A Chatsworth Restraining Order is handled at the Chatsworth Courthouse, located at 9425 Penfield Avenue in Chatsworth, for incidents taking place in and/or involving residents of Chatsworth, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Mission Hills, Northridge, Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima, Sylmar, Chatsworth Reservoir, San Fernando, North Hills.
Restraining Order Process in Chatsworth
When the request for a restraining order is filed, a clerk will review the paperwork, collect the filing fee, if applicable, and ask the Petitioner to take the paperwork to the courtroom so that the judge can review the request.
If the Judge has any questions, the Petitioner will be asked to discuss the filing. After the Judge makes his decision, the clerk will give the Petitioner copies of the paperwork. The paperwork will contain information regarding the Temporary Restraining Order, as well as a hearing date. One copy is to be delivered to the police on the same day that a temporary restraining order is granted. The second copy is for the Petitioner’s records.
The third copy is the service copy – it must be served on the Respondent. If the Petitioner wants the sheriff to serve the Respondent with the restraining order, a fee will apply. The restraining order can also be served by a private process server or by any 3rd party not part of the case 18+ yrs of age. Once the paperwork is served, a proof of service must be filed with the court or brought to the hearing.
There are four types of restraining orders that can be filed at the Chatsworth Courthouse, like all of Los Angeles County and throughout California.
Civil harassment restraining orders – these types of orders are the “catchall” and should be requested when other types of restraining order requests are not appropriate. If another type of restraining order should be filed, however, a civil harassment restraining order can be rejected by court. It is always the best course of action to hire an experienced restraining order attorney to assist you in determining which type of restraining order to file. Civil harassment is, “unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person that seriously alarms, annoys, or harasses the person, and that serves no legitimate purpose.” If actual violence is alleged in a civil harassment restraining order, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department can serve the temporary restraining order, notice of the permanent restraining order hearing, and other intitial documents on the respondent at no cost (request a fee waiver). A civil harassment restraining order is the “catchall” type of restraining order, meaning that it can and should be the type of order requested when the petitioner does not qualify to apply for another type of order (whether because he or she is not in a qualifying relationship, does not employ the respondent, does not have applicable disabilities, and is not over 65 years of age), However, courts do not favor applications for restraining orders where the petitioner is seeking to obtain an advantage in a civil dispute or other type of dispute that does not involve harassment or violence.
Elder abuse restraining orders – these types of orders can be filed by or on behalf of any person who is 65 years old or older or by or on behalf of any adult who has certain mental disabilities or physical disabilities that prevent them from being able to engage in normal activities to protect themselves. This type of order is unique in that it can be requested by an individual on behalf of another adult (workplace violence orders can be requested on behalf of another adult, however, they are requested by a corporation or organization). Other types of orders can request additional persons be protected, including children and adults. However, these types of orders do not list those additional protected people as petitioners, which an elder abuse restraining order does. If an elder abuse restraining order request is granted, it can be renewed for up to five years upon application without a new showing of inappropriate conduct by the respondent. Finally, an elder abuse restraining order is the only type of restraining order in California that allows a restraining order to be issued for financial abuse. If an elderly person or disabled person suffers financial abuse, they have additional recourse beyond what others are required to do: file a civil lawsuit for money damages and/or injunctive relief.
Domestic violence restraining orders – these orders can be filed by anyone who has been subjected to violence by a spouse, domestic partner, ex-spouse, spouse during separating, former individuals who have dated, individuals currently dating, parents of the same child, a parent, sibling, grandparent (including in-laws), and grandchild (including in-laws) and can be issued for up to five years. If a domestic violence restraining order is the proper type of order because of a qualifying relationship and a different type of order is requested in error, the process may need to be started again from the beginning. Therefore, it is critical to file the proper type of order – a task made much easier when the assistance of an experienced restraining order attorney is present, An extension upon application, even absent a showing of continuing domestic violence or other inappropriate conduct by the petitioner is possible. Because Chatsworth Courthouse is located in Los Angeles County, domestic violence can be served by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at no cost, unlike some other kinds of restraining orders. Be sure to request a fee waiver for this type of restraining order if you choose to have the sheriff serve it for you instead of a private party or process server (a temporary restraining order or notice of a restraining order hearing cannot be filed by the petitioner or any other person seeking protection).
