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Domestic violence as defined by California law is physical or emotional abuse visited upon a person by a spouse, a significant other, a relative or someone in another close relationship. It can include anything from hitting, punching, pushing, and pulling to stalking, threatening and unwanted touching. Domestic violence exists among people of all races, cultures, classes, backgrounds, education levels and sexual preferences. It also happens in all age brackets and to both genders.
For strong legal protection against domestic violence, turn to The Law Offices of Damian Nolan. Our Long Beach domestic violence attorney provides courteous, caring and competent legal representation. You can trust us to do everything in our power to diligently defend you and your children.
Call emergency personnel immediately by dialing 911 if you or your children are in imminent danger. Explain to the police what happened, and the police officers can contact the court to get you an Emergency Protective Order that is effective immediately. This order will prevent your abuser from being within a certain distance of you and your children, and it will remain in effect for seven days or five court days.
To get a restraining order that will last longer, you must apply for a temporary restraining order (TRO). You will need to complete an application for a TRO at your local family law court. The order can be served on your abuser by the local police or sheriff’s office. Once the TRO is signed by a judge and served on your abuser, the TRO will be in effect.
When you file for a temporary restraining order, you will be given a court date for a hearing so that it may be changed to a permanent restraining order. The permanent restraining order is valid for up to three years and it can be renewed. These restraining orders force the abuser to stay 100 yards or more away from you and not contact you at all.
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Restraining orders also prevent abusers from coming in contact with your children. The order may also prevent abusers from going within a certain distance of your children’s school, your home, or any other place where your children might be in danger. The judge who signs a TRO for your children’s safety may also grant you temporary sole custody of the children and impose restrictions on visitation. If you are suing for custody, you and the other parent will be required to attend mediation. Domestic violence victims can attend the mandatory mediation sessions at different times from the abuser, and can bring a support person to the mediation meetings, but that person will not be allowed to participate in the mediation.
Restraining orders can also help you get child support for your child or children you have with your abuser. If the person being restrained has been legally recognized as the natural father, child support requests can be included with requests for restraining orders.
To do this, you would complete an Income & Expense Declaration form and submit it to the court with your TRO application. The judge will then consider the family circumstances in the case. You may also be able to get sole possession of your home at least temporarily, without regard to whose name the house is in or whose name is on the lease. You may also be entitled to private use of the family automobile and other property. The judge might also grant that debts and bills be paid while the TRO is in effect.
Restraining orders have been shown to statistically lower the chance of domestic violence, but restraining orders do not prevent such abuse from happening. Whether or not your abuser will adhere to the rules of the order is an unknown factor; some do, some don’t. Some studies have shown that there is a higher risk of bodily harm or death after a person has received a restraining order. Moving to a location unknown to your abuser may help alleviate the imminent danger to you and your family.
Victims of domestic violence who elect to stay with their abusers have a statistically higher chance of the abuse escalating even to the point of dying from the abuse. Though a restraining order can help protect you, if your abuser chooses to ignore it, it only takes a moment to do irrevocable damage.
Civil courts generally provide resources to victims of domestic violence, including help filling out the appropriate forms in your case. Most resources such as these are available free of charge, and your local civil court will be able to provide you with more information on how to access programs that may be of help to you, free of charge.
Getting a restraining order costs nothing, and there are no fees for filing for restraining orders for domestic violence. Service of the restraining order can also be free, as the local police will serve the other party for you at no cost to you, though you may be required to provide proof of financial need for service of the TRO to be free.
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The Law Offices of Damian Nolan is located on the border of Lakewood and Long Beach. We service clients throughout the Los Angeles County. Our goal is to provide honest, courteous and diligent representation while striving to keep your legal costs down and making the legal process as easy as possible on you.