COVID-19 concerns have caused all courts to obtain emergency orders severely limiting their operations. However, if you are a victim of domestic violence, you can obtain an immediate restraining order. All courts remain open to issue emergency domestic violence restraining orders. Hearings on the orders are being postponed (more below), but you can obtain protection now pending the hearing. Also, law enforcement and emergency services personnel continue to operate as “essential governmental functions,” during the shelter in place orders. You can call the police if you are experiencing domestic violence.
Below are the shelter in place orders and pertinent court announcements regarding the operation of family law proceedings. Note that each county has a slightly different plan.
San Mateo County
Restraining order operations: “Permanent restraining order hearings scheduled to occur within the next thirty days will be continued. Existing issued temporary restraining orders will be re-issued and extended until the next scheduled hearing date.”
Court documents are being accepted via e-Filing: http://sanmateocourt.org/online_services/efiling.php
Court closed for general business; open for restraining order operations:
“[T]he Court will continue to accept requests for Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) and applications for emergency relief in Family Law and Probate matters, via drop box only, at the following locations: Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland: TROs and emergency Probate applications; Hayward Hall of Justice: TROs and emergency Family Law applications.” http://www.alameda.courts.ca.gov/Resources/Documents/Alameda%20Court%20Closure%20Press%20Release%202020-03-17(3).pdf
San Francisco County
Restraining order operations: “All family law matters, including mediation, but excluding ex parte requests, temporary restraining orders, child abduction due process hearings, and domestic violence restraining orders where visitation or custody is an issue will be continued on a rolling basis for 30 days.
Domestic violence restraining orders (DVRO) where visitation or custody is an issue will continue to be heard on Wednesday mornings at 8:30 a.m. in Department 403.
… The Clerk’s Office in Room 402 of the Civic Center Courthouse will be closed during the period of Tuesday, March 17, through Wednesday, April 15, 2020. A drop box is available for filings in the lobby of the Civic Center Courthouse and will be checked throughout each court day.”
Santa Clara County
Domestic violence restraining orders are “essential functions” that will continue to go forward. http://www.scscourt.org/
Any judge of the Superior Court may extend by not more than 21 days the duration of any temporary restraining order that would otherwise expire from March 16, 2020 through April 5, 2002.
“All clerk’s office functions will be closed to the public while the order remains in place.”