Workplace violence restraining order – these types of restraining orders can only be requested by an employer on behalf of an employee. They cannot be fled by an employee of a business against another employee; those individuals should file a civil harassment restraining order. Therefore, a company’s representative or organization’s representative, unlike in other restraining order cases, can appear in court in place of the harassed individual. While it may often be advantageous to have the harassed employee attend the hearing, their appearance is not required. A workplace violence restraining order request can be renewed for up to three years upon request without a showing of continuing inappropriate conduct by the respondent.
Civil harassment cases in Chatsworth are always referred to mediation. Mediation is also sometimes, but not always, available for the other types of restraining orders – domestic violence, elder abuse, and workplace violence. These types of cases may also be referred to mediation at the judge’s discretion. A mediator is assigned to each eligible matter. The mediator will meet with each of the parties separately to discuss the dispute, the facts, and the evidence.
The mediator will then explain the benefits and drawbacks of the settlement and will attempt to fashion an agreement between the parties. Usually, the agreement will require that the restraining order is dismissed and that the parties stay away from each other and refrain from contact. Rarely, the settlement will request payment of attorney’s fees, if any were incurred by the parties, as well as for the exchange and return of property such as vehicles, pets, clothing, and other personal items.
Settlement agreements can sometimes include a confidentiality clause that prevents the parties from revealing the contents of the agreement to any third parties unless required to do so by law. there are also exceptions for attorneys, and other professionals, such as tax preparers, if applicable, and a non-disparagement clause, which prevents the parties from talking about each other with anyone else.
Chatsworth courthouse restraining order courts usually require that the parties referred to mediation make a good faith effort to resolve their case. This means that the parties must make a reasonable effort to put their differences aside and resolve the case without having to proceed with the restraining order hearing. If, after a good faith effort by both sides to resolve their dispute, the case is not settled at mediation, the mediator will return the case file to the clerk. The case will proceed to a hearing or be continued. If the case is continued, a new hearing date will be assigned, and all temporary orders will remain in effect until the new hearing date.
At the restraining order hearing, the judge will listen to evidence brought by both sides, the petitioner (the person seeking protection) and the respondent (the person from whom protection is sought). Both sides, the petitioner and respondent, should bring all witnesses that they intend to call to testify to the hearing date. In addition, all documentary evidence that either side wishes to introduce and have the judge view should be brought to the hearing as well. Each side will have an opportunity to question the other side’s witnesses (cross examine) and to call their own witnesses to either impeach (counter the other side’s witnesses) or to introduce affirmative evidence of their won to substantiate their case. Again, the court will determine how much evidence to allow in and how much evidence will be determined to be redundant and unnecessary.
This documentary evidence includes video recordings, audio recordings, printed text messages, printed emails, or any other type of physical evidence. Remember to introduce evidence and testimony in a manner that is controlled and orderly. Introducing irrelevant evidence that takes up the court’s time can have an additional negative effect: it weakens the credibility of the side introducing it and has a negative impact on that side’s relevant testimony.
Like with restraining orders in all Los Angeles County courthouses, judges have large calendars and making your arguments quickly and politely will assist you. If you cannot resolve your case through mediation and the restraining order request is denied, you can consider an appeal. Before filing an appeal, however, note that only errors or mistakes as to legal conclusions or findings are appealable.
Judges in Chatsworth court, as in the rest of Los Angeles County, frown on litigants filing civil harassment restraining order requests or other types of restraining order requests to gain an advantage in a business dispute. Sometimes, business owners who are in disagreement about business management can allege harassment and attempt to prevent the other side from participating via a restraining order. However, the proper method to resolve such a dispute is to request a civil injunction in the context of a civil action for damages or relief, not a civil harassment restraining order hearing. Courts also frown on individuals involved in a divorce to attempt to gain an advantage where it is not appropriate by filing a separate action requesting a restraining order.
