How to Avoid Unfair Judges at Your Restraining Order Hearing


Navigating a restraining order court hearing in California, whether representing yourself or with an attorney, can be a daunting task. This blog post delves into a crucial piece of advice that could significantly influence the outcome of your hearing, particularly focusing on the role of a judge pro tem.

Understanding the Role of a Judge Pro Tem

In many busy counties in California, restraining order cases are often seen as less critical by the courts, compared to other types of cases. This perception can lead to the appointment of a judge pro tem, a volunteer attorney who may not specialize in the specific area of law pertinent to your case.

The Risks of Agreeing to a Judge Pro Tem

  • Lack of Specialization: Judge pro tems are often assigned to cases outside their area of expertise to avoid conflicts of interest. This can mean they might not be well-versed in the specifics of restraining order law.
  • Limited Experience: These attorneys, although having at least 10 years of legal experience, may not have current or relevant experience in the area of law they are presiding over.
  • Misinterpretation of Law: There is a risk of misinterpretation or misunderstanding of the legal standards and requirements specific to restraining orders, which can adversely affect the outcome of your case.

Why Saying ‘No’ to a Judge Pro Tem Could Be Beneficial

Opting out of having your case heard by a judge pro tem could lead to a more experienced and specialized judge handling your case. While this might result in a continuance or a transfer to another courtroom, it could significantly increase the chances of a fair and legally sound hearing.

Considerations for Respondents and Petitioners

  • For Respondents: Continuing a temporary restraining order due to a court date rescheduling can be challenging, especially if it restricts access to your home, children, or other critical aspects of your life. However, proceeding with a judge pro tem might risk extending these restrictions permanently if the hearing does not go in your favor.
  • For Petitioners: The proper understanding and application of the law are vital to ensure your reasons for requesting a restraining order are accurately evaluated.

The Importance of a Well-Informed Decision

Whether or not to proceed with a judge pro tem is a crucial decision. If your attorney suggests going ahead with it, don’t hesitate to ask for their reasoning. It’s essential to weigh the risks and benefits based on the specifics of your case.


The decision to accept or decline a judge pro tem in a restraining order hearing is significant and can have far-reaching implications on the outcome of your case. It’s crucial to be well-informed and consider all aspects before making this decision. If you’re preparing for such a hearing and seeking more comprehensive guidance, consider exploring structured courses that offer in-depth insights into navigating these legal proceedings.

Related Posts