“What Facts Do I Need To Prove Before I Can Get A Restraining Order?”

The California Family Code lays out the grounds needed for a restraining order fairly specifically. (Civil, non-domestic violence restraining orders are not discussed here and are governed by the Civil Code.) The basis for restraining orders is actually quite broad, and only needs to be proven by “reasonable proof” of past or current abusive actions.

Sufficient grounds include:

1. Sexual assault.

2. Causing bodily injury, either intentionally or recklessly.

3. Placing a person in “reasonable apprehension” of imminent bodily harm (i.e, threats or threatening actions).

4. Any actions which are described in Family Law Code Section 6320, which reads as follows: “The court may issue an ex parte order enjoining a party from molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, credibly impersonating as described in Section 528.5 of the Penal Code, falsely personating as described in Section 529 of the Penal Code, harassing, telephoning, including, but not limited to, making annoying telephone calls as described in Section 653m of the Penal Code, destroying personal property, contacting, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise, coming within a specified distance of, or disturbing the peace of the other party…”

As you can see, the judge has very broad discretion to consider all the circumstances. In essence, if you or the other party has been engaging in any inappropriate behavior that makes the judge believe that one party is threatened or harassed, the judge can issue a restraining order.

One item that tends to make decisions very easy for the judge is if there is written proof of harassment. If you have received texts, e-mails, or social media posts that are threatening, you need to preserve them immediately by saving them, screen-shooting them, or by printing them out. Electronic evidence can be very powerful, but it also has a habit of disappearing as people think better of their communications afterward.

DISCLAIMER: All legal principles quoted are valid as of the date of writing in the State of California. However, you should NEVER base your actions on a legal article, blog, or internet story, as facts in real life are complicated. You should have your case evaluated by an attorney experienced in the area of law needed for your case. In addition, there are often exceptions and potential changes to results that occur due to facts that you may think are trivial or unimportant. This article should not be taken in any way as legal advice on your specific legal matter.

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