is not a party to the action, can serve the paperwork. However, the legal advocate cannot serve the defendant.

Q: Will I have to see the person I am restraining at the hearing?
A: If the person you are restraining attends the hearing and files the appropriate paperwork he/she has the right to be in court and address the judge. However, that person does not have the right to talk to you.

What Types Of Orders Can I Get?


Personal Conduct Orders

These are orders to stop specific acts against you and anyone else included in the restraining order. This order can stop the restrained person from doing the following things to you.

  • Contacting
  • Sending messages
  • Molesting
  • Attacking
  • Striking, stalking, threatening
  • Harassing
  • Telephoning

Stay-Away Orders

Orders to keep the person you want to restrain away from:

  • You
  • Where you live
  • Your place of work
  • Your child’s school or place of child care
  • Your vehicle
  • Other important places you go

Residence Exclusion (Kick-Out) Orders

Orders the defendant to move out immediately from your residence, and take only personal belongings until the court hearing.

Other Important Orders

Other orders for your safety and the safety of the people in your household can include:

  • Custody and visitation orders
  • Child support orders
  • Possession of household items and furnishings that you may have shared with the restrained person
  • Orders stating who is responsible for payment of specific bills that come due
  • Orders requiring the surrender of firearms
  • Other orders specific to your case
  • Vehicles surrendered back if client is license/insured driver

The program is designed only for people who:
Have an intimate or dating relationship with the abuser
Have suffered recent physical abuse or a threat of abuse
Are currently residing in Tulare County
But Also may include those who;
Are seeking orders against someone residing within California or other states. Might be a fee to have Proof of Service by that state's Sheriff's Department.
Have children in common

Helpful Hints


Be prepared to present your case. Bring any documentation to court that would help your case. The judge may ask you questions; answer truthfully and slowly. You have the right to address any issues regarding your case. Report any violation of the orders as soon as possible to your local law enforcement agency. If you are unable to have the restrained person served before the court date, attend the hearing and ask for a reissuance. You will have to fill out the form called Application and Order for Reissuance of Order to Show Cause (DV-120). The judge makes the decision. The legal advocate is not responsible for the judges’ decision, and should not be held accountable. Keep in mind that the temporary restraining order is not always granted.