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Mutual Restraining Orders

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What are Mutual Restraining Orders?

Mutual restraining orders are a specific type of restraining order issued in some divorce cases.  Basically, mutual restraining orders restrict both partners in the divorce case from taking certain actions, such as contacting one another or communicating with one another. 

The restraining order may also prohibit the parties from coming within a certain distance from one another, especially if physical violence is an issue in the case.  In a divorce case, mutual restraining orders usually require the mutual consent of the parties, who then voluntarily submit to the terms of the restraining order.

When are Mutual Restraining Orders Issued?

Generally speaking, in any divorce proceeding, it is not advisable for the parties to discuss legal matters with one another without each party having their attorney present.  However, in some cases the parties may need additional protection, which would then require a mutual restraining order.

Mutual restraining orders are typically issued if the following factors are met:

  • Each party has presented written evidence of domestic violence or abuse
  • The court finds that both parties acted as aggressors
  • Neither party had acted primarily out of self-defense

Unlike other kinds of restraining orders where only one party may be at fault, both parties are generally held to be at fault in a mutual restraining order.  This means that both partners need to follow the terms stated in the order.

What if a Mutual Restraining Order is Violated?

Again, the main purpose of a mutual restraining order is to protect the parties from harming each other.  If one of the parties violates the restraining order, they can face additional penalties that result if they harm the other party. 

In addition, the party that is in violation may also face other legal consequences, such as being held in contempt of court, or having to pay extra court fines.  The violation may also affect their rights in other areas, such as the right to child custody or their rights to child visitation. 

Do I Need a Lawyer When Filing for a Mutual Restraining Order?

The legal expertise of a lawyer is generally required in every divorce case.  This is especially true if you will need to file for a mutual restraining order, as these can be complicated to deal with.  A qualified attorney will be able to help you determine the proper course of action, so that you can receive the protection that you need.  Also, your lawyer can be on hand to represent you in court during the formal court hearings and meetings.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 06-17-2016 11:07 AM PDT

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