Safety: As a victim of domestic violence your safety and the safety of your children and family are very important. Remember if you are making phone calls from home or using your computer at home that there are often ways that other people in your home can check calls and internet sites that you have visited.
If you are in danger now, call 911.
All restraining orders requests are filed and heard at the Watsonville court location at 1 Second Street, Watsonville, CA 95076. These restraining orders include domestic violence prevention, elder abuse prevention, civil harassment prevention, workplace violence, private postsecondary school violence prevention, and gun violence prevention restraining orders.
Getting Assistance at the Self Help Center
The Self Help Center located at the Courthouse in Watsonville assists people who do not have lawyers in applying for and responding to restraining orders. Staff provides instructions on how to complete court forms, how to file with the court, how to properly serve the other side, and how to prepare for your court hearing. See the Self Help Center's page for information about how to get help.
Where to File
All restraining order requests, modifications, terminations, and anything else associated with a restraining order filing are filed at the Watsonville court location at 1 Second Street, Room 300, Watsonville. If the initial restraining order request is brought to the Santa Cruz court location, Room 110, it will be scanned to the Watsonville Court location; however, no subsequent papers can be brought for filing in Santa Cruz.
All restraining orders may be submitted for filing electronically through the e-file system. You must register with an e-filing provider found here. Your forms need to be in pdf format to upload into the e-filing system. Instructions on how to e-file are linked on the right hand side under Related Links. Also, read through the Electronic Filing page.
E-filing a Domestic Violence Restraining Order is at no cost to you. Make sure to follow the instructions for setting up and selecting a Waiver Account in the instructions referenced above. This will tell the system not to charge a fee for the e-filing process.
If you are representing yourself, we strongly suggest you contact the Self Help Center before electronically filing your forms. Review of your forms can be done in person or by email. This will ensure you file the correct legal documents to address your specific legal issue. Submitting the wrong paperwork or incomplete paperwork can result in the loss of your filing fee (if the paperwork is wrong and you paid a filing fee), delaying your legal action if papers are not filled out correctly or forms are incomplete, or you may not get the legal results you want.
Ex Parte Filing Process
Restraining Orders must be filed with the clerk’s office no later than 10:00 am for the request to be considered that same day.
All court hearings will take place at the Watsonville court location. Date, time and Department number will be assigned by the clerk at the time of filing. You may appear in-person or remotely for your hearing. If you plan on appearing remotely, you will need to give notice of your intent to appear remotely to the court and the other party by filing out form RA-010. You will need to submit your evidence ahead of time. Make sure you read the handout on evidence submission and video/audio evidence presentation on the Remote Appearance page. If you need assistance regarding remote appearances on the day of your hearing, call the clerk's office at (831) 786-7368.
If you receive notice from the other party that they will be appearing remotely, you will need to follow the same remote appearance guidelines on evidence submission referenced above.
Video and audio evidence you wish the judge to review on the day of your hearing must be presented according to the guidelines on the Remote Appearance page.
Local and State Domestic Violence Resources
- Domestic Violence Resources
- Recursos de Violencia Doméstica
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233
- Safety Plan information on creating a safety plan.
Where to Get Forms and Additional Assistance with the Forms
You can obtain restraining order court forms at a variety of locations including:
- Online at the California Courts website
- California Courts Self Help site lists the forms needed for each type of restraining order.
- Complete the Odyssey Guide & File interview for Restraining Orders. This does not allow for automatic e-filing. It is strongly suggested you still have the Self Help Center review your completed paperwork.
- The Santa Cruz Law Library located at 701 Ocean Street, Room 70
- Local Domestic Violence agencies that assist with forms can be found using the Domestic Violence Resources link above.