Domestic Violence Restraining Orders During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, everyone in our communities have been instructed to stay at home. Schools and businesses are closed, and many are trying to work from home. This new normal combined with the stress of the financial instability facing almost everyone, may cause a strain on relationships. In relationships that are vulnerable to domestic violence, the stay at home instructions may create an untenable situation. How can you stay at home with someone who is an abuser and remain safe during this very stressful time?

The good news is that help is still available in these situations. Even though the courts are closed to the public, all courts are still able to process temporary restraining orders, which are considered essential or time-sensitive matters. As such, a victim of domestic violence can still seek both law enforcement and court’s assistance. If law enforcement is called, they may arrest the abuser and remove him/her from the home. They will offer an emergency protective order that is good for three days, which will give the victim sufficient time to file a request for domestic violence restraining order with the court.  The ex-parte (emergency, without notice) application can be submitted to the court to obtain Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO). The court has the authority to order the abuser to move-out of the home even during the time when a TRO is pending.

After a TRO is issued, normally, a hearing will take place within 21 days to determine whether a permanent restraining order should be issued. Now, however, due to COVID-19, all TRO’s that are due to expire between 3/17/2020 and 4/16/2020 will be extended for another 21 days until a hearing can take place. Further continuances are possible in the future.

As such, if you are a victim of domestic violence, seek help. You can get a TRO and a move-out order to protect yourself. For more information and a free consultation, call Marina Manoukian, Head of Family Law at ADLI Law Group, PC at (213) 623-6551.