A determination by a judge that a certain witness was not reliable or that another witness’s contradictory testimony is more reliable rare generally, absent an abuse of discretion, appealable. Judge’s decisions about factual determinations, absent an unreasonable conclusion that rises to an unusual level (again, abuse of discretion), an appeals court will permit that decision to stand. Because appeals courts do not listen to evidence (the do not allow testimony and do not receive exhibits), they accept as accurate all conclusions of fact, or all non-legal determinations.
Chatsworth Restraining Order Resources
Services offered for free and by non-profits to victims: San Fernando Valley residents can visit the Family Emergency Shelter of the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission, located at 8756 Canby Ave., which offers up to 90 days of free overnight shelter, Biblical counseling, and guidance toward social and economic improvement. In the past, this Mission has provided 9,700 nights of shelter to mothers, fathers, and their children, with over 50% of the guests that stayed being children 12 years of age and younger.
Haven Hills is also available to Chatsworth and San Fernando Valley residents (a 24-hour crisis hotline can be reached at (818) 887-6589 in English or Spanish). Further, Haven Hills also runs a Domestic Violence 101 course the second Tuesday of every month at 6:30 pm at the Canoga Park Library, located at 20939 Sherman Way, where information will be provided about abusive relationships and services for friends and family of people affected by domestic violence.
- San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission < (818) 785-4476
- Haven Hills < Phone: (818) 887-7481; Fax: (818) 887-4796
- Canoga Park Library < (818) 887-0320
In the Santa Clarita Valley, near Chatsworth, victims of domestic violence or civil harassment are also in danger of homelessness or an ongoing threat of physical abuse/injury. The Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley (DVC of SCV) (www.dvc-scv.org), located at 23780 Newhall Ave., is available to Santa Clarita residents for a number of services that will protect victims and keep them and their families safe. DVC of SCV runs a 30-day emergency shelter where women and children who have been affected by domestic violence are assisted with finding transitional or permanent housing and job placement after they leave the facility. The DVC also runs an Outreach center that offers classes for domestic violence education and parenting classes, art therapy, and meditation classes. The Outreach Center has staff that assists in creating a future safety plan and escape kit.
Most importantly, DVC runs a Court Advocacy Program that offers assistance for those seeking legal protection from domestic violence. The Program also provides support, explains court procedures, accompanies victims to court proceedings (solely for support), and helps victims apply for temporary or permanent restraining orders. Appointments must be made between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm Mondays or 2:00 pm and 5:00 pm Wednesdays. DVC also runs a 24-hour shelter hotline at (661) 259-4357, or for non-emergency cases at (661) 259-8175 for confidential information and support.
- L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, Santa Clarita < (661) 255-1121
- The Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita Valley < (661) 259-8175
- DVC Court Advocacy Program < Appointments: (661) 259-8175
The Domestic Violence Clinic at the Self-Help Center, and is open Mondays through Friday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm. The goal of the Clinic is to assist victims in obtaining a domestic violence restraining order to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse by a batterer. Once a victim has obtained a court-issued restraining order, the police may arrest a restrained person who violates the order, only when that person has had notice of the terms of the order. Notice to the restrained person can be by personal service, as a result of an appearance of the person in Court when the order is made, or if a Criminal Protective Order is served by the Court (where no additional notice is required).
The Family Violence Project (www.jfsla.org), located at 13949 Ventura Blvd., provides help and counseling to survivors of domestic violence and their children, along with a 24-hour crisis hotline (818-505-0900). In addition, FVP maintains emergency shelters, transitional housing, comprehensive counseling and an education and prevention outreach program.
A Chatsworth Restraining Order is most frequently issued for instances of domestic violence, but are also common in cases of civil harassment, which consists of abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, or sexual assault by someone you have not dated or do not have a close relationship with, such as a neighbor, roommate, or friend.