Serve your long-term restraining order

After a judge grants you a long-term restraining order, there may be additional steps you need to take, like serving (giving) a copy of the restraining order to the other side.

If you were ordered to serve and you don't, the police may not be able to enforce your order.


How to serve a restraining order

  • Serve by mail or in person

    Look at form DV-130, item 30(b), to see if the judge ordered you to serve by mail or in person. If you are ordered to serve by mail, this means your server only has to mail a copy of the restraining order. But, serving someone in person is always best. When you mail court papers, it may be hard to prove that the person actually received a copy especially if the person moves a lot. 

  • Choose a server

    You can't serve your court papers yourself.

    • Have the sheriff serve 
      If you have an address for the restrained person, the sheriff can serve for free. If you've asked the sheriff to serve court papers before, you will follow the same steps as you did before unless the restrained person has moved to another county.
      You will need to give the sheriff a copy of the restraining order (form DV-130). To find out how to get a copy to the sheriff, contact the sheriff’s department in the county where the restrained person is located. Some sheriffs will let you email a copy of the form and some will require you to deliver a copy in person. In Shasta or Trinity county, contact the marshal, not the sheriff, for help with service.
    • If you don't want to use the sheriff

      Choose someone that is:

      • 18 years old or over, and 
      • Not involved in this court case. 

      Your server can be someone you know or a professional process server you hire.

      Think about your server's safety. If you have any concerns, consider using the sheriff. 
  • Give your server a copy of your restraining order

    Your server will need a copy of your restraining order (form DV-130 and any other form that is included in your restraining order). The sheriff may have paperwork you need to complete. If you need help completing forms, you may want to bring someone with you to the sheriff's office.

  • Have your server complete a form

    A form called "proof of service" must be filed with the court to show that the restrained person was served.

    • Sheriff
      If you asked the sheriff to serve your restraining order, they will complete a proof of service form for you. Ask the sheriff if they will file the form with the court. If they will not, you will need to take it to the court to file.
    • Not the sheriff
      If your server is someone you know or a process server, give your server one of these forms:
      • Form DV-200 if your restraining order is going to be served in person, or
      • Form DV-250 if your restraining order is going to be served by mail.
  • File the proof of service form

    Make a copy of the completed proof of service form. Take it to the courthouse to file with the court clerk. The clerk will keep the original and return the copy to you. Keep the copy of the proof of service with your restraining order. 

    Then you won't need to file the proof of service. Make sure the sheriff gives you a copy or you can get one from the court clerk. Keep the copy of the proof of service with your restraining order.

Get help if your restraining order is violated

Call 9-1-1 if you want the police to enforce your restraining order.

Your restraining order is enforceable (will be honored) in all 50 states and U.S. territories, the District of Columbia (D.C.), and all tribal lands.

For resources and help with safety planning, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). TTY 1-800-787-3224.

The hotline is available 24/7 to help victims and survivors of domestic violence. You can find more information or chat at

Enforce your restraining order

What's next?

Now that you have a restraining order, you may need to enforce it if the restrained person violates the order. Also, there are other steps you may want to take to help enforce the order.


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