The types of restraining orders filed in Pasadena are the same types that can be filed in all Los Angeles County courts and throughout California. Those types of orders are discussed below.
Pasadena Restraining Order cover the following areas, and would be heard at the Pasadena Courthouse, located at 300 East Walnut Avenue: Pasadena: Duarte, Monrovia, Bradbury, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Alhambra, South San Gabriel, Rosemead, San Gabriel, San Pasqual, Mayflower village, South El Monte, Whittier Narrows, North El Monte, Temple City, Angeles Crest, Pasadena, Altadena.
Pasadena residents have a number of options available to choose from when seeking to obtain a restraining order — particularly for protection against domestic violence or civil harassment. Victims of abuse, threats of abuse, stalking, sexual assault or serious harassment in Pasadena who wish to obtain a civil harassment or domestic violence restraining order may apply for one at the Pasadena Superior Court. Assistance in filling out forms and legal advocacy is available daily from 9:00 am to 11:30 am.
Pasadena Restraining Order Process
The restraining order process in Pasadena is generally the same as in all Los Angeles County courts. The person requesting the restraining order is always called “petitioner” and the person the petitioner is seeking to restrain is always called “respondent.” The first step in the restraining order process is for the petitioner to file a request for a temporary restraining order and request a hearing for a permanent restraining order.
When the request for a restraining order is filed at the civil filing window, a clerk will review the paperwork for to make sure that there is no missing information, and all of the required forms are included. The clerk will also let the petitioner know if a filing fee is needed. Domestic violence and elder abuse restraining orders are free to file, but civil harassment and workplace violence restraining orders can require a filing fee of $435 under certain circumstances.
Petitioners can often avoid paying filing fees for a civil harassment restraining order if they cannot afford the fee, by filing a fee waiver with their request – Form FW-001. If the court determines that the petitioner has shown that they cannot afford the filing fee, the court will either waive the fee completely or order that the fee is reduced to a more affordable amount.
Once the clerk files the restraining order request, the paperwork will be sent to an available judge to review. The judge will thoroughly review the request and all of the supporting documentation such as declarations, witness statements, and photographs. The judge will then decide whether a temporary restraining order should be granted.
The petitioner will be asked to stay in or near the courtroom in case the judge has any questions about the contents of the request. After reviewing the paperwork, the judge will set the case for a hearing (which usually takes place 21 days from the day the paperwork is filed). If the judge feels that, based on the request, the respondent should be restrained prior to that hearing date, the judge will grant the temporary restraining order, which protects the petitioner from the moment the documents are served on respondent until the day of the hearing.
Once the judge decides whether or not the temporary restraining order is granted, the judge will sign the order and the clerk will give the petitioner three copies of the paperwork. The paperwork will contain information regarding the temporary restraining order, such as whether or not it was granted, and if so, what are the details of the temporary restraining order.
The paperwork will also contain a hearing date where both parties must be present to argue their case. The petitioner is required to attend on the date and time of the hearing, or the matter will be dismissed. It is up to the petitioner to make sure that the paperwork is properly delivered to the local police department. If a temporary restraining order was granted by the judge, one copy of the paperwork must be delivered to the local police department on the same day that the temporary restraining order is granted. The judge may require that the clerk do this, or the petitioner may be directed to do this themselves.
The petitioner is also required to serve a copy of the paperwork on the respondent. The paperwork must be personally served, which means that a copy of the paperwork must be handed directly to 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 third party who is not a part of the case and is over 18 years of age. Once the paperwork is served, a proof of service must be filed with the court or brought to the hearing. The purpose of the proof of service is to state to the judge, under oath and penalty of perjury, that the paperwork has been properly served on a respondent, and that therefore the respondent is required to attend the hearing.
At the permanent restraining order hearing and unlike the temporary restraining order hearing, both sides will have a chance to present evidence and argue their side of the case. The judge, unlike when deciding the temporary restraining order, does not make a decision based on the petitioner’s paperwork alone. Instead, the respondent (the party against whom the restraining order is being sought) has a chance to present evidence of his / her own, call his or her own witnesses, and cross-examine the petitioner’s witnesses.
