There are many cases of domestic violence and stalking claimed each year. The process involves petitioning the court for a restraining order that protects one party from receiving any communication from the other party.

If a person wishes to place a restraining order or is facing restraining order charges, it is important to understand the legal process and each step involved.

Requirements for filing

For these cases, the accuser is the petitioner and the accused is the respondent. To file a restraining order, a case needs to meet certain requirements. Some of the common protective injunctions include the following:

  • Domestic violence: A person may file this type of order if the petitioner and respondent are spouses, ex-spouses, blood-related family members or residing together as a family.
  • Dating violence: To file this type of order, a person needs to have been continuously dating the respondent for a minimum of six months and involved.
  • Stalking: The criteria for this type of order include whether one party stalked or harassed the other on a minimum of two different occasions.
  • Repeat violence: For this order, the accused party needs to have committed at least two acts of stalking or violence.

Process after filing

After filing a petition, the judge needs to review it. If a judge agrees to grant a hearing, the court schedules it within 15 days from the petition filing date; judges may provide a temporary restraining order for those 15 days if they believe it is necessary. At the time of the hearing, the petitioner is either granted or denied the restraining order, which is permanent, unless the judge states otherwise or new evidence comes out.

Dismissing a restraining order

If the petitioner decides to remove a restraining order before the hearing, she or he may inform the judge at the time of the hearing, and the judge may decide to dismiss the case. However, if the court already granted the permanent restraining order, the petitioner needs to make a request at the courthouse. The respondent also has the option of requesting a court hearing to request the removal of a restraining order.

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