If you are a victim of domestic violence, immediately report any incidents to the local authorities (police) as soon as possible. You may then seek a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) to protect yourself from the abusive person. A TRO is a court order that states that a person must refrain from certain activities or stay away from a particular place. Some states refer to restraining orders as protective orders.
How Do I Get a Temporary Restraining Order?
A TRO is issued after a party appears in court and explains to the court why a restraining order is necessary. Typically, the other party is not present. If the court finds that a TRO is necessary, it will most likely be issued the same day. The court also will schedule an Order to Show Cause hearing so that both parties may appear and tell the court why a more permanent restraining order should or should not be issued. The Order to Show Cause hearing will usually occur 15-20 days after the TRO is issued.
The TRO becomes effective as soon as it is served on the person who is being restrained (the alleged abuser). The police will serve the TRO for you. The TRO will remain in effect until the Order to Show Cause hearing. Any violations of a restraining order will result in punishment for the violator.
What If the Court Is Closed?
If the court is closed, contact your local police department. In some jurisdictions, the police have the power to issue an emergency protective order. The emergency protective order has the same effect as a TRO and lasts until the next business day when the court is open.
How Do I Get a More Permanent Restraining Order?
At the Order to Show Cause hearing, both parties will be permitted to show the court why a more permanent restraining order should or should not be issued. After hearing the evidence, the court can decide whether there is sufficient reason to issue a more permanent restraining order and order the alleged abuser to continue to refrain from certain activities or to stay away from particular places.
Do I Need a Lawyer to get a Restraining Order?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, immediately contact the local authorities. Hiring an experienced family attorney is also an important tool for your own benefit. A family law attorney can inform you of your legal rights and remedies, assist you in obtaining a restraining order, and assist you in obtaining any other protections that are necessary for you and your loved ones.