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Alameda County Family Justice Center

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  1. What if the domestic violence incident occurred in another county, but I have fled to Alameda County? It is not unusual for domestic violence survivors to flee from county to county and state to state for their personal safety. In some cases a survivor of domestic violence can file a domestic violence restraining order in the county they flee to. However, there are some serious issues to consider: 1) The abuser will likely discover what county you fled to because your restraining order paperwork indicates what county the court paperwork was filed in, and what county has jurisdiction over the case; 2) You may have jurisdictional problems and may not qualify for a restraining order in the county you fled to. In order for Alameda County Superior Court to hear your restraining order case, you must be a resident of the county, and the abuse needs to have occurred in this county. The legal questions are more complex if you have fled from one state to another. If you fled to Alameda County from another county or state it is IMPORTANT to consult with an attorney, the Alameda County Superior Court Self-Help Center, or a family law legal aid agency as soon as possible.
  2. What if I already have an ongoing family law case? Generally, it is not an issue if you already have an on-going family law case in the same county; you can still file a request for a domestic violence restraining order under that case number. However, this may be an issue if you have an open family law case outside of Alameda County; you may need to file a restraining order request in that same county. In this situation, it would be wise to seek legal advice/information before filing.
  3. What if the domestic violence incident I complain of is not recent? Domestic violence restraining orders are appropriate when the person (victim) is in immediate danger and the court should grant orders to protect further imminent harm. Generally, that means there has been recent violence (in the last 30 to 60 days). However, sometimes there are valid reasons why a survivor of violence doesn't come forward right away and seek a restraining order, and the court can take this into consideration. For example, if an abuser is arrested the survivor thinks she/he is safe and then, later, the abuser is released from jail or prison. At that point the person may realize she/he is in danger. In that situation it may be appropriate for the person (victim) to request a restraining order.
  4. What if my abuser has not hit me or threatened to hit me, but follows me and calls me numerous times a day? If the abuser has not physically harmed you or threatened to physically harm you, but continually calls, follows, harasses or monitors you, it is possible that the abuser is stalking you. Stalking is a pattern of unwelcome contact (phone calls, text messages, e-mails, following, showing up at your home or work) that causes a person to be concern for his or her safety. Usually, there are threats involved, too. In such a case, you may qualify for a domestic violence restraining order. However, it is often challenging to fully explain this type of case to the court and you may need legal assistance in doing so.
  5. Do I have to have a police report in order to get a domestic violence restraining order? You do not need a police report to obtain a domestic violence restraining order. A police report is very good evidence of a problem, but it is not absolutely necessary. However, you will need to present some evidence to the court that demonstrates you qualify for a restraining order. For example, you can use medical records from medical care for injuries you suffered, photographs of bruises or injuries or photographs of damaged property, unwelcome or threatening text messages, tape recordings of threatening or harassing voicemails, threatening and/or unwelcome e-mails and eye and ear witnesses who saw or heard the abuse. All these things are helpful evidence to prove to the court that you need the protection of a domestic violence restraining order.
  6. Is a criminal protective order ("CPO") the same thing as a domestic violence protective Order? No, a CPO is not the same thing as a civil domestic violence restraining order. A CPO is issued by a criminal court and a domestic violence restraining Order is issued from a civil court. There are other differences between the two orders, but some of the most important differences are the following: CPOs do not include custody and visitation orders and Domestic Violence Restraining Orders do; Domestic Violence Restraining Orders can be renewed, while a CPO cannot.
  7. Do I have to go to court in order to get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order? Yes, you have to go to court to file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order request, and you also have to attend a hearing, in person, where the other person will also be present, in order to obtain a permanent Domestic Violence Restraining Order.
  8. Who can get a domestic violence restraining order? You may qualify for a domestic violence restraining order if you are in imminent danger, being physically abused, or have been threatened with physical abuse or a threat to hurt you by a spouse, former spouse, current intimate partner and former intimate partner, someone with whom you have a child in common, second degree blood relation, and a co-habitant or former co-habitant (this includes roommates).
  9. Can our children be protected by a domestic violence restraining order? Yes, in most cases children in common can be protected on a domestic violence restraining, as well as children from a previous relationship, and other household members.

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  10. Where do I go to file for a domestic violence restraining order? In order to file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you must turn in your paperwork to an Alameda Superior Court.
  11. Who can I ask for additional help filling out forms? For starters, the Self-Help Center of the Alameda County Superior Court. Additionally, some legal aid agencies offer restraining order paperwork assistance.
  12. Is there someone who speaks my language who can help me with this process and fill out the forms? It is often challenging for a non-English speaking domestic violence survivor to find help. The Self- Help Center of the Alameda County Superior Court has Spanish speaking employees who can help. Another good place for non-English speaking survivors to start is the Alameda County Family Justice Center. The Justice Center, and the service providers co-located at the center can find the service that meet the survivor's needs.
  13. What if I have a previous history of abuse and filed for a restraining order before, but let it drop without pursuing it, and now, due to new violence, want to file again? Is it more difficult to get another restraining order later? It is not unusual for survivors of domestic violence to have filed a restraining order and then decide they do not want it. Just because you filed a restraining order in the past does not mean that you cannot file again as long as you meet the criteria for a restraining order.