Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of Restraining Order do I fill out?

If you need protection from a family member (for example, parent, spouse, child, sibling, or current in-law), or a dating partner (for example, current or former girl/boyfriend), you may file a Domestic Violence Restraining Order or Elder Abuse Restraining Order. If you need protection from someone else (for example, tenant, former in-law, friend, cousin, neighbor), you may file a Civil Harassment Restraining Order. If you need protection from a roommate, and you are not sure which type to file, you should consult an attorney.

What does it cost? Where do I get a fee waiver?

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order or Elder Abuse Restraining Order may be filed without charge (you do not need a fee waiver application). A Civil Harassment Restraining Order has a $435.00 filing fee. You may complete a Fee Waiver application and submit it with the Civil Harassment Restraining Order. If you qualify for a waiver, you will not be required to pay the filing fee.

Where do I file? How do I get a case number?

Once you have completed the required forms, get a service ticket before going to Room 100. Wait with your service ticket in Room 100, Family Law Filing, or the Public Lounge. You cannot file any restraining orders in the Drop Box. Once your paperwork is accepted at the window, the Filing Clerk will issue you a case number. If you already have a Family Law case involving the same person you are seeking to restrain (for divorce, legal separation, annulment, or custody), you may be instructed to use that case number on your Restraining Order.

What are the filing deadlines?

If you are attempting to file a restraining order and receive an answer from the judge on the same day, you MUST have your forms accepted by the Filing Clerk no later than 2:00 p.m. The filing process can be lengthy and there may be a lot of people ahead of you. Come early for filing and prepare for a long wait.

Can I use the Drop Box?

No. All Restraining Orders must be filed in person, in Room 100. All Answers to Restraining Orders and Proof of Service forms must also be filed in person, in Room 100. In order to file, you must first get a service ticket.

Can I file for my child?

Yes. If the child is over 12 years old, the child can file the paperwork his or herself or through a Guardian Ad Litem and the child must appear at all court proceedings in person or through the Guardian Ad Litem. A parent cannot sign the application on behalf of the child unless he or she is listed as the Guardian Ad Litem or a protected party. If the child is under 12 years old, there must be a Guardian Ad Litem. An application to be appointed a minor's Guardian Ad Litem will need to be completed, and the restraining order application must state which adult is acting as the Guardian Ad Litem. You may obtain an Application and Order for Appointment of Guardian Ad Litem of a Minor (FL-395) online, or by getting a service ticket for the Forms Window in Room 100.

I only want a temporary order. Can I just fill out that paperwork?

No. Requesting a Restraining Order is a multi-step process. You cannot just request a temporary order. If your situation is serious enough to warrant a restraining order from the court, you are required to also request a Permanent Restraining Order. If you only fill out the temporary restraining order, your paperwork will not be accepted for filing.

Do I have to pick up the forms or can someone else do it? Will I have to be the one to turn in the forms or can someone else do it?

Anyone can pick up Restraining Order forms from the form racks in Room 100 or download the forms, and anyone can file forms in Room 100 with a service ticket. If you need assistance with completing the Domestic Violence Restraining Order forms, you must attend the free workshop yourself, or consult a private attorney. The court does not provide workshop or other assistance for Civil Harassment, Elder Abuse or other types of restraining orders. A relative or friend may file your restraining order for you; however, if there are errors or omissions, you are the only person who is permitted to make changes to the forms.

Will I have to get a new service ticket if my paperwork is incomplete when I get to the counter?

Yes. You are not allowed to stand at the filing window to complete any of your paperwork. You must be ready to file when you request a service ticket, and ready to file when you are called to a window.

How long does it take to get a hearing?

If the judge grants a hearing date to discuss the need for a Permanent Restraining Order, it will be scheduled 21 to 25 days from the date you filed your paperwork. Look carefully at your paperwork to see if and when a hearing was scheduled. At the hearing, only you or an attorney may speak on your behalf; however, a support person may sit with you at the hearing, but may not speak for you.

Service of the Temporary Restraining Order and Hearing Date?

Service is the act of person-to-person delivery of the restraining order. You must have someone other than yourself, who is at least 18 years old, deliver the restraining order. You may request that the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department perform service for you, at no cost, only if the Defendant is within Sacramento County. The Sheriff's Civil Division is located on the third floor of the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse in Room 313. Be sure to arrange for service to occur at least five (5) days prior to the hearing. If you cannot serve by then, still attend the hearing and request more time to serve or file a form to reset the hearing date.

Is my order effective today?

