Los Angeles Restraining OrdersThe restraining order process in Pomona is similar to the process 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 the correct type of temporary restraining order and request a hearing for a permanent restraining order.

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders: this is the type of restraining order that can be filed when other types are not appropriate.Harassment involves unlawful violence, a credible threat of violence, or a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person with no legitimate purpose. A credible threat of violence is a knowing or willful statement or course of conduct that would place a reasonable person in fear for his or her personal safety or the safety of his or her family. Again, this type of restraining order request is considered the “catchall” because it encompasses many types of situations and scenarios.

Elder Abuse Restraining Order: filed by or on behalf of any person 65 years or older or by or on behalf of an adult whose physical and / or mental disabilities prevent him or her from engaging in normal activities. Therefore, this type of order allows some individuals to file requests on behalf of other adults, unlike other types of requests where additional adults who are seeking protections must be included as “additional” protected persons. Further, elder abuse restraining orders are available, unlike other types of restraining orders, allow petitioners to request orders in response to financial abuse only. Individuals who are seeking a different type of restraining order or do not otherwise qualify for an elder abuse restraining order must file a separate civil action in order to seek redress for or to stop financial abuse (via temporary orders or an injunction). 

Domestic Violence Restraining Order: filed by an individual in a qualifying familial, dating or domestic relationship. Specifically, the petitioner and respondent must be married, formerly married, have a child or children in common, in a dating relationship, a former dating relationship, domestic partners, living together, formerly living together, parent / child, siblings, grandchild / grandparent, or “in laws” of any of the relationships described. If the incorrect type of order is requested (such as a civil harassment restraining order) when a domestic violence restraining order is the proper type of request given a qualifying relationship, the petitioner risks having to begin the process from the beginning because of a procedural mistake. 

Workplace Violence Restraining Order: filed by an employer on behalf of an employee. This type of request cannot be filed by one employee against another or by an employee against an employer. Employees must file another type of restraining order request, usually a civil harassment order request. When filing this type of requests, the petitioner is not a person but instead a company or organization. While the representative from the company may attend hearings, the company is considered the petitioner. This type of request is unlike other types of requests, as all other types require the petitioner to be an actual individual, and therefore present at any evidentiary hearings. 

In order to request a restraining order at the Pomona Courthouse,whether civil harassment, domestic violence, workplace violence or elder abuse, the petitioner must fill out and file the proper forms with the civil filing clerk at the Pomona Courthouse. When the petitioner hands the paperwork to the clerk, the clerk will look at all of the forms to make sure that they are properly filled out and complete. The clerk will also let the petitioner know if any forms are missing. If any corrections are needed, or if any necessary forms are missing, the petitioner will be referred to the restraining order self-help center at the courthouse to fix the paperwork. The paperwork can then be resubmitted. 

The clerk will also determine whether a filing fee of $435 needs to be paid to initiate the restraining order case. Domestic violence and elder abuse restraining orders usually do not require a filing fee to proceed, while civil harassment and workplace violence restraining orders usually do.  If the petitioner cannot afford the filing fee, the petitioner has the option of requesting that the filing fee be waived due to financial hardship. This required the filing of a fee waiver request. The fee waiver request contains information about the petitioner’s financial situation, such as income (if any), assets, debts, and expenses. Once the judge reviews the case, the judge may require proof of the petitioner’s financial condition before waiving the fee or reducing it to a smaller amount.

Once the paperwork is accepted by the clerk and the filing fee is either paid or waived, the clerk will forward the file to an available judge for review. The petitioner will usually be asked to wait in the courtroom or in the hallway while the judge reviews the paperwork, in case the judge has any questions or requires some additional information. When the judge reviews the paperwork he or she will set a hearing date for the case and decide if a temporary restraining order should be issued. If the judge decides, based on the paperwork, that there is a possibility that the harassment or violence will reoccur before the hearing date, the judge will issue a temporary restraining order which take effect after the respondent is served with the paperwork and lasts until the hearing date. If the respondent violates a valid and properly served restrainign order, they can be charged with a crime. In some cases the judge can also order the respondent to move out of a shared residence as part of the temporary restraining order.

After the judge reviews the paperwork, the clerk will return 3 copies of the paperwork to the petitioner. One copy is for the petitioner’s records, one copy is for submission to the police, and one copy is for service on the respondent.  The paperwork will contain the hearing date, as well as a temporary restraining order, if one is issued. The hearing date will usually be 21-25 days after the date that the paperwork is filed. In most cases, it is up to the petitioner to deliver a copy of the paperwork to the local police department for entry into the CLETS system. Occasionally, the judge will order the clerk to transmit the paperwork to the police department.

The petitioner is also responsible for serving the paperwork on the respondent. The paperwork must be personally served on the respondent. This can be done by the sherrif or a licensed process server for a small fee, or by any third party over the age of 18. The third party cannot be the petitioner or any party listed in the paperwork as an additional party to be protected. After the paperwork is served, a proof of service must be filed with the court to let the judge know that service is complete and the respondent must now appear at the hearing. If the petitioner is unable to serve the respondent in time, the petitioner must still appear at the hearing or the case will be dismissed by the judge for lack of prosecution. The petitioner can tell the clerk and the judge that they have been unable to serve the respondent and request more time to serve the paperwork. The judge will often allow the petitioner more time, but if the petitioner cannot serve the respondent after multiple hearings, the case will be dismissed for lack of service.

