Page 35 - 2011 Guide to Family Violence Laws

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This section is about Restraining
Orders. It answers the following
What is a restraining order and
how can it help me?
Page 30
Can I get a restraining order?
Page 33
Do I need an attorney? Who else
can help me?
Page 36
What do I have to do to get a
restraining order by myself?
What is a restraining order?
A restraining order is an order made
by a judge in the Family Court. In
the restraining order the judge can
order your partner not to hurt or
harass you. The judge may also
order your partner to move out of
your home and order that you have
temporary custody of your children.
There is no fee for filing a
restraining order in court and the
State pays for the marshals to serve
restraining orders.
If I have a protective order from
criminal court do I need a
restraining order from the civil
In some situations you may need a
restraining order
a protective
order to get all the court ordered
protection available to you.
Protective orders can end at any
time and usually last until the
criminal case ends. However, a
judge may order that the protective
order continue if your partner is
convicted of a family violence crime
and is sentenced to a period of
probation. Protective orders do not
usually include orders of temporary
visitation or custody.
Therefore, if you have a protective
order, you may also want a
restraining order if you need a court
order that will last for a definite
period of time or if you need
immediate, emergency orders
regarding custody or visitation. If
your children are at risk because of
your partner and you have a
protective order that includes orders
that your partner stay away from
the children, then you could wait to
resolve visitation or custody issues
in a divorce or custody action.
However, the protective order may
NOT last until you get orders from a
judge in a custody or divorce action.
Therefore you may need a
restraining order that includes
temporary visitation and custody
orders to fill the gap between when
the protective order ends and the
divorce or custody orders are made
by a judge. You have a right to
apply for a restraining order even if
you already have a protective order.
It is the judge's decision whether or
not to grant your request.
How will a restraining order help
me if I am being abused?
If the person abusing you is
(hitting) you or
committing other crimes, then he
can be arrested without a
restraining order. Although he may
be arrested without a restraining