Your restraining order is ONLY effective once it has been served on the defendant. You must have your server fill out the Proof of Service form and return it to you immediately after the delivery is made. File the Proof of Service with the court. Once the Proof of Service is processed by the Court, the restraining order information is entered into the Law Enforcement computer system and is then accessible state-wide.

What do I do if I can't get my order today?

If you missed the 2:00 p.m. filing time, and are concerned about your immediate safety, please refer to the Domestic Violence resource sheet which is also attached to the back of the Domestic Violence Restraining Order form packet. The resource sheet lists resources of assistance available in the community.

Do I really have to fill out all these forms? It looks like these forms don't apply to me.

The forms packet contains all the necessary forms for your case. Follow the instructions on how to complete the forms. If you need assistance with a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, you may attend a free workshop at the William R. Ridgeway Family Relations Courthouse, in the Self-Help Center Computer Room, Room 113A, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check-in for the workshop is at 8:45 a.m. No appointment is necessary. If your forms are not complete, they will not be accepted for filing.

What if I don't want what the forms are asking for?

You may select those orders you are requesting. If you do not wish to ask for certain orders, you may choose to leave those sections blank. When you submit your paperwork in Room 100, the filing clerk will review your forms for completeness. If you have left a required section blank, the clerk will not file your forms until that section has been completed.

Do I have to make copies?

If you are filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order, you do not need to make copies before filing. Once the judge makes a decision to award a Temporary Restraining Order, the court will provide copies to you.

If you are filing a Civil Harassment Restraining Order, you do not need to make copies of the Civil Harassment Restraining Order packet before filing; however, if you are submitting a Fee Waiver application, you will need to make a copy of the fee waiver application.

Can I file against more than one person on the same packet?

No. You must use one packet per person against whom you are requesting a restraining order.

Can I add my family/kids/people I live with on the restraining order?

Yes. It will be up to a Judge whether family members or friends who do not live at your address may be included in the "umbrella" of protection provided in a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.

How do I file against my roommate?

If you need protection from a roommate, and you are not sure which type of restraining order to file, you should consult with an attorney.

Can I get a "kick-out" order?

You can request a "kick-out" order under the section called the "move-out" request in the Domestic Violence Restraining Order. A move-out order requires the person you live with and who is abusing you to move out of the house. If the Judge approves a move-out order in the Temporary Domestic Violence Restraining Order, the other person will need to leave temporarily, taking only what personal belongings he/she needs until the hearing date. At the hearing date the Judge will decide if the move-out order should be permanent and how to accomplish that move. Sometimes you can contact local law enforcement for a Civil Stand-by and a Judge can make this an order of the court.

Can I add documentation/police reports/pictures?

You can attach additional documentation such as photographs of injuries or personal property damage, police reports or criminal restraining orders, etc., to your Restraining Order at the time of filing.

My forms keep getting rejected at the window. Is there any place I can go to for help?

The court offers free Domestic Violence Restraining Order workshops on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check-in for the workshop is at 8:45 a.m. in Room 113A (Self-Help Center Computer Room). No appointment is necessary. The workshop instructor offers direction while you complete the forms in class. If you can complete all your forms in class, the instructor will issue you a service ticket for filing. If you need more time to finish your forms, you may get a service ticket at the Information Booth when you are ready to file. The workshop helps with Domestic Violence Restraining Orders only.

Can I request custody/support in the Restraining Order?

If you and the other party have minor children together and you need custody and/or support orders and a restraining order, you can complete the form packet, "Domestic Violence Restraining Order: For Parties with Children in Common."

Custody and Visitation: This packet includes forms to request custody orders along with the Restraining Order. You may complete the forms for Custody, Visitation, No Travel orders, and Supervised Visitation in this packet.

Child and/or Spousal Support: If you wish to get a support order in addition to and at the same time as a restraining order, you must also complete the Child Support form FL-342 and/or the Spousal Support form FL-343 in the restraining order packet and an Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150),and turn both form packets in together in Room 100. If you are having difficulty completing the Income and Expense Declaration on your own, the Self-Help Center offers a free workshop on Thursday mornings at 8:30 a.m. sharp. You can attend the first-come/first-served walk-in workshop on either day as long as you arrive outside the Self-Help Center lobby (Room 113) by 8:30 a.m. and check-in at Window 2 with your case number and photo identification. If you do not have a case number, tell the paralegal that you are requesting support as part of the Domestic Violence Restraining Order. Once you complete the Income and Expense Declaration, you may get a service ticket at the Information Booth to file the Restraining Order packet and the Income and Expense Declaration in Room 100.