J.D. Harvard Law School ‘73
M.A. Columbia University
B.A. Yale University
Mediator, Judge Pro-Tem
Certified Family Law Specialist
licensed by the State Bar of California
Stan is a member of the
San Diego North County Bar Association.
Licensed to practice in California, Maryland, Washington D.C., & Georgia
As its title indicates, the Act applies to married people and family members living together, people who have had children together, and to people who were or are dating each other. The definition of abuse in the Act covers a lot of ground: molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, harassing, telephoning, destroying personal property, contacting (either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise), coming within a certain distance of, or distrurbing the peace of the other party.
An injunction is a court order prohibiting a person from doing something. Injunctions can't be obtained without giving the person (the respondent) notice that the somebody (the petitioner) is asking for one, and having a hearing where both the petitioner and the respondent can present evidence and arguments to a judge. A temporary restraining order (a TRO) is the name for a short term injunction issued to the petitioner without notice to the respondent. It lasts until there is a noticed hearing. if the respondent wins, it turns into an injunction.
The guts of TRO's and injunctions issued under the Act are called no contact and stay away orders against the respondent: don't talk to, don't call, don't email, and don't mail the petitioner (either yourself or somebody doing it for you); and don't come near (typically 100 yards) the petitoner or the petitioner's home, workplace, or vehicle. The orders may apply to children as well as the petitioner, and include staying away from their schools. When children are involved, the court may also make child custody and child support orders. If the respondent has firearms, they must be turned over to the Sheriff. TRO's typically last 15 days, injunctions 3 years.
In keeping with the Act's objective, the legislature included a provision requiring the judges to create mandatory forms for the victim's petition, the perpetrator's response, the TRO's, and the injunctions, as well as do-it- yourself instructions for filling them out and what to do with them. There is no filing fee for either the petiton or the response. Attorneys are optional, but improve the odds for a party who hires one. What the petitioner has to prove to obtain a TRO and injunction under the Act is a long story which we'll take up in another article.