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Domestic Violence & Restraining Orders



Types of Restraining Orders

  • Domestic Violence
  • Civil Harassment
  • Elder or Dependent Abuse
  • Workplace Violence
  • Gun Violence

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE may occur in many forms between two people in an intimate relationship. Physical violence includes kicking, punching, shoving, slapping or any action that hurts your body. Sexual violence includes unwelcome touching, fondling or forced intimacy. Emotional violence includes using coercion, threats or anger to create a controlling and fearful relationship.

IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911. During hours that the court is closed, a law enforcement officer can obtain an Emergency Protective Order which lasts from 5 to 7 days. If you are not in immediate danger but need protection from harm or harassment, you may apply for a temporary restraining order. If the person from whom you are seeking protection is undocumented, you may want to discuss this issue with one of the agencies provided.

If you need counseling, emergency shelter, help with requesting your restraining order, or someone to accompany you to court, you may contact one of the agencies provided on this page for assistance.

To determine whether you may be at risk for a potentially dangerous domestic violence incident, use a LETHALITY RISK SELF ASSESSMENT AND SAFETY PLANNING GUIDE.(You may need this free reader Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print the guide.)

There is NO FILING FEE to apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. You may apply for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order if you have been the victim of any of the following:

  • Actual physical violence
  • Stalking
  • Sexual abuse
  • A serious threat of physical violence
  • Harassing and annoying phone calls
  • Destruction of personal property


You have, or have had, a close personal relationship with the party you are asking to have restrained. Under the law, a relationship is defined as "close" if at least one of the following is true:

  • You are married or were formerly married to the other party.
  • You have or formerly had an engagement or dating relationship with the other party.
  • You and the other party have a child or children together.
  • You are related to the other party by blood, marriage or adoption.
  • You and the other party are living together, or formerly lived together, as members of a "household."


You may apply to the court for an order restraining a person from all contact with you, your children, and other family members; from living in the residence; and to stay away from you, your home, your vehicle, your place of employment, and the children's school and/or place of child care.


For additional information about domestic violence orders, please click here.

For help filling out the forms, please contact:

  • Legal Self Help Center, Civic Center, Hall of Justice, Room C-44, San Rafael, (415) 444-7130
  • Family & Children's Law Center, 1401 Los Gamos Drive, Suite 200, San Rafael, (415) 492-9230

To apply for a temporary restraining order, please complete the forms available from the links above and submit them to the clerk's office in room 113 before 10:30 a.m., Monday through Friday. The clerk will give the completed forms to a judicial officer for review after which they will be returned to the clerk's office. You must pick up these forms at the clerk's office at 3:00 p.m. The clerk will set a date for the hearing. If the judge grants temporary orders pending the hearing, they will take effect immediately but will not be enforceable until served on the restrained person. If the 10:30 a.m. deadline is missed, you can still turn in the completed forms which will be reviewed by the court on the next business day.

In all cases, temporary restraining order forms must be accompanied by a declaration describing in detail the incidents of abuse which support your application for a restraining order. Your request will be reviewed by a judicial officer and then, if the temporary restraining order is granted, it will be filed with the court. A person over the age of 18 must serve the papers on the other party. The Sheriff's Office will attempt to serve the papers for domestic violence restraining orders free of charge. The Sheriff's Office is located at 1600 Los Gamos Drive, Suite 200, San Rafael 94903.

At the time your application for a temporary restraining order is submitted, you must fill out a confidential Law Enforcement Supplemental Information form. This form requests descriptive information, including birth date, home and work addresses and telephone numbers, and the driver's license number of the person to be restrained. You should bring all identifying information you have regarding this person with you to the Court. The purpose of this form is to make sure that your restraining order can be enforced and that it can be entered into a Statewide Protective Order Registry which is available to all law enforcement agencies.


There are other types of restraining orders that do not involve domestic violence. These include:

  • Civil Harassment Restraining Orders: These orders protect individuals from a person harassing them who is not a family member and who they have not had a dating relationship with. There are filing fees for civil harassment restraining orders unless the person seeking the restraining order qualifies for a fee waiver because of low income or in the event that violence is alleged. Judicial Council forms for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders.
  • Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders: These orders apply to individuals who fall under the definition of elderly or dependent adults and are seeking protection from abuse. THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR THESE RESTRAINING ORDERS. Judicial Council forms for Elder Abuse Restraining Orders.
  • Workplace Violence Restraining Orders: These orders are filed by the business owner or manager of the business to protect the employees or individuals who work for a business where there has been violence or threats of violence. There are filing fees for workplace violence restraining orders unless the person seeking the restraining order qualifies for a fee waiver because of low income or in the event that violence is alleged. Judicial Council forms for Workplace Violence Restraining Orders.
  • Private Postsecondary School Violence Restraining Orders: This type of order must be requested by a chief administrative officer of the institution that the student attends or is applying to when there are credible threats of violence against the student. The chief administrative officer is the principal, president or highest-ranking official of the private postsecondary educational institution and is normally represented by the institution’s official lawyer. Judicial Council forms for School Violence Restraining Orders.
  • Gun Violence Restraining Orders prohibit a person subject to this restraining order from having in his or her custody or control, own or possess, or receive any firearms or ammunition while the order is in effect. The petitioner must convince the judge that the person to be restrained poses a significant danger in the near future of causing personal injury to himself/herself, or another person by having in his/her custody or control, owning, purchasing, or receiving a firearm. The petitioner also must convince the judge the restraining order is needed to prevent personal injury to the person to be restrained or to another person because less restrictive alternatives either have been tried and haven't worked or are inadequate or inappropriate for the current circumstances. For more information on how to file a Gun Violence Restraining Order, please see the following by clicking here.

To apply for a restraining order, please complete the forms, available from the links above, and file them at the Civil Clerk's Office in Room 113.

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