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Restraining orders and legal separation can keep a spouse safe

On Behalf of | Jun 30, 2023 | Domestic Violence, Family Law |

A victim of domestic violence in California can seek a temporary restraining order against their spouse and at the same time can seek a legal separation. The combination of these legal protections can help a victim of domestic violence live in a safe environment and begin the divorce process, even if they are new to California.

What is a temporary restraining order?

A temporary restraining order prevents the abusive spouse from disturbing the peace of the victim spouse. This can include ordering the abusive spouse to leave the marital home.

If the victim spouse chooses to move out of the marital home, a temporary restraining order can order the abusive spouse to stay away from the victim spouse’s home.

If a spouse violates a temporary restraining order, they could be held in contempt of court and possibly be arrested.

By ordering the abusive spouse to stay away from the home of the victim spouse, the victim spouse can have a safe place to live as they go through the process of legally ending their marriage.

Why get a legal separation and a temporary restraining order?

A temporary restraining order does not legally end a marriage. If an abused spouse wants to end their marriage, they can start off by pursuing both a temporary restraining order and a legal separation at the same time.

A legal separation also does not end a marriage. But those who pursue a legal separation in court can request the court to issue temporary orders regarding child custody, child support and property rights.

After the legally separated couple has met the state’s residency requirements for divorce, they can change their legal separation order to a divorce filing automatically.

To file for divorce in California, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months and in the county where they are seeking a divorce for at least three months.

A legal separation can be sought immediately upon moving to California.

So, pursuing a legal separation can confer rights while waiting to divorce, and a temporary restraining order keeps a spouse safe until they can file for divorce, even if they are new to California.


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