Respond to domestic violence restraining order

"Respond" means to let the judge and the other side know whether you agree or disagree with the request for restraining order, and why. If you want to respond in writing, you can complete a form and turn it in to the court. Responding in writing is optional and there is no penalty if you don't. 

If you were arrested recently, are on probation, or have a criminal case open, you should talk to your criminal lawyer before you put anything in writing. If you don't have a lawyer, you can go to a Self-Help Center to learn more about your options.

Before you start

This website has information to walk you through the basic process. But, you may need more help or legal advice. 

Anything you put in your papers could be used against you in a criminal case. Talk to a lawyer if you have any concerns.

  • If you don't have a lawyer, free help from your local court may be available.  Learn more about your local court’s Self-Help Center.  

  • Hire a lawyer to help you with all or a part of your case. It’s possible to go through this process without a lawyer. But, having a restraining order against you may have a lot of consequences, and you may want to hire a lawyer. 

How to respond to a request for restraining order

  • Fill out the Response form (DV-120)

    • Fill out the form, called Response to Request for Domestic Violence Restraining Order (form DV-120)
    • Include a copy of any evidence you have (pictures, text messages). If you need more time to put together evidence, you can let the judge know at your hearing (court date).
    • If the other side is asking for child custody or visitation orders, you will also need to fill out form DV-125, Response to Request for Child Custody and Visitation Orders.  
    • If the other side is asking for you to pay support or lawyer's fees, you will also need to fill out a form called an Income and Expense Declaration (form FL-150). This form asks how much money you earn and what your expenses are. Complete this form and:  
      • Attach proof of your income (like paystubs) from the past two months to the form.   

      • Do not attach a copy of your last year’s taxes. Bring a copy (if you have one) to your court date.  

  • File (turn in) your forms to the court

    You will not have to pay a fee to file these forms. 

    Filing your forms at a courthouse: Make two additional copies of your forms. Take your original and two copies to the courthouse listed on the papers you were served. At the courthouse, you’ll give all copies to the court clerk. The clerk will keep the original, stamp your copies, and return the copies to you. One copy is for your records. The other copy is for the other side.

    Filing your forms online: You can file your papers online (called e-filing). Go to your court website to find out how to e-file.


What's next?

Once you’ve completed and filed your forms, you'll need to have a copy mailed to the other side. This is called service and you will need to find another adult to do this for you. 

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