YouTube Video Series
Our office is in the process of posting an 8-part YouTube video series on How to Obtain Domestic Violence Restraining Orders in Family Law Court. The entire series is the YouTube version of a class designed for LAWYERS and VOLUNTEERS who work with Victims of Domestic Violence. Video #1 was posted mid-July 2020, and the remaining videos will be posted every other week until the entire series is available.
For those reading this who cannot afford a lawyer, please CONTACT your local Legal Aid Clinic, Non-Profit Lawyers’ Center, or the local Domestic Violence Organization in your area. Links to local clinics are listed at the end of this article.
An Overview of the Domestic Violence Case.
Each video will include tips and strategies for obtaining information from the victim as well as information on how to try the case in court. Each video will also include one or more checklists. The checklists will be mentioned in this article and a PDF of the actual checklists will be attached for printout or download.
Checklist #1: ”Prepare For Court” Overview Checklist (Video 1):
Get the official Court
Forms Online or from your Courthouse.
- Links to forms are included at the end of this article.
- Plan the Evidence you need, using the LEGAL ELEMENTS of what you are trying to prove and the Factual Checklists in this Video Series!
- California: You’ll File the Appropriate Paperwork at Court with your Preliminary Proof -- To Get TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDERS the Same Day.
- All States: Lawyers (and Self-represented persons) need to Follow instructions in the Forms packet carefully.
- Serve the accused with a copy of the Temporary Orders, the Notice to Appear, and other Local Forms.
- For the Full Evidentiary Hearing for Permanent Orders, — Remember to bring ANY Criminal Protective orders to court & Decide whether to put on Officer testimony, Police Reports, and 911 or Emergency Operator Recordings. And we will cover that in detail in a later video.
- Finally, you’ll Go back to court on the day of the FULL Evidentiary HEARING. That date will be Written on the Temporary orders.
Checklist #2: Victim’s Abuse Checklist (Video #2)
Describe What Happened in Detail:
using the rest of this CHECKLIST, Carefully Describe the Details of each
Incident of Abuse, and include such details as
- Whether the victim was taken away by Ambulance, and
- What Lead UP to the Abuse.
- using the rest of this CHECKLIST, Carefully Describe the Details of each Incident of Abuse, and include such details as
- If Available, what is the Witness Contact Information for Each Incident?
- How did the victim feel? Describing a victim’s fear or extreme anxiety is one of the legal elements when no actual physical abuse has occurred, but it’s often ignored!
- Has the Abuse happened Before?
Describe & get photographs to prove ANY AND ALL of the following:
a. BODILY Injuries?
a cut, bruise, break, black eye, a cast or wrapped joint?
- Have someone in your office take photos before the evidence heals!
- a cut, bruise, break, black eye, a cast or wrapped joint?
b. DESTRUCTION to the LOCATION?
A broken door, a smashed window, a hole in the wall?
- Photos, repair estimates, receipts.
- A broken door, a smashed window, a hole in the wall?
A GUN, a Knife, a Stick, a Bat, a Hanger?
- Threat with a weapon?
- Evidence, e.g., a photo or a purchase receipt, if possible.
- Firearms orders possible?
- A GUN, a Knife, a Stick, a Bat, a Hanger?
- d. Damaged, Bloody, or Torn Clothing, Bedding or Furniture?
- a. BODILY Injuries?
Does the victim have Digital Evidence?
- Texts, Emails, & Social Media?
- Party admissions are exceptions to the hearsay rules.
Is there WRITTEN or PHOTOGRAPHIC evidence?
- Notes, Letters, Bills, Doctor’s Reports, X-rays, Phone Call Logs, or?
- Eye-witnesses of PAST abuse?
- Evidence of PAST abuse?
Are there PAST Criminal or Other Restraining Orders?
- Court Orders are Admissible.
Unsafe or Unsanitary Living Conditions?
- “Mess Causes Stress!”
- In some cases you will find evidence of huge amounts of bugs or rodents; Broken plumbing that has gone un-repaired for awhile; broken but un-repaired windows, AC, heating, appliances. Excessive Trash, Hoarding, Pet Feces, etc.
Drug or Alcohol Abuse Problems?
- Mitigation when needed
Mental health Conditions Leading to Severe Emotions?
- Perhaps Depression, ADHD, Bi-Polar, or?
- Mitigation and relief for Victim
Recent Extra Stress?
- COVID-19 Stay-at-Home Restrictions?
- Loss of a Family member?
- Loss of a job?
- Loss of money or possessions?
