Divorce Restraining Orders

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Marriage is a blissful and happy union of two souls. When two married individuals are unable to stay with each other happily, they think of divorce. A happy family can be broken due to many reasons, domestic violence being one of them. In our daily life, we come across the term 'domestic violence' a number of times. In the context of marriage, it suggests a number of abusive behaviors by one spouse or an adult against another spouse. This is a serious crime and often couples file for divorces on the grounds of domestic violence. In USA, divorce restraining orders are developed to curb this issue. It is very sad to note that such an order is issued every minute in the nation.

A Restraining Order is a civil order as well as a court order. This order limits the contact of the abuser to the victim by phone, mail and also direct physical contact. The intent of this order is to protect the victim from his/her abuser. It does not result in a criminal record for the abuser. The order serves the following purposes-

  • Keeping the abuser away from the location of violence. This may be an apartment or place of work or a residence
  • Stopping the abuser from harassing the victim
  • Asking the abuser to remain away from the victim

In order to help you gain a comprehensive knowledge of these orders, we will discuss some important aspect of the orders and domestic violence

Types of Restraining Orders

Depending on the nature of the domestic violence, the abuser can be ordered to leave the house where both the abuser and victim stay, even if the house is in the abuser's name. Again in many cases, the court may order the abuser to pay child support, support for the victim, attorney's fees and the costs that resulted from the domestic violence. Under specific conditions, the abuser may be allowed child visitation rights.

Purport of Domestic Violence

When an emancipated minor or an adult commits one or more of the following against a victim, it is categorized as domestic violence-

  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Lewdness
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault
  • Homicide
  • Harassment
  • Criminal restraint
  • False imprisonment
  • Burglary
  • Criminal trespass
  • Criminal sexual contact
  • Terrorist threats
  • Criminal mischief
  • Assault

Impact of Divorce Restraining Orders

In the recent past, some alterations have been made in restraining order laws. These impact the ability of the alleged abuser to be granted child custody. The ability of this abuser to try to gain sole custody in future cases can be affected. If this situation arises, the divorce lawyer of the abuser must attempt to dismiss the restraining order and instead accept a 'domestic relations restraining order.' This order has considerably less impact on the abuser's future.

Apart from losing child custody, the alleged abuser may have to face the following-

  • A perpetual risk of arrest for reported violation
  • Loss of the right to possess firearms and hunt

Pertinent points regarding Divorce Restraining Order

  • One can approach any courthouse and obtain forms and instructions for restraining orders
  • The other alternative is to approach legal services offices or domestic violence hot-lines and shelters for these forms and instructions
  • No fees are levied for filing these forms
  • Generally, the day on which you complete the paperwork is the day when you can see a judge
  • A procedure exists as per which you can be issued the restraining order through the telephone. This is used when you reside far away from the courthouse
  • As per the law, initially, a 'temporary restraining order' (TRO) is issued. This can be enforced for a temporary period
  • On the TRO, a date is mentioned on which you must appear in court. In a majority of states, this date is 10 days after the date on which the TRO was issued
  • During this period of 10 days, the Sheriff's office or the police serve a copy of the TRO to the abuser. The objective is that the abuser should be intimated the date of the hearing
  • The abuser as well as the victim should attend the hearing
  • The victim must retain a copy of the restraining order with himself/herself
  • If the victim shifts to any town and fears that the abuser might harm him/ her in this town, he/ she should submit a copy of the restraining order to the police in this town

Abuse of Divorce Restraining Orders

It is very disheartening to know that some people do not fear abusing the orders and as such the number of these orders have been increasing over the past few years. Today getting a divorce restraining order is much easier as compared to the situation fifteen years ago. Some flexibility was made in the laws so that the true victims of domestic violence need not worry much for gathering proofs. But the dirty brains of some advocates started misusing the flexibility. Now-a-days, a good number of spouses, in many cases women spouses, are abusing these laws to harass and disempower other spouses, extract money and limit their contact with children.

Studies reveal that many legal efforts are taken to restrict the abuse of these orders. Many protests are made by "Father's Rights" groups and "Men's Rights" groups as many fathers and men are falsely accused of domestic violence and they are finding it difficult to bear the expenses of these orders.

To sum up, it can be said that divorce restraining orders are laid down for protecting sufferers of domestic violence. These should not be abused as this step can ruin the life of an innocent who will face difficulties in many walks of life, for example buying houses or property, getting jobs and loans, remarrying, etc. If you are an actual victim, be strong and confident in filing for a divorce and getting the restraining orders. But if you are willingly doing this, think a hundred times before ruining the life of an innocent.

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