Family Law Court

Family Law Courts hear cases involving divorce (dissolution of marriage), nullity, legal separation, and paternity, including related issues of spousal support, child support, child custody and visitation, and community property.  Family Court also hears cases of domestic violence and elder abuse.
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What is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence can be physical violence, a verbal threat of physical violence, or a pattern of harassing behavior. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may qualify for filing a restraining order petition under the Domestic Violence Prevention Act.

The victim and the abuser must have a close relationship (e.g., married, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, live together, or used to live together as a couple), or be related (e.g., parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, or in-laws).

Domestic violence is also called "abuse". "Abuse" means to hurt, throw things, pull hair, follow, harass, sexually assault, stalk, break into the victim's home or work, destroy or steal the victim's property, intimidate or to threaten to do any of these things. Abuse can be verbal, written, emotional, or physical.

If you over the age of 65, you may qualify for filing an Elder Abuse/Dependent Adult Petition and Order for Protection. The Elder/Dependant Abuse Petition allows the Petitioner to get a restraining order for protection against physical abuse as well as financial abuse.

Abuse to an elder can be some of the following: threats, intimidation, pain, mental suffering, isolation, abduction, or other mistreatment. It can also mean financial abuse.

To qualify for an elder abuse petition the person must be over 65 or a dependent adult. A dependent adult is someone who is over the age of 18 and cannot make legal decisions for him or herself.

The elder or the elder’s legal caretaker may file the elder abuse petition against a family member, caretaker or acquaintance who is taking advantage of the elder.

If you don't qualify for a domestic violence restraining order (also known as a Domestic Violence Protection Act (DVPA) restraining order), or an Elder Abuse/Dependant Adult Petition, one of the following options may be appropriate:
  • Civil Harassment Restraining Order - If you need protection from someone who is not, or has not been, a partner and is not a close family member described above. (For example, neighbors, roommates, and co-workers.)
  • Workplace Violence Restraining Order - A business may file this form to protect employee(s).
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