Temporary Restraining Orders: A Necessary Legal Tool or a Weapon?

While most of the public likely view restraining orders as a legal tool to protect individuals when they’re facing a threat, temporary restraining orders and protective orders for domestic abuse in particular are often used as a weapon to attack the credibility and lives of defendants without any evidence.


Obtaining these protective orders for domestic abuse is not as difficult as you might think. All one must do is head down to the courthouse and complete a form requesting that a temporary restraining order be issued. In the form, they must identify a couple of instances of abuse and sign an affidavit.


The burden of proof is minimal. Indeed, the filer never sees a judge and the orders are granted nearly every time.


If a child is involved and the judge believes their welfare is at risk, they can grant the order on behalf of the minor as well. If it is granted on behalf of the child, temporary sole custody of the child is awarded to the complaining party pending a hearing.


Moreover, if the defendant is living with the complainant, the defendant must vacate the shared residence until a hearing or an order is issued. The process, which can be two weeks or more, takes a great emotional and financial toll on the parties involved.


While restraining orders are a very big necessity for people who are abused, they are often used inappropriately by people who are seeking to use it as a tool to gain custody of their children.


If the complaining party has any semblance of a case, they will be granted an attorney at no cost from the IRIS domestic violence center. Meanwhile, the defendant often appears in court unrepresented and unprepared while the complainant has a qualified attorney by their side.


The outcomes of these situations tend to be disastrous for the defendant. If they lose the hearing, a protective order will be granted that can last from 6-24 months. The defendant will be ordered to vacate and remain off the shared property, and they could lose custody of their children. To put salt in the wound, the defendant must pay court fees and fees to the IRIS center for its legal representation of the complaint.


Furthermore, the defendant’s reputation and legal record will be tarnished, which in some cases can lead to the loss of employment and general difficulty with background checks.


Clearly, it’s essential to have a skilled, experienced attorney when you walk into a protective order hearing as the defendant.


We recommend you consult with a family law attorney who has experience handling restraining orders.


Contact us today and let us help fight your battle. We’ll be happy to provide a confidential consultation and address any of your questions and concerns to help you make an informed decision regarding legal strategy and representation.

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