When is a restraining order necessary?
Restraining orders are often tied into domestic violence; domestic violence refers to abuse or threats of abuse that occurs between married couples, domestic partners, couples that live or lived together, or people that have a child together. Domestic violence is abuse that is:
- Either physically hurting or attempting to hurt someone intentionally or recklessly
- Sexual assault
- Making someone reasonably afraid they will be harmed or someone else will be harmed
- Harassing, stalking, disturbing the peace, threatening, hitting, or destroying a person's property
Domestic violence is not limited to just hitting or punching, it can include kicking, shoving, throwing objects, pulling hair, scaring a person, following them, keeping them from moving about freely, or even physically harming the family pets. In addition to physical abuse, domestic violence can include verbal threats, or emotional or psychological abuse. A victim does not have to be hit to be abused, and often times abusers employ a variety of tactics to gain control over the victim.
Obtaining a Domestic Violence Restraining Order
Victims of domestic violence can seek out a domestic violence restraining order, which is a court order that helps protect victims of domestic violence from their abuser, who is usually someone they have a close relationship with such as a boyfriend, girlfriend or a spouse. You can request a domestic violence restraining order if the person has abused or threatened to abuse you, and if you have a close relationship with that person. Qualifying relationships include:
- Married couples or registered domestic partners
- People that are separated or divorced
- People that are dating or used to date
- People that live together and are involved in an intimate relationship
- People that have a child together
- Close relatives (parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, in-law)
If you are a mother or father and your child is being abused by your spouse or your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can file a restraining order on behalf of your child in order to protect your child. The restraining order can also protect you and other family members as well. If your child is 12 or older, then he or she can file their own restraining order.
Effects of Restraining Orders
A restraining order can be a powerful instrument when it comes to stopping the abuse. It can tell your abuser that he or she cannot go near you, your children, your family, or anyone else who lives with you. It can tell the abuser to stay away from our home, your work, or your child's school. It can order him or her to move out of your house, it can prohibit them from owning a gun, and it can order them to pay child support or spousal support, or both.
A restraining order can tell them to stay away from your pets, it an order them to follow a child custody or visitation order, it can order them to pay certain bills, and it can order them to return certain property. For the abuser, the consequences of having a restraining order against them can be serious.
- The restrained person will be prohibited from going certain places.
- He or she may be ordered to move out of their own home.
- It may affect their ability to see or gain custody of their children.
- In most cases, he or she will not be allowed to own a gun. He or she will have to sell or turn over any guns they have and they won't be allowed to purchase a gun while the restraining order is in effect.
- If the person is a non-U.S. citizen, the restraining order may affect their immigration status.
- If the abuser violates the restraining order, he or she may be ordered to pay a fine, or go to jail, or both.
There are three types of restraining orders: Emergency Protective Orders (EPO), Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO), and Permanent Restraining Orders (PRO). EPOs can only be requested by law enforcement and they obtain these by calling a judge; these can be issued by a judge 24 hours a day and can last up to 7 days.
When someone goes to court asking for a restraining order, they will fill out the paperwork and explain their side of the story to the judge and why they think they need a restraining order. If the judge agrees that protection is necessary, then he or she will issue a temporary restraining order which will last between 20 and 25 days until the court hearing. Once the victim goes to court at their scheduled hearing for their TRO, the judge may decide to issue a "permanent" restraining order which can last up to 3 years. When the time runs out, the victim can request a new restraining order so they can remain protected.
Consult with a Family Lawyer in Modesto, CA
To learn more about restraining orders in Modesto, Stockton and Turlock, California, please contact a family law attorney from Scott Mitchell Law Incorporated. If you are a victim of domestic violence, we can guide you through the process of getting a restraining order and we can explain how restraining orders can impact child custody as well as divorce.