Should You File A Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO)?

by | Sep 17, 2021 | Restraining Orders

Romantic relationships can become difficult. And unfortunately, relationships can also become violent. This is why DVROs are available to file for parties, who are going through a difficult divorce or breakup, as well as for parties not romantically involved.

In order to have a DVRO granted, the petitioning party must demonstrate that they are a victim of domestic violence, as according to the California Family Code (“Code”). Domestic violence is defined by the Code as abusive behavior by or against a current or former spouse, as well as a family member or cohabitant. Abuse can include sexual assault and putting someone in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury, as well as other behaviors. In recent years, the definition of abuse has been expanded by the courts, giving petitioners more reasons to file.


There are 3 types of DVROs. The first type is an Emergency Protecting Order (EPO). An EPO is issued after a police officer responds to a domestic violence call and asks a judge to file it on behalf of the victim. An EPO only lasts as long as the shorter of 5 business days or 7 calendar days. This is because the EPO is only supposed to exist in order for the protected party to go to court and file for a general DVRO, which lasts longer.

The second type of DVRO is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO or “ex parte”). TROs are used when a party files for a regular DVRO but wants a restraining order pending the hearing of the regular DVRO to ensure they are protected in the meantime.

The third type of DVRO is the DVRO issued after the hearing. After filing for a DVRO, the court will schedule the petitioning party for a hearing, which typically takes a few weeks. After the hearing, if the judge grants the DVRO, it will be valid and in place for as long as the order specifies. You may also ask to extend the order during the last 3 months that it is effective.


Filing for a DVRO requires the petitioning party to file specific court forms at the appropriate court. Certain courts require special forms that may differ depending on locality. In addition, the petitioning party should include a description of the abuse they have suffered so that the judge can rule appropriately on the facts of the case.

Filing for a DVRO can be complex, so it is best to consult with an attorney to guide you through the process. The experienced family law attorneys at Butler Law, PC can help you file and respond to DVROs.