A restraining order is created to protect people from further harm by someone who has or may, hurt you. Anyone who lives in a situation where your spouse has physically abused you or has attempted to physically abuse you; put you in fear of serious bodily injury; or made you have sexual relations against your wishes by using force or threats of force, needs to get a restraining order. A court-ordered restraining order requires your attacker to stop the abuse and to leave you alone. If your abuser violates the order, they can be arrested. The order will mandate that the abuser must stay away from you and not harass you. The order can cover any location specified by the court including your home and place of work.
Any person who is a victim of domestic violence can legally obtain a restraining order. The victim can be any sex or any age that has have been subjected to domestic violence by a person with whom the victim has had a relationship, such as a spouse or any other household member and where the victim is 18 years of age or older. You can get a restraining order against current or ex-spouses, adult relatives, former lovers, and the other parent of your minor child. Those under 18 can get an order against a person who is over 18 if the person is someone you had a sexual relationship with.
You can obtain restraining order forms and instructions at your local courthouse and many shelters, hotlines, and legal services offices can also provide information on getting a restraining order. There will be no cost to obtain the order and in most jurisdictions it is a one-day process where you will see a judge the same day you file your paperwork. If you cannot physically get to the courthouse, most jurisdictions will also have a way to apply over the telephone.
Many restraining orders are temporary and you may have to return to court to renew or extend the order after it expires. Even though a restraining order is a civil order and does not give the abuser a criminal record, it does cover many illegal acts including assault, burglary, threats, trespass, kidnapping, stalking and sexual assault.
A restraining order is serious business and should not be taken lightly. The alleged abuser can face many damaging consequences as a result of a restraining order filing including losing the right to possess firearms, restrictions on their future custody rights, and potential arrest for any violation of the order. The judge also has the power to include anything else in the order that may be necessary to protect you. The power of the restraining order was designed to protect spouses, families and children from domestic abuse and violence. If you are a victim, you should not hesitate to get a restraining order as soon as possible.