Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Prepare Your Documents
In partnership with the Judicial Council of California and LawHelp Interactive, we are pleased to provide self-represented litigants a program that will help you fill out the forms necessary to get a domestic violence restraining order. This program will help you fill out the forms necessary by asking you a series of questions in an interview format. It does not file your forms for you. Once complete, you must save the forms that are generated. You may submit them electronically to the court via e-mail at email@example.com. You can also print them out, take them to the courthouse, and file with the clerk.
Depending upon your situation, it may take you from 15 minutes to 2 hours to answer all the questions. If you have children and are asking for child or spousal support and want to fill out the Income & Expense Declaration online, the process will take you in the range of 2 hours. If you create an account, you can save your progress and come back to it at any time. We strongly recommend that you create an account before you begin but an account is NOT REQUIRED to use the program.
Please note that the system will time you out at 2 hours, possibly without a warning. If you have created an account, your answers will be saved. However, if you did not create an account, then you will have to re-do your work.
Once you have prepared all the necessary documents and have them saved to your device, you can submit them to the court for processing. You may submit them electronically to the court via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also print them out, take them to the courthouse, and file with the clerk. There are no fees for filing these documents.
After you file your forms with the court, a judge will review your court papers to decide whether to grant temporary protection, if you asked for it. After the judge decides, you'll need to pick up the papers from the court. After you get your papers back, be sure to look at them to see what the judge ordered.
You must have someone give a copy of your court papers to the other person you want a restraining order against (the other side in your case). This is called serving court papers. The Sheriff's Office will serve your court papers for free. Contact the Sheriff's Office at (530) 458-0227 for additional information. If you don't want the sheriff to serve your court papers, you can hire a process server or ask someone you know to be your server. If you want someone you know to serve your papers, they must be:
- 18 or over, and
- not part of your case
You can't serve your papers yourself. Think about safety when choosing your server.
Find additional information on serving the other side, going to court, finishing your case, and more on the California Courts' Self-Help Guide. See the Restraining Order Process for Domestic Violence Cases page.