Often, a skilled and directed attack on the petitioner’s evidence can lead to a restraining order being denied where it otherwise would have been granted. When contesting a restraining order request in Pasadena (or anywhere else in Los Angeles County and throughout California) the best course of action is always to be respectful of the other side, do not interrupt, and to present your evidence in a calm and patient manner. Being overly eager or offering too much evidence at once can distract from the strengths of your case and can cause a judge to look unfavorably at the remaining evidence you present.
Pasadena, like all other courts in Los Angeles and throughout California, hears all four types of restraining orders available to California residents:
- Domestic violence restraining order: this type of order can be requested when the parties are married, dating, formerly married or dating, live together, are related, or have a child in common. Restraining orders that should be filed as domestic violence restraining order requests but instead are filed as requests for civil harassment orders run the risk of being rejected because of a qualifying relationship. A qualified restraining order attorney can assist with determining what type of motion to file.
- Workplace violence restraining order: this type of restraining order cannot be filed by an employee against another employee or by an employee against another employee. Instead, this type of restraining order can only be filed by an employer on behalf of an employee. Individuals who do not meet this condition can file a civil harassment restraining order, discussed below. A common mistake of employees is to believe that they can file a workplace violence order request against another employee. This type of mistake can lead to the motion being rejected and the need to re-file documents and start from the beginning. Unlike other types of restraining order requests, a workplace violence restraining order hearing can be attended by a representative of a company, such as a lawyer. There is, unlike other types of hearings, no requirement that the named petitioner be a person or that that individual actually attend a hearing. These types of orders can be requested by companies, partnerships, non-profits, and governmental agencies – any place where an individual is employed.
- Elder abuse restraining order: these orders can only be requested by or on behalf of a person 65 years of age or older on on behalf of any adult with physical or mental disabilities that would prevent him or her from engaging in conduct that someone without those disabilities would have. Elder abuse restraining order requests encompass more than just the protection of older individuals – they protect individuals with disabilities as well. The key provision to filing an elder abuse restraining order request for individuals under 65 but still an adult is that they can be fled by a person who is not the petitioner. This is different than other types of orders, where adults may be listed as additionally protected persons, but not as the primary individual seeking protection. Another difference between elder abuse restraining orders and other types of restraining orders is that elder abuse requests may be granted solely on the basis of financial abuse. Individuals who wish to seek redress for financial abuse but do not qualify for an elder abuse restraining order must use the civil litigation process (or criminal process, if applicable).
- Civil harassment restraining order: this is the most common restraining order filed and should be filed when all other types are not appropriate. There must be a pattern of conduct (a course of conduct) that would annoy, harass, or put a recipient in legitimate fear. 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.” Further, it is required that the “course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, and must actually cause substantial emotional distress…”
Defending a Pasadena Restraining Order
Defending a restraining order in Pasadena is similar to defending a restraining order in all Los Angeles County courthouses. Whether a workplace violence restraining order request, an elder abuse restraining order request, a domestic violence restraining order request or a civil harassment request has been made against you, the forms required in Pasadena are the same required in all Los Angeles County courts and all courts throughout California.
All restraining order respondents (the individual that protection is sought from) should consider hiring an attorney. Often, an attorney can point out facts or circumstances that would otherwise not have been made. Further, a qualified and experienced restraining order attorney can often be of tremendous assistance with the nature of the restraining order process and can sometimes know the preferences or tendencies of various courthouses. While not presenting a defense is always an option, the consequences of a restraining order can be serious.
If your are charged with a crime as a result of conduct that also led to a restraining order request or if you are about to be charged, always consult with an attorney prior to testifying at your restraining order hearing. Restraining orders, if they are granted, are not criminal convictions. However, a testimony during a hearing that did not need to be presented can make a prosecutors job easier, leading to a conviction.
Restraining Order Mediation in Pasadena
Civil harassment cases in Pasadena are usually 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. If there are minor children involved in a domestic violence restraining order, and the petitioner is requesting that the judge makes a ruling on custody or visitation, the case must be mediated prior to the hearing.
The judge has the power to decide whether or not cases non-involving visitation or custody should be mediated before the hearing. Some judges prefer that every case goes to mediation, and other judges hand pick cases that they feel would benefit from a mediator’s involvement.
