I’m Patricia Van Haren, the owner of The Law Office of Patricia C. Van Haren, and I am joined today by Sandy Wakim, another family law attorney and an associate with The Law Office of Patricia C. Van Haren. We would like to discuss domestic violence restraining orders, and everything we think you need to know about them!


Who Can You File Against?

Domestic violence restraining orders are under the jurisdiction of the Family Law Court and are issued against someone who has a qualifying relationship with you. This could be a current or former spouse, someone that you were dating or used to date, someone that you’ve lived with or have children with, or some other close relationship.


When Can You File?

A domestic violence restraining order can be filed at any point during the divorce. Once you have filed a request for a restraining order, and it is granted, you are then issued a temporary restraining order. This temporary restraining order will last approximately 21 days, at which point you will have a hearing set for a permanent restraining order.


What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is not limited to physical abuse. It can include harassment, stalking, and emotional abuse. Stalking and harassment may mean numerous repeated phone calls, text messages, or emails. Someone coming to your home uninvited can also qualify.

If there has been physical abuse, it is important to make a police report about the abuse. The police will be able to issue you an emergency protective order, which will enable you to have the time you need to file a restraining order in the Family Law Court.


What to Include in the Request for a Temporary Restraining Order?

The request for a temporary restraining order is heard on the paperwork only. You will have the chance to present evidence at the permanent restraining order hearing. The burden of proof is on the person who is seeking the restraining order. Therefore, if you have emails and text messages proving the abuse, you will want to attach that to your petition for the temporary restraining order.


What Happens After the Request Is Filed?

The restraining order is not enforceable until it is personally served. Afterward, the alleged abuser will have the chance to respond to the restraining order. If you are granted the permanent restraining order, it could last up to three or five years.

In the request for the restraining order, you can ask the court in the paperwork that certain orders are made regarding child custody, custody of pets, or living arrangements. For example, if the alleged abuser resides in your home, you may request that this person moves out, or you may request control over your cell phone numbers.

You may list your children or other qualifying individuals as other protected persons in your request for a restraining order.


Misuse of Restraining Orders

There may be times that someone files a false restraining order against you in order to gain advantage in a divorce case. If that is the case, you will want to provide evidence that the allegations against you are false. At the trail, you will be able to question the accuser and provide your own evidence.


If you have any questions regarding domestic violence restraining orders, please do not hesitate to shoot us an email or give us a call!