What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A domestic violence restraining order is an order that helps protect you from someone with whom you have a close relationship and who is abusive. It may contain orders telling that person what they cannot do to you. It may also have orders that tell that person to stay a certain distance away from you.

Who can I file a Domestic Violence Restraining Order against?

You may request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, against your spouse or former spouse; person you are dating, or person you have dated; lover; mother or father of your child; anyone closely related to you by blood, marriage or adoption (example: mother, father, child, brother, sister, grandparent); or person who regularly lives in your home.

If we have children can the restraining order include custody orders?

If you and the other party have children together the court may make a Parenting Plan part of its orders.

Assistance completing Domestic Violence Restraining Order Forms

The Self Help Center offers a Zoom workshop to help people without an attorney with the process to apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. If you need an interpreter, you may use a family member or friend. No appointment is necessary.

The workshop is held on Mondays and Wednesdays, excluding court holidays, with check in at 8:45 a.m. The workshop is informational and does not go into details about completing the forms. Click HERE to join the workshop at the scheduled time. - external link

The workshop is presented in person on Fridays at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse, 3341 Power Inn Road, Room 114, Sacramento 95826. This workshop goes over the restraining order process as well as completion on the forms, which may be filed following the workshop. Check in begins at 8:45 and space is limited so please arrive promptly. No appointment is required for this workshop.

The workshops are all offered in English. We also offer the following videos with the same workshop material in Spanish or American Sign Language:

Where do I file my forms?

Present completed domestic violence forms to the Family Law Filing Department of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse.

What if I need an interpreter?

If you will need an interpreter at your restraining order hearing, indicate on your paperwork when you file your restraining order forms so that one can be arranged for you.

When will I get my order?

If your forms are filed before 2:00 p.m. you will receive your order the same day. If the forms are filed after 2:00 p.m., then they will be ready for pickup the next business day. In most cases, a hearing will be set for you and the other party. It is your responsibility to have other person personally served. Proof of service for the other person must be presented and filed with court prior to or at the time of the Domestic Violence Restraining Order hearing.

How do I get the other party served?

Anyone over the age of 18 who is not a protected party on your restraining order can serve the documents for you. This can be a friend or family member or you can pay a process server. If you do not have a friend or family member who can serve the restrained party and you cannot afford to pay a process server, if the restrained party lives or works in Sacramento county, the Sheriff's Civil Bureau - external link can serve the documents for you. If the person to be served lives and works outside of Sacramento County, you may contact the Sheriff of that county for help. Be sure to contact them promptly so they will have enough time to serve the respondent before the scheduled hearing date.

What if I can't get the restraining order served in time for the hearing or I need a continuance?

You can continue the hearing. There are two ways to continue your court date on your domestic violence case. If you have been unable to serve the defendant, you will need to complete a Request for Continuance Packet. The forms must be completed and filed along with a copy of your original Notice of Court Hearing, prior to 2:00 p.m. on the day before your scheduled hearing.

You may also orally request a continuance in court during your hearing. If your request for continuance is granted, the Judge will sign an order and set a new hearing date.

Both methods extend your Temporary Restraining Order so you will be protected until the new hearing date.

What if I already have a Domestic Violence Restraining Order from another Court?

If you have a Domestic Violence Restraining Order from another Superior Court in California, it is enforceable anywhere in the State of California. If your restraining order is from another State or a Tribal Court, then you will need to register it in California to ensure that it will be enforced here. If you wish to register your order in Sacramento County, please use the packet below:

Domestic Violence Resources

The Domestic Violence Resources sheet contains information regarding various Sacramento private and governmental agencies or organizations offering assistance to those in violent situations. This information is not just limited to domestic violence restraining orders, but also has information on Crisis Hotlines/Shelters, Children's Emergency Service, Reporting Abuse, Other Legal Services, Batterer's Treatment Programs and Victim Counseling.

The National Network to End Domestic Violence - external link is a non-governmental agency that has information on domestic violence legislation and policy. You will also find other links and programs that are funded by this organization. This court has no affiliation with this agency.

The California Judicial Council offers Free and Low-Cost Legal Help - external link (Spanish/Español) - external link to help you find people and information that can help you with your case. There is information on Libraries, Lawyers, Self-Help Legal Books, Legal Help Questions and Answers, and Legal Help in Other States.

The California Judicial Council gives answers to many domestic violence questions - external link like:

  • Where can I get help making a safety plan?
  • Can I use a restraining order to get a divorce?
  • Where can I find out about my rights in the criminal justice system?
  • What if I move to another state?