Usually, Pomona cases are sent to mediation before they are heard by the judge. Mediators in Pomona are usually retired judges or licensed attorneys who volunteer their time to the court and assist judges by attempting to get parties to settle their disputes before the hearings or trials.  On the day of the hearing, the parties will check in with the court clerk and be asked to wait in the hall for a mediator. The mediator will separately meet with the petitioner and the respondent and discuss the case with them. The mediator will then try to get the parties to resolve their dispute by entering into a settlement agreement. Restraining order settlement agreements usually require the parties to agree to stay away from each other, to cease all contact with each other, and to refrain from discussing each other with third parties. If child custody and/or visitation are an issue in the case, the agreement will address that as well. In some cases, mediation agreements will also include clauses dealing with the return of personal property. In rare cases, one of the parties can also agree to make a financial payment to the other party to settle the case. Mediation agreements are advantageous to both parties in a restraining order case because the petitioner is protected by the agreement without having to take the risk of a judge denying the restraining order at the hearing, and the respondent avoids the risk of having a restraining order on their record via the CLETS system.

If the parties do not settle their case at mediation, the case will be heard by the judge. It is the parties’ responsibility to be prepared for the hearing on the hearing date. That means the parties must have at least 3 copies of all of the documents they plan to present as evidence (emails, text messages, letters, etc.) – one copy for the judge, and one for each of the parties. If a party wants to present audio or video evidence, it is that party’s responsibility to bring the equipment necessary to play the audio or video. In most cases, a laptop or tablet is sufficient. Some, but not all, judges will view video and listen to audio directly from a party’s smartphone. Each side will be allowed to call witnesses to present either direct evidence or circumstantial evidence. Each side will be allowed to cross-examine the other side’s witness(es) and will be allowed to have their own witnesses testify to evidence that substantiates the facts that side alleges or to counter the testimony or other evidence of the opposing side. The amount of testimony and how in depth the witnesses are allowed to relay their stories will depend on the court that is hearing the restraining order case. 

After hearing the parties’ and witnesses’ testimony, and reviewing the evidence presented by each side, the judge will decide whether a restraining order should be issued against the respondent. If the judge decides that a restraining order should be issues, the restraining order will usually last between 3 and 5 years, although it is within the judge’s discretion to issue a longer or shorter restraining order as they see fit. The petitioner is able to ask the court to extend the restraining order before the expiration date, if the circumstances warrant an extension. If a party disagrees with the judge’s decision, the decision can be appealed within 60 days from the date of the decision.

Restraining Order Defense in Pomona

Defendants in restraining order matters (civil harassment, workplace violence, elder abuse, and domestic violence), again, called “respondents,” are entitled to present evidence and introduce exhibits in the same manner as the petitioner (the individual seeking protection). If the restraining order is granted, it can last up to five years, depending on the type of order requested (elder abuse and domestic violence orders can be five years, whereas civil harassment and workplace violence orders can last three years). All types of restraining orders can be renewed, upon the request of the petitioner, without any further showing of inappropriate conduct by the respondent (this extension is within the discretion of the judge, and can last up to three years or five years, the same maximum length as the original orders may have extended). 

Pomona Restraining Order Resources

Conduct that would lead to a restraining order request that occurs in the following areas would be heard at the Pomona Courthouse, located at 400 Civic Center Plaza, in Pomona: Avocado Heights, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Bassett, Brea Heights, Charter Oak, Citrus, City of Industry, Claremont, Covina, Diamond Bar, El Encanto, El Monte, Falling Springs, Five Points, Glendora, Irwindale, La Puente, La Verne, Mount Baldy, Norwood Village, Phillips Ranch, Pomona, Puente Hills, Rowland Heights, San Dimas, South San Jose Hills, Valinda, Vincent, Walnut, West Covina, West Puente Valley, Westmont, Whittier Narrows, and Woodside Village.

Pomona area residents can apply for all types of restraining orders at the Pomona Courthouse. The Pomona Courthouse also provides assistance for parties seeking restraining orders as well as for victims of abuse. Assistance is available Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 12:00pm. The courthouse staff can assist with filling out and filing paperwork, and answer questions regarding the restraining order process.

Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Hotline can be reached at 800-978-3600. This is a 24 hour crisis hotline for victims of domestic violence. The hotline provides assistance and information regarding domestic violence, elder protective services, child protective services, and homelessness. Victims will be referred to confidential transitional housing programs and pro bono legal services in connection with restraining order cases.

House of Ruth, Inc.,provides a wide variety of services for victims of domestic violence. The services offered include, emergency shelter placement, transitional living program, children’s programs, child abuse treatment, career counseling, housing assistance, assistance with restraining orders, and abuse prevention education.