Are you in a situation where you fear for your own safety or the safety of your children? Court-ordered 209A abuse prevention orders, or restraining orders, are often the best way to prevent further incidents of abuse, to get an abuser out of your home (even if his name is also on the mortgage deed or lease), and to create a written record of a history of abuse.
What Are Restraining Orders?
According to Shapiro Law Group, restraining orders are court-issued documents stating that the abuser cannot contact the person filing the restraining order, directly or indirectly. They must avoid the person’s home, school, place of business or other locales they frequent. If the two parties live together, the abuser must vacate the home. Custody rights or visitation of the children may be denied. However, the abuser must continue to pay rent, mortgage or utilities on the shared residence.
It’s true that a piece of paper cannot actually save or defend someone’s life if they are in an abusive relationship, but restraining orders also ensure that any registered firearms will be surrendered. The punishment for breaking restraining orders is swift and severe. Often, that piece of paper will send a powerful message to your abuser that you have the law on your side and you mean business.
Do You Need a Family Lawyer for Your Restraining Order?
It is free to obtain a 209A restraining order, and you may do so without legal counsel, but this may not be a path you wish to take on your own. Once you file for a temporary 10-day restraining order to help ensure your immediate safety, you’ll appear in court to share your side of the story. Your abuser, at that time, will also have the right to defend himself. This can be an emotional and anxiety-filled time. If all goes well, the judge will order a one-year restraining order.
In addition, the paperwork, hearings and the implications may be complicated and difficult to understand, especially if you are contemplating divorce, expecting a custody battle or going through a challenging break-up. The right divorce attorneys or family lawyers can assist in this process with compassion and understanding. They can also help you take the steps to ensure yours and your children’s safety throughout the process, while protecting the rights of all involved in the case.
The Next Steps Following Restraining Orders
Once you’ve obtained a one-year restraining order, you’ll want to take the next step with your divorce attorneys to end the marriage. If you aren’t married, but have children together, you may still face a custody battle or a fight to get child support.
The right family lawyers can assist you with your case from beginning to end, from that first panicked phone call after you’ve obtained a temporary restraining order, all the way to reaching a child support and custody agreement. Your divorce attorneys should always keep your safety and well-being at the forefront, helping with suggestions to find a suitable safe haven or helping you ensure the restraining order is enforced.
If you’re in a situation where you feel you or your children are in danger, don’t hesitate to find a safe haven and then call family lawyers you can trust to walk you through the next steps of getting your life back.