Once a case is sent to mediation, a mediator will be assigned. Mediators are usually attorneys, judges or professionals in the mental health field who have been trained, and are usually certified, in dispute resolution. The mediator will meet with the parties separately and explain the process to them. The mediator will also usually review any evidence the parties plan to present at the hearing and discuss the case with the parties.
The mediator will then try to create a written settlement agreement that both parties would accept instead of having the judge hear the case. Mediation agreements almost always include clauses prohibiting the parties of contacting each other and requiring the parties to stay a certain distance away from each other.
Mediation agreements can also include additional clauses such as prohibiting the parties from talking about each other in public, requiring the return of certain personal property such as clothes or vehicles, and in rare cases the payment of money such as attorney’s fees to one of the parties. It is important to note that mediation agreements are not restraining orders, and if the agreement is violated, the parties need to go back to court instead of calling the police.
Settlements are usually very beneficial to both parties. For the respondent, the settlement agreement does not create any criminal record, but if a restraining order is granted, the order gets input into the CLETS system, which can be accessed by anyone doing a background check, such as police, employers, and creditors. For the petitioner, the settlement agreement provides some protection from the respondent without having to risk losing at the hearing and having no restraining order at all.
If the parties are referred to mediation, Pasadena judges require that a good faith effort to come to a resolution is made by the parties. This means that the parties are required to at least listen to the mediator and take the process seriously. 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, and 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.
If a settlement is not reached prior to the hearing, the judge will hear the case. The parties are expected to have all of their evidence and witnesses readily available on the date and time of the hearing. This means that all witnesses must be present at the courthouse, all paperwork must be copied and ready to present to the judge, any equipment required to play audio or video (such as a laptop or tablet) must be available.
Some, but not all, Pasadena judges will allow the presentation of evidence from a party’s smartphone, but since smartphones are usually limited in terms of volume of audio, they are not the preferred method of presenting evidence. If another method is available to the parties, it should be utilized, with a smartphone being used as a last resort.
Any paperwork that the parties want to present to the judge must be shown to the other party on the morning of the hearing, usually before the judge comes out and takes the bench. This means that it is best to come to court with 3 copies of every document – one copy for the other party, one copy for the judge, and one copy to refer to during the hearing.
At the hearing, the judge will decide which evidence he or she wants to review based on whether the evidence is relevant and admissible.
After the judge hears from the parties and witnesses, and reviews all of the admissible evidence, he or she will decide whether a restraining order should be issued against the respondent and whether attorney’s fees should be granted to either party (if applicable). Some judges require that a request for attorney’s fees be made in a formal motion after the hearing is completed, and others decide whether or not to grant attorney’s fees on the spot.
Restraining orders usually last between 3 and 5 years. If the request for restraining order is granted, and the respondent violates any part of the order they can be arrested and charged with a crime.
If either party disagrees with the decision, they have the ability to appeal. Appeals usually take about one year to decide, and only evidence presented at the hearing can be used as a basis for an appeal – no new evidence can be presented.
Pasadena Restraining Order Resources
In addition to obtaining a restraining order, Pasadena is also home to many other resources that a victim of domestic violence or civil harassment may need. The Grace Center, located at 1495 N. Lake Ave., provides services to domestic violence survivors—both male and female, and for English and Spanish speakers. This Center also has services available to children.
For counseling, housing and employment assistance, legal advocacy and assistance, and medical services, the Haven House operates a hotline that can assist with such services at (323) 681-2626.
Peace Over Violence is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families, and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence, and is located at 892 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Ste. D. Peace Over Violence also includes emergency, intervention, prevention, education and advocacy services for victims of domestic and civil harassment. Additionally, POV operates a hotline for rape and domestic violence victims at (213) 626-3393, (310) 392-8381, and (626) 793-3385, or for stalking victims, at (877) 633-0044.
The Jackie Robinson Center, located at 1020 N. Fair Oaks and is open daily from 8:30 am to 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm, can also assist with completing civil harassment restraining orders. Fees for Pasadena residents are $20 and $25 for non-residents.