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Know the Laws: California

UPDATED January 2, 2017

Restraining Orders to Prevent Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse

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Basic info and definitions

back to topWhat is a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse?

You can get a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent abuse if you are the victim of abuse and you are elderly (65 or older) or you are a dependent adult.*  You do not have to have a specific relationship with the abuser to get an order.

* Cal Wel. & Inst. Code §§ 15657.03(a)(1), 15610.27

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of elder or dependent adult abuse?

For the purposes of getting a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse, “abuse” is defined as:

  • physical abuse;
  • neglect;
  • abandonment;
  • isolation;
  • abduction;
  • other treatment with resulting physical harm or pain or mental suffering;
  • a caregiver withholding goods or services that are necessary to avoid your physical harm or mental suffering;
  • financial abuse (as defined in Section 15610.30).*

 * Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15610.07(a)

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back to topWhat types of restraining orders to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders: a temporary ex parte order and a final order.

If you ask for a temporary ex parte restraining order, the judge will decide whether or not to issue the order on the same day that you file for it (or, if it’s filed too late in the day, on the next day the court is in session).*  If the judge grants you a temporary order, it will last until your hearing date for a final order, which is generally within  21 days (but could be within 25 days if there is  “good cause”).**  At your final hearing date, the judge will decide to continue or cancel the order.  If the judge grants you a final order, it could last for up to five years.***

* Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(e)
** Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(f)
*** Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(i)(1)

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back to topAm I eligible for a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse?

If you are 65 years old or older (an “elder”) or a dependent adult who is being abused, you can apply for a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse.*  A dependent adult is a person between the ages of 18 and 64 who has physical or mental limitations that restrict his/her ability to carry out normal activities or to protect his/her rights or who is admitted as an inpatient to a 24-hour health facility.**  

You can also file for a restraining order on behalf of an abused elder or dependent adult if you are:

  • his/her conservator or trustee;
  • his/her attorney-in-fact, acting within the authority of the power of attorney;
  • appointed as a guardian ad litem for the elder or dependent adult; or
  • any other person legally authorized to seek such relief.***

* Cal Wel. & Inst. Code §§ 15657.03(a)(1), 15610.27
** Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15610.23(b)
*** Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(a)(2)

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Getting the order

back to topWhat are the steps to get a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse?

The steps to get a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence restraining order.  If you have any questions, call the clerk of court.  You can find the contact information for your clerk on the CA Courthouse Locations page.

You can find forms related to restraining orders to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse on the court’s website.

 

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back to topHow much do they cost?

There is no fee to file a petition for a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent abuse or to later modify, reissue or enforce the order.  You also do not need to pay a fee for law enforcement to serve any order issued in your case.*

* Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(q),(r)

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back to topHow can a restraining order to prevent elder or dependent adult abuse help me?

A temporary ex parte order or an order issued after a hearing can do any of the following:

  1. prohibit the abuser from harassing, intimidating, molesting, attacking, striking, stalking, threatening, sexually assaulting, battering, abusing, and telephoning you (including, but not limited to, making annoying telephone calls);
  2. prohibit the abuser from destroying your personal property or disturbing your peace;
  3. prohibit the abuser from contacting you, either directly or indirectly, by mail or otherwise;
  4. order the abuser to stay a specified distance away from you; and
  5. make the abuser move out of the home you share if certain conditions are met.*

Note: The protections in numbers 1 – 4, above, can also apply to the victim’s family or household members or to the conservator upon showing that there is “good cause” to include them.**

* Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(b)(3),(d)
** Cal Wel. & Inst. Code § 15657.03(b)(3)(A)

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