A Family Law Restraining Order is more or less what it sounds like, it is an Order from a family law court that controls whether and according to what terms, one person may interact with another.
Typically, such Orders restrict both the communication between the protected person and the subject of the Order, as well as denying the subject of the Order from coming within a certain distance of one or more people and places.
They are a somewhat flexible tool, particularly with regard to limiting and governing communications between the parties. They can specify the methods and purposes of communication that are acceptable. For example, communication for the purposes of facilitating access may be through a mutually agreed third party, or only through counsel. In other situations, communications can be accepted only through a specific app and in regard to specific subjects.
A single Order may govern communication and may also prevent the subject from coming within 500 meters (or another distance) of the protected person’s home, school, or place of work.
The answer to this question is not always clear. The legal test to be met in order to receive a family law Restraining Order is whether the applicant has a reasonable and genuine reason to fear for their own safety or the safety of any child in their custody.
This fear can be entirely subjective, as long as it is reasonable. Meaning that it can be enough for you to be afraid, even if many others in the same situation would not be afraid.
You can call the police without a Restraining Order, but unless the threatening individual is doing something illegal, there is not much the police can do. This is a problem because many legal activities can be threatening in context while not justifying (immediate) police intervention.
There are many situations in which you may genuinely fear for your safety and require protection but where the police will likely be unable to help you without an Order.
For example, you may fear psychological or emotion harm rather than physical harm; Or perhaps your ex repeatedly engages in activities that would seem benign to the police but that may justify a Restraining Order because they are being done repeatedly and persistently.
Many people feel this way and are reluctant to seek a Restraining Order because of it. However, if you feel that you or a child are in danger, you are probably justified in at least asking the court for a Restraining Order. It is better to let the court be the judge of whether a situation is sufficiently threatening than to avoid doing so because of shame or fear of being too harsh.
The Order, including a description of the subject individual, are provided to the police to facilitate the police identifying the subject and enforcing the Orders.
If a subject of an Order violates the Order, they can be arrested and prosecuted and may be fined or imprisoned as a result.
Nussbaum Law is a team of legal professionals who can assist with your family law matter. We have extensive experience with restraining orders. Speak to one of the firm members and obtain legal advice today.