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In San Diego, unfortunately during COVID 19, the stay at home orders by the Governor of California have increased domestic violence. The pressures of all at home 24/7 and the economic crisis with many parents being laid off or furlough or terminated adds to the household stress. Not only parents but children can be affected. If DV is occurring, there is a strategy to protect yourself in San Diego Court even though closed and being scheduled to re open on May 26, 2020. Domestic violence, under the Family Law Codes, are listed as conduct. This conduct includes, but not limited to: assault; battery; sexual assaults; threats and harassment. Filing the pleadings for a TRO can be complex. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC has experienced family law attorneys available to assist you with the preparation of the pleadings, filing and legal service as well as appearing with you in court for your hearing. You can schedule a free in-person or virtual consultation [up to 30 minutes] by calling 800-769-4748.Self Help
It is not advised to handle the case yourself. Even experienced attorneys in TRO and DV and other cases are encouraged not to represent themselves. The process can be complex and also easy not to do correctly which results in denial of temporary restraining order even if meets legal standards for granting. You can represent yourself and do all but there are options. First, legal research on line is a good place to start. While you will not be doing all yourself, it is a good idea to understand as much as possible. For legal help, while not an attorney, the County of San Diego, through the Family Law Court, has assistance through an agency called the Family Law Facilitator. This agency will help you to prepare your pleadings but does not represent you and no attorney will appear with you in court. Here is the link and check as different procedures during COVID 19 when court is closed.San Diego Domestic Violence Clinic
Another option, which is no charge, is the Domestic Violence Clinic of San Diego. There in person legal services are now being offered remotely. Below is link to their website and there is information for your review. If you do not have internet access, for the cases which will be heard in the Vista and Chula Vista and downtown family law court, you can call 619-235-5656 ext. 118. For cases which will be heard in El Cajon, you can call same number. Their current hours are Monday and Tuesday from 8:30am-5:00pm and Wednesday from 8:30am-12:00pm. They advise, if you hare having a domestic violence emergency, to call 911. Here is the link and, as with the Family Law Facilitator, check their website for any changes.Attorney Representation
For many, hiring a lawyer is the best option as the process of preparing all the pleadings correctly, filing all the pleadings and serving legally can be complex and not following the law can result in motion being denied even if it would have been granted. An experienced domestic violence attorney, such as those at Doppelt and Forney, APLC, can guide you through this process and also represent you at the court hearing. Attorneys charge hourly rates or flat fees for temporary restraining orders. An hourly rate includes the rate per hour and a retainer [deposit] prior to legal work commencing and formal legal representation. The retainer is placed into a Client Trust Account which is authorized by the State Bar of California and the legal charges and costs are billed from this amount. Most family law attorneys in San Diego charge in increments of six minutes [.1 = 6 minutes; .5 = 30 minutes; 1.0 = 60 minutes. If not all of the retainer is used for the legal representation, then the unearned amount is refunded. If the retainer is used up, then another retainer would be requested. A flat fee is a fee for service. For example, for a domestic violence case such as a TRO, a flat fee may include the preparation of all the pleadings, service of the pleadings, filing of the pleadings, replies to any responsive pleadings and preparation for the trial as well as the trial. Attorneys charge different rates and it is advised to seek the advice of more than one attorney before making a decision. Many law firms, including Doppelt and Forney, APLC, offer a free in-person or virtual consultation and up to 30 minutes. The consultation is complimentary whether you hire the law firm or not.
Obtaining accurate and updated information is very important. At this time, while the San Diego Family Law Court and the Clerk’s Office is closed due to COVID 19, there is still procedure for victims of domestic violence for filing and serving a TRO. It is best to have the judicial council forms supplemented by a written declaration of your statement of facts and all evidence such as police reports, photographs of injuries, text message, e mails, voice mails and many others which document the conduct contained in Family Law Codes 6203 & 6320. The Law Office of Doppelt and Forney, APLC can help you through this most difficult process.