Domestic Violence

Violence and the Law - Civil

Can Restraining Orders Really Help?

Many people have told me that a Restraining Order cannot really help. Can it?

It is true that a Restraining Order must be enforced by some law enforcement agency, and therefore, it is only as effective as the police officer enforcing it. Thus, effective Restraining Orders can:

  • More easily get the Police to act on your behalf, since they have a court order;
  • More easily get the Police to help you move or protect you, while you are traveling around town;
  • Have the Police arrest the batterer if he is harassing you in a manner which violates the court order;
  • Have the Police protect you at work;
  • Provide the means by which to "drag the batterer back before the judge" for violating it; and
  • Have the batterer arrested for conduct which violates a court order, but which otherwise might not rise to the level of a serious crime, e.g., letting the air out of your car tires, or making repeated harassing phone calls to you at work.

It is up to you and your advisors to decide if you think the Police Department will be effective in enforcing the order. If so, one should give careful consideration, along with your professional advisors, to seeking such an order for protection.

What About Divorce?

Along with a Protective Order, one might explore the possibility of a divorce. State laws vary and this subject is far too complicated for this Web site, except to advise that you consult with one of your Plan Attorneys, or another attorney, to make an informed decision about the prospects and effect of a divorce.

Violence and the Law - Civil
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