There is a criminal case against my abuser already; do I still need a restraining order?

It is a good idea to obtain a restraining order even if there is a criminal case against your abuser. In the criminal case the district attorney, on behalf of the State of California, is in control of the case. You are a victim witness, but not a party and may not even be notified when the criminal protective order is terminated.

In a civil restraining order case, you are the petitioner and are in control of what is requested in the case. In a civil restraining order case you can get child custody, child support, spousal support, pet protection, and even some property distribution orders that you cannot get in a criminal case. You can also renew the civil restraining order for five years or even the rest of your life–something not possible in a criminal case.

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