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  • Writer's pictureBroaden Law LLP

ABC's of California Restraining Orders

A restraining order is a Court Order that is meant to put a stop to another person's bad behavior by placing limitations on what they can say, where they can live, where they can go, and whether they can posses a weapon.

Temporary vs. Permanent Restraining Orders

A temporary restraining order lasts for a few weeks or until the court can set a hearing to decide if a long-term restraining order can be granted. Unless the other party agrees to the restraining orders, the Court must hold an evidentiary hearing to decide if the restraining orders should continue on a long-term basis (usually 1-5 years).

Types of Restraining Orders You Can Request in California

In California, there are various types of restraining orders. There are specific Court forms that must be filed for each type of restraining order. The California Judicial Branch has a website with a Self-Help Guide to the California Courts where you can find these forms.

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders ("DVRO") are useful where the person causing harm is living with the person asking for the DVRO, or is a former partner or friend with access to or private knowledge about the person asking for the DVRO.

Elder and Dependent Adult Restraining Orders

A person who is 65 or older qualifies as an "elder" and can apply for an Elder Abuse Restraining Order ("EARO"). The same court forms are used for 18-64 year-olds with physical or mental limitations that restrict his or her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his or her rights, including, but not limited to, persons who have physical or developmental disabilities, or whose physical or mental abilities have diminished because of age.

An EARO can restrain various types of bad behavior, such as physical abuse, neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction, or other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering, deprivation by a care custodian of goods or services that are necessary to avoid physical harm or mental suffering, and even financial abuse.

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders ("CHRO") offer protection against people who aren't closely related to you.

Gun Violence Restraining Orders

Gun Violence Restraining Orders are used by law enforcement to protect gun owners from harming themselves or others.

Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

Employers can seek a Workplace Violence Restraining Order to protect an employee at the workplace. The person restrained doesn't have to be another employee.

School Violence Restraining Orders

Private college representatives can seek a School Violence Restraining Order to protect one of their students.

Evidence Required to Obtain a Restraining Order


To obtain a CHRO, a person must prove by clear and convincing evidence that harassment occurred and that there is a threat of future harm.

By contrast, the Court is allowed to grant an EARO or DVRO even if the applicant only shows that it is more likely than not that the abuse or harassment occurred.

The Court can restrain strictly financial abuse with an EARO. An EARO is an important pathway to protect seniors who are at significantly higher risk of financial abuse. A DVRO can be granted due to financial abuse if a pattern of coercive control abuse is shown.

AB 1243- Anti-Isolation Elder Abuse Restraining Orders

Assembly Bill (AB) 1243, which went into effect as of January 1, 2023, expands the protections of Elder Abuse Restraining Orders and offers new areas of protection under the Elder Abuse Act.


This new anti-isolation law allows family members or friends who would normally not have standing to petition for a restraining order on another person's behalf. The applicant needs to convince the Court that it is more likely than not that another person repeatedly prevented contact between the vulnerable person and the applicant, that the vulnerable person wants to spend time with the applicant, and that the applicant hasn't abused or threatened to abuse the vulnerable person.


It is worth noting that an individual cannot pursue an anti-isolation elder abuse restraining order if the elder or dependent adult resides in a long-term facility, residential facility or if they are a patient of a health care facility. However, if your situation involves one of these three scenarios do not hesitate to contact our office to assess whether you would be precluded from filing this type of Elder Abuse Restraining order.


Restraining Orders and Divorce Proceedings

If you are going through a divorce with your spouse and you are 65 or older, it might make more sense to file for a DVRO rather than EARO since DVROs are considered family law matters and the case can be consolidated with your already pending dissolution case.

Consolidating the cases means that you will likely have the same family law judge throughout your dissolution case and your DVRO hearing.


Protect Yourself and Protect your Loved Ones from Abuse


If you need help or an elderly loved one needs help, call Broaden Law LLP. Our attorneys can consult with you on filing the restraining order that makes sense for your situation.

If you have an elderly loved one that shows signs of abuse and neglect such as malnutrition, visible physical injuries, fearfulness, depression or suspect a caregiver is abusing them, take immediate action and file an Elder Abuse Restraining Order.




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