The purpose of a domestic violence restraining order is to prevent future acts of abuse. This includes verbal abuse, sexual assault, intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury, and many other unwanted forms of harassment.
There is no excuse for domestic violence and this article is not condoning this behavior in any way. However, the unfortunate truth is that many individuals seek restraining orders for the wrong reasons. Whether pressured by friends of family, out of spite, or for some other reason, many individuals move forward with restraining orders knowing that they are not the victims of abuse.
Read all of the documents. If you are served with a restraining order make sure that you carefully read all of the paperwork. The court may have issued a temporary restraining order against you pending the permanent restraining order hearing. Make sure that you adhere to these court orders, no matter how much you disagree with them.
Figure out your hearing date. You will be given notice of the permanent restraining order hearing in the paperwork that you receive. Even if the court does not issue temporary restraining orders, you still need to show up to the hearing. This is your opportunity to tell the court your side of the story. It is important to remember that the court may still issue a permanent restraining order against you even if you do not show up to the hearing.
Do not take this matter lightly. Having a restraining order in place against you will be life altering. A restraining order can restrict you in many ways by ordering you to keep a certain distance away from the protected person or persons, their work, and other places. In addition, the court can order you to move out of the place where the protected person lives, and may affect your ability to come in contact with your children. Remember that a restraining order can last for multiple years.
If possible, contact an attorney. The threat of having a restraining order in place against you can be overwhelming and scary. Although results can never be guaranteed, consulting an attorney can exponentially increase your likelihood of being successful in court. An attorney can walk to you through the process, have a realistic conversation with you about your expectations, and vindicate your position in court.