A Restraining Order, sometimes called a protective order is an order issued by a judge that restricts an individual’s ability to take certain actions.
When to Get a Restraining Order
Restraining Orders are most commonly associated with criminal scenarios involving harassment or abuse, but they can be useful in a variety of civil scenarios as well. Situations where a Restraining Order can be helpful include:
- Instructing parties involved in a lawsuit not to interact with each other;
- Protecting an abused spouse or partner from contact or harm from their abuser; and
- Directing stalkers or harassers to keep appropriate distance.
Restraining Orders can be temporary or permanent. Temporary orders are issued quickly but only when the situation demands immediate action to avoid harm. Permanent Restraining Orders take more evidence and evaluation given the long-term consequences.
How to Secure a Restraining Order
The process for securing a Restraining Order may differ depending on the state and the scenario for which the order is required. The process is likely to include:
- Completion of required paperwork detailing your situation and requests;
- An appearance or filing in court followed by contacting the appropriate law officials
- A decision by a judge if a temporary Restraining Order is warranted; and
- A hearing for a permanent Restraining Order, which will require arguments and evidence that convince the judge the order is necessary to prevent continuing or imminent harm
If granted, the order will be very specific as to what actions the restrained individual can or can’t take. If an order is granted and subsequently violated, the police are responsible for enforcement.