CA Family Law: How Permanent is a Restraining Order?

There are three different types of Restraining Orders in CA Family Law:

Restraining Order CA Family Law

1)   Criminal Protective Order:

This type is used in extreme cases. The restrained person must stay away from the defendant, and there must be no injury, threats or communication.  How permanent is it? The judge determines how long the Criminal Protective Order remains in effect, based on the criminal action.


2)    Domestic Violence Restraining Order:

This type can be used after even a single instance of abuse or threats by a spouse, ex-spouse, child’s parent, boy/girlfriend, grandparent, or anyone else domestically related to you.   (Abuse is defined in CA Family Law as any intentional or recklessly caused bodily harm, physical or sexual.  It can be verbal, written, or physical.)  How permanent is it?  In California, a Domestic Violence Restraining Order can remain in effect for up to five years.  It can be renewed for any length of time.


3)    Civil Restraining Order:

A Civil Harassment Restraining Order may be filed if neither party is related to the other.  To obtain this type, it must be shown, by clear and convincing evidence, with corroboration, that the offender has stalked, harassed, sexually assaulted, or threatened the defendant.  How permanent is a Civil Harassment Restraining Order?  In CA Family Law, it can be up to five years, or even life.


Given the serious possible consequences to the restrained person, the courts generally require some showing of recent substantial harassment or domestic violence.  The court’s can and do view a delay in seeking a restraining order as some evidence that the person asking for the restraining order was not really fearful or harmed.

On the other side, the restrained person’s failure to respond vigorously can be interpreted by the court as an admission of the allegations.

If you are looking for more information or advice regarding a Restraining Order, you should seek the help and support of a professional and compassionate family lawyer who is familiar with CA family law.

Call us at 916-966-1966 for an appointment