- Recent illness?
- Has a Breakup been Discussed?
- New Dating Relationship?
Evidence of Mental Abuse, Harassment, Stalking, Disturbing the Peace?
- Is the Victim Consulting about Stress with a Therapist, a Coach, Religious Leader, Teacher, other Community Leader? Do you have proof of those meetings, and do you have a witness?
- Have Friends or Family expressed Worry about the Victim? Will any of them TESTIFY?
- Does the Victim feel Isolated or Monitored - Not Able to see Friends or Family?
- Was the Victim Forced to Comply to Avoid Harm to Family, Co-Workers, Children or Pets?
- Has the Victim shown physical signs of Stress? Gaining or losing lots of weight?Other physical signs of Stress or Abuse? Such as: Cutting, Hair-pulling, Severe nail-biting, Vomiting, other signs of stress that you can prove? (With or without doctor’s evidence.)
Analyze the Need for Stay Away Orders: What locations should the accused
be barred from entering?
- Is your client working?
- A student?
- Will victim be living at the previous residence or another vulnerable place, such as with a parent or sibling while seeking new shelter?
- Does your client need the car protected?
- children’s school?
- Does the client have another specific location they must go to but to which the accused might also go?
- Always tell the court when there Is No Safe Place for the Victim to Go!
Checklist #3: Children’s Abuse Checklist (Video #3)
Is there any actual Proof that the children were PHYSICALLY HURT —
Now or in the Past?
- Look for Photos of present or past injuries,
- texts of communications with the abuser, and any communications with third parties for PAST abuse.
- Also, Medical Reports or doctor’s appointments?
- Provable Calls from the school, coaches, other parents?
Did the Children WITNESS Anger, or the Victim being Hurt?
- See Video #3 for a full explanation of getting children’s evidence into family court when the child will not actually be testifying.
- In California, OTHER courts have children testifying all the time, but Here, it only occurs in Family Law a small percentage of the time — and in a high percentage of Those cases the child has its own Minor’s Counsel which is beyond our scope in this article.
- Determine whether the proof is a Statement by the child. If it IS, Children’s out-of-court statements reported to prove the truth of a matter ARE hearsay, and should be objected to in court.
- Legitimate Hearsay exceptions in every jurisdiction:
- For example, Excited Utterance Exception, which is in CA Evidence Code §1240, or in other states’ enacted version of FRE Rule 803. (June 2020)
- However, non-statement evidence comes in differently — Example:
- Demonstrative things or involuntary things to be introduced by the Victim or another Witness in Court, “I heard little Corey cry in his sleep,” or “Wince in pain.” Use offers of proof as discussed in video #1.
- Look for adult witness testimony that can show the children were Crying, Acting Afraid, Flinching, Trembling, Mumbling or Hiding, either spontaneously or whenever the abuser comes near, etc.
- Also look for previously-made drawings or written stories of abuse, or other demonstrations, such as Holding a bruised or hurt body part, that may be authenticated through an adult witness.
Did the children HEAR what was going on?
- This is one step removed from being an Eye-Witness, but an Aural Witness is Allowable.
- Of course, you’ll have the same Proof issues as with #2 above.
- Testimonial v Non-Testimonial Proof Determinations.
Did the children talk to an Officer or Social Worker?
- Proof problems and remedies for both types of witness are discussed in video #3.
Other, Previous Custody Orders?
- List and even ATTACH any previous custody orders made in ANY court, including Criminal, Dependency, Juvenile, Probate, and Family Law.
- IF Victim now wants to modify custody to protect the children, the court MUST know about all Previous orders.
Checklist #4: Vital & Financial Records Checklist
Photos, Baby Books and Journals.
- Destruction of treasured mementos is common in domestic violence so now is a good time to look for these items.
- Personally-drafted Will. Also, proofs of Trusts or Wills that are paying or will be in payout status.
- Receipts or Estimates for Repairs to Property Damage.
- Receipts for shelters, hotels, extra transportation, etc.
- Insurance Cards e.g., Health & Auto
Tax returns, W-2s, Paystubs & Self-Employment, Other Proofs of Income.
- Support and Other financial relief will NOT be granted without proof of both parties’ income.
- Income and Expense Declaration.
- Bank Account #s & Credit Card #s, Other proofs of ability to pay
- Vehicle Registration, Real Estate Deeds.
- Birth Certificates of Children
- Passports, Visas, Green Card, Work Permits.
Certificates & Licenses.
- A Marriage License, a Professional License.
