How To Request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

This article will explain how to request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) in San Diego County.

What is a DVRO?

A DVRO is a court order that helps protect people who have been abused or threatened with abuse. Make sure you qualify before requesting one.

You and the person you want restrained must be one of of the following:

  • married or registered partners,
  • divorced or separated,
  • dating or used to date,
  • living together or used to live together,
  • parents together of a child, or
  • closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law).

Abuse means to:

  • intentionally or recklessly cause or attempt to cause bodily injury to you;
  • sexually assault you;
  • place you or another person in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
  • molest, attack, hit, stalk, threaten, batter, harass, telephone, or contact you; or
  • destroy your personal property.

Abuse can be spoken, written, or physical.


The Judge may decide the day of filing whether or not to make temporary orders, depending on when you submit your application for a DVRO. If you receive a temporary restraining order, you must have someone who is at least 18 years of age personally serve the restrained person with a copy of the order. The sheriff or marshal will do it for freeĀ if you ask. Make sure the proof of service is filed with the court prior to the hearing date.

The court will decide whether to grant your request for a permanent order at the hearing. It is advisable to have legal representation in advance of your court hearing. If you cannot afford an attorney, and need help completing the forms, visit the Domestic Violence Clinic inside the Superior Court near your residence.

Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline if you need information regarding shelters or social services programs in your area.