Domestic abuse can be terrifying and confusing.
It’s hard to know what to do when you’re being abused by someone who supposedly loves you. You might feel like it’s your fault, or that there is nothing you could do to stop the abuse.
In reality, there are many things you can do to get out of a difficult situation and make life better. For example, you can file a restraining order to help protect yourself against future harm, and possibly even death. This article discusses these important documents and how they work, so you can file one with ease.
Read on to learn the right way to file restraining orders.
First Step Towards Filing
The first step for filing a restraining or protection order is to fill out the paperwork. A protection order can be filed on your own or with an advocate.
You can find an advocate by calling a domestic abuse hotline. If your situation is especially dangerous, you may want to let an advocate help provide legal advice.
The form will ask for your personal information and about the abuser. You can file more than once on different forms. However, it’s best to wait until your first protection order has expired before starting again. The forms should also be available where you get help from a non-profit organization or shelter in case they can offer assistance.
How Does a Restraining Order Work?
A protection order can help protect you from an abuser by having them stay a certain distance away from you. You will have to prove that the abuse took place, but this is easier than you might think. The forms should be available in many locations where you can go for help and support if needed.
Typically, restraining orders place a “no-contact” rule on abusers. This requires them to maintain a certain distance from their victims at all times. This means no approaching public places like schools or workplaces, as well as no contacting the victim through phone calls, texts, or e-mails.
It also prohibits abusers from writing letters about the incidents they’ve committed or sending gifts via mail. Abusers may even be required to give up their weapons if they’ve used one in the past. Some restraining orders also ban abusers from owning a firearm.
What to Do After You File
Moving on, let’s look at what you should do immediately after filing. If you’re filing the restraining order on your own, you will need to file it in the court of law that covers where you live.
You’ll also have to follow up and keep copies of all paperwork issued by law enforcement or courts. This includes any contact orders, custody orders, and reporting restrictions.
It’s important to seek help as soon as possible after filing a protection order. A domestic abuse shelter should be able to offer the help you need. Communicating with friends and family is also important. Above all, avoid isolation. Now’s the time to reach out for help.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, it’s always a wise decision to talk with a lawyer. A lawyer can help you protect your rights and make the process easier overall.
If you’ve been abused already, or if you are currently in an abusive relationship, it’s best to contact an attorney as soon as possible. You can find out more about lawyers by visiting the state bar association website.
What will an attorney do for you? A lawyer helps create strong cases for victims of domestic abuse. They may advise their clients on how to handle threats, and how to respond to police officers when they arrive if an incident occurs. Most importantly though, they’ll be able to help you get a restraining order violation in place.
A lawyer can also help show you how to file for divorce. In some cases, they may also help remarry property or file for custody of children.
Restraining orders typically last anywhere from 1 to several years, depending on state law. However, the court can lift the protection order at any time if it’s no longer necessary or helpful to either party.
For instance, let’s say an abuser has been successfully seeing a counselor for years and is living a crime-free lifestyle. In this case, they may be able to come back into their family’s lives again. This is just one example of how difficult protecting victims can get overtime (and why it’s so important not to give up).
Do You Need Multiple Orders?
Do you need multiple orders in place? It depends. In some cases, the abuser may get confused about when or if the protection order is in effect. Having multiple orders in place helps reinforce the importance of following them.
It’s also helpful to have one more on hand in case you need to up your protection level. That way, you can add more limitations or tracking restrictions. Having another one waiting behind will ensure that you never feel too vulnerable with only one protection order.
Surviving Domestic Abuse
It’s clear to see that protection orders are a valuable tool that helps protect victims from harm in many ways. Remember, the best reason to file a conjunction in the first place is to keep yourself and your children safe from abusers.
Don’t doubt your decision to get to safety. File a restraining order if you feel threatened or unsafe, even if it’s just once. Reach out to an abuse hotline and start getting the resources you need. For more helpful guides like this one, see what the rest of our site has to offer.