The process of obtaining a domestic violence restraining order can be daunting. You must build compelling arguments to convince a judge that protection is necessary. To support your claims, you must compile evidence and present it logically. Preparation is key in these cases. If you need help getting ready for your hearing, you can reach out to a family law attorney for assistance.
To learn how our Los Angeles team may be able to help with your case, contact Claery & Hammond, LLP at (310) 817-6904 today.
Understanding the Purpose of a Restraining Order
Restraining orders are a legal way to protect yourself from domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs when someone in your family or household, such as a partner or spouse, harms or threatens to harm you.
If a restraining order is in place, your abuser may be subject to restrictions that are imposed to keep you safe, such as:
- Not committing additional acts of harm against you
- Not contacting you
- Not owning or possessing a firearm
Exploring the Legal Process for Getting a Restraining Order
The first step in pursuing a restraining order involves completing court forms. In these documents, you would outline the instances of abuse, including what they entailed and when they occurred. You may also state the orders you are seeking from the court.
You must make two or three copies of the form and turn them in to the court. A judge will review your request and determine the next steps. If the judge makes their decision the same day, you’ll get your documents back then. If they need a couple of days to review your case, the court clerk will notify you when to pick up the forms.
Once your documents are returned, you must have a copy served on your abuser. Service must be done by someone other than yourself who is 18 years of age or older and not involved in the case. This step ensures that your abuser knows that you have taken legal action against them and that a date has been set for a hearing.
On the day of your hearing, you and your abuser can present arguments about why the restraining order should (or should not) be issued.
Collecting and Presenting Evidence in Favor of a Restraining Order
Gathering evidence is an important part of your case if you want to make compelling arguments to the judge. In many cases, witness and/or victim testimony serves as the primary piece of evidence. Their statements can describe firsthand experiences of abuse and can establish a potentially threatening pattern of behavior.
Still, the judge’s decision may be based on more than just testimony, as the parties may make conflicting statements. For the judge to ascertain the truth, they may rely on additional pieces of evidence.
When making your claims of domestic violence, you can present to the court any evidence relevant to the case.
This can include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Torn clothing
- Broken property
- Photographs of injuries
- Letters or emails
- Expert testimony
By assembling various pieces of evidence, you could increase your chance of receiving a favorable outcome.
Preparing and Presenting Your Arguments
Before appearing in court for your restraining order hearing, make sure you have a plan of what you want to say. Write down notes that will help explain your point and ensure that you let the judge know everything you want them to consider.
When preparing your arguments, focus on the facts that best support your side of the story. You may also want to thoroughly review any documents you received from the other party and be ready to counter the claims they made.
Lastly, be sure to come to court with any supplies and documents you’ll need. This can include pens and paper and the forms you submitted, as well as those your abuser filed.
Having an effective argument ready for a restraining order hearing can be extremely helpful in seeking the desired outcome. The judge will have all of the necessary information they need to consider every angle before making a decision.
Turn to an Attorney for Help
Before attending a domestic violence restraining order hearing, it is important to be prepared, know your legal rights, and understand what to expect. An experienced attorney can provide advice and guidance on how to handle your case and can assist in gathering and presenting evidence to support your claims. With legal counsel on your side, you can feel more confident going into your hearing, as you’ll have full knowledge of your available options.If you need help seeking a restraining order, schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles lawyers by calling Claery & Hammond, LLP (310) 817-6904 or submitting an online contact form today.