If the parties are in a family or family type situation or relationship, and there is an act of domestic violence committed, the victim may be entitled to a Restraining Order.

A restraining Order prevents the aggressor from having contact with the victim. The aggressor is removed and can be barred from the home and the victim’s place of employment. The aggressor may be prevented from seeing children, may be ordered to pay support/expenses and maintain insurances, may be ordered to attend counseling and/or evaluations, etc. The victim may be granted temporary custody of the children. The victim gets a presumption for custody.

Harassment, terroristic threat, assault, etc. are acts of domestic violence. Prior acts of domestic violence are relevant to show the necessity for a Final Restraining Order and the credibility of the parties.

If an act of domestic violence occurs in the evening or over a weekend, the victim should immediately call their local police or go to their local police station. If it occurs during a week day, the victim can go to their county courthouse. The victim should apply for a temporary Restraining Order. If granted, the alleged aggressor will be barred from contact with the alleged victim and the Court will schedule a return date/hearing date approximately a week later. On the return date, the alleged victim must prove that an act of domestic violence occurred and that a Final Restraining Order is necessary. The alleged aggressor can contest the incident(s) or the necessity of the issuance of a Final Restraining Order. The Court will issue a Final Restraining Order (FRO) if Plaintiff proves that there was an act of domestic violence and that a FRO is necessary. If Plaintiff does not prove his/her case, the Court will dismiss the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

If a person violates a Temporary or Final Restraining Order, same constitutes a criminal act and can subject the person to fines, probation, and/or imprisonment.

Especially during divorce litigation, parties should closely monitor their behavior, and prevent heated arguments, to prevent the issuance of a Restraining Order.