Victims experiencing abuse, stalking, or infringement have the right to be safe from contact with their abuser. A restraining order or protective order grants victims legal protection against their abuser. Every state has specifications on restraining orders. However, all states have protective orders and restraining orders legally binding abusers to stay away.
Filing a restraining order is emotionally taxing, but will ultimately keep you and your family safe from your abuser. A Lawyer’s expertise ensures that all evidence is correctly gathered and victims are protected.
You might file a restraining order if the other party has:
- Physically or psychologically abused you or your family.
- Posed a dangerous threat to you or your family.
- Hidden, stolen, or moved your assets without your permission.
Less commonly, restraining orders are also used during infringement lawsuits if the other party is illegally distributing unlicensed patents.
Types of Restraining Orders
Depending on your relationship with the other person, the court you file with can change. Most restraining orders are filed by abuse victims. However, there are also some issued by the court.
If your abuser was a spouse, family member, significant other, friend, or domestic partner, then you would file in family court. Even if you have children with this person or are still living with them, you can file for a restraining order if they are a threat to your safety.
If your relationship with the other party is not a close relationship that would qualify for family court, you would file your restraining order under a civil court. For instance, let’s say you have an old boss that won’t stop calling you or showing up to your new job, you would get a restraining order from a civil court to cease their harassment.
The criminal courts will issue a certain type of restraining order during the course of a criminal hearing. These restraining orders cannot be renewed when they expire.
How To File For a Restraining Order
First, get application forms from your lawyer, court clerk’s office, or domestic violence shelter. In these forms, you’ll need to explain why you’re filing and which court you’ll be filing in. During this process, more information or forms may be required. Be sure to clarify with your lawyer what you may need to provide. If there is some information you don’t have about the other party, you can just leave it blank.
Next, make several copies of the forms and file the paperwork with the court. It’s always better to have more copies than you think you need. When you file, the other party is issues a temporary restraining order (TRO). Most TRO’s last for about 10 days or until you are both asked to appear in court. The police or the sheriff’s office will serve the other party at this time. You do not need to serve the other party. At this point, the other party cannot contact you, and you can call the police if the other party does violate the TRO.
Finally, carry a copy of your restraining order at all times. If the police are called, they’ll be much more understanding and prompt. If the other party does violate the restraining order by committing a crime like stalking or harassing you, the police will file a criminal complaint.
While you’re waiting for your court date, keep a detailed account of everything. If the other party is attempting to contact you, keep a detailed case of everything and call the police. While gathering evidence, look for:
- Detailed accounts of all interactions including calls, texts, emails, and social media posts.
- Medical records from doctors and therapists to show proof of physical, emotional, and psychological injuries.
- Copies of previous police reports involving the other party.
- Evidence on the other party’s past that shows dangerous recurring tendencies with past relationships, employers, and family.
- Witnesses that may be willing to testify against the other party.
Inform all employers, schools, day cares, and other establishments that you and your family frequent about your restraining order. Give them a copy of the restraining order so they can call the police if your abuser shows up. There are log sheets you can download if the other party is cyber stalking you, or you are frequently experiencing incidents with the other party.
Filing a restraining order against someone you’re close to is incredibly emotional and mentally draining. Remember that a restraining order will help keep you and your family safe from abuse and harm. If you want know know your legal options, call one of our Premier Partners that specialize in domestic disputes for free advice at (844) 980-1574.
If you need to speak to someone about the abuse you’re experiencing, call the National Domestic Hotline at 1(800) 799-7233 to talk with a counselor or an advocate.
For more information on domestic abuse, visit the Women’s Health Organization on resources to help you navigate issues with your abuser.