- Proof that a person has taken qualifying classes, etc.
- Proof of attendance at AA, Anger Management, etc.
- Proofs of Attorney Fees, e.g., family law, criminal, dependency, etc.
- Proofs of costs of producing evidence, obtaining records.
- Bills of Sale & Personal IOUs. Other proofs of income or debt.
- Leases or Rental Agreements to prove ownership rights, ability to move, etc.
Organized Proof Leads to Greater Probability of Success in Court
The point of the video series is that an organized, precise, and thorough presentation to the facts at the evidentiary hearing will lead to a greater probability of a successful outcome and the restraining orders the victim needs.
Future Videos on The Victim’s Day in Court
The next 5 videos in the series will be on direct exam of the victim, cross-exam of the accused, presentation of exhibits and witnesses, closing argument, and steps needed to survive and thrive after domestic violence court.
If you need legal representation …
in Family Law Domestic Violence Court in Los Angeles California, or in Pasadena, California, please contact Gille Kaye Law Group by phone or by submitting your information on the contact form.
Domestic Violence Restraining Order Forms List
As of June 2020, the most commonly-used forms needed to file a Family Law
Domestic Violence case in California are:
- DV-505-INFO How Do I Ask for a Temporary Restraining Order?
- FAM-020 Family Law Case Cover Sheet and Certificate of Grounds for Assignment to District FAM-018 Declaration of Ex Parte Notice
- CLETS-001 Confidential CLETS Information
- DV-100 Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order
- DV-101 Description of Abuse
- DV-105 Request for Child Custody and Visitation Orders (For cases with children only.)
- DV-108 Request for Order: No Travel with Children (For cases with children only.)
- DV-109 Notice of Court Hearing
- DV-110 Temporary Restraining Order (CLETS-TRO)
- DV-520-INFO Get Ready for the Restraining Order Court Hearing
- DV-130 Restraining Order After Hearing (CLETS-OAH) (Order of Protection)
PROOF OF SERVICE FORMS:
- DV-200-INFO What Is “Proof of Personal Service?”
- DV-200 Proof of Personal Service (CLETS)
- DV-205-INFO What if the Person I Want Protection from is Avoiding Service? DV-117 Order Granting Alternative Service
BLANK FORMS FOR SERVICE ON OTHER PARTY:
- DV-120-INFO How Can I Respond to a Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order? DV-120 Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order
- DV-250 Proof of Service by Mail (CLETS)
- DV-800-INFO How Do I Tun In, Sell, or Store My Firearms?
- DV-800 Proof of Firearms Turned in, Sold, or Stored
OPTIONAL FORMS (May not be needed in all cases.):
- DV-112 Waiver of Hearing on Denied Request for Temporary Restraining Order DV-115-INFO How to Ask for a New Hearing Date
- DV-115 Request to Continue Hearing (Temporary Restraining Order)
- DV-116 Order on Request to Continue Hearing (Temporary Restraining Order) (CLETS-TRO)
- DV-160 Request to Keep Minor’s Information Confidential
- DV-210 Summons (Domestic Violence Restraining Order)
- FL-150 Income and Expense Declaration
- REQUIRED FORMS:
If you need more help and information, here are links to a few of the more
famous Domestic Violence Hotlines:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org
- California Partnership to End Domestic Violence: https://www.cpedv.org/domestic-violence-organizations-california
- If you cannot afford a lawyer, here are Links for some great local non-profit lawyer groups in LA County, California:
Here is a link to California’s official Domestic Violence Restraining
- The California Courts website has more information on domestic violence: https://www.courts.ca.gov/selfhelp-domesticviolence.htm
- The actual list of all California Domestic Violence court forms is at: https://www.courts.ca.gov/forms.htm?filter=DV
- A list of the most commonly used Forms needed for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is included at the end of this article
- A PDF for the first 4 evidence checklists on DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, is attached here.
Here are a few popular and affordable Amazon books on
- The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans. The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Expanded Third Edition: How to recognize it and how to respond
- No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us, by Rachel Louise Snyder. No Visible Bruises: What We Don’t Know About Domestic Violence Can Kill Us
- Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft. Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
- The Batterer as Parent, by Bancroft, Silverman, et.al. The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (SAGE Series on Violence against Women)
- LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence: Lessons for Policy, Practice, and Research, by Adam M. Messinger. LGBTQ Intimate Partner Violence: Lessons for Policy, Practice, and Research
Here is an Amazon book on organization:
- The Checklist Manifesto, by Dr. Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right