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Restrained by a restraining order? What you should know

Fighting with your partner can quickly become a serious problem if things become violent. Even after the conflict is over, he or she can feel scared and apply for a restraining order.

If this happens, you can be understandably concerned about what the restraining order means. Whether you agree with the accusations against you, you should know what you can do to prevent a bad situation from getting worse.

Complying with the order

Complying with the restraining order until expires or is cancelled is crucial. Depending on the details of the order, this can mean staying away from your partner and refraining from calling or emailing him or her. A restraining order could also prohibit you from seeing and contacting your child.

Some people violate an order thinking they just want to sort things out with the other person, but this can result in an arrest and possible jail time. Unless there are specific exceptions listed in the order, you must stay away and refrain from contacting the other person.

You can still protect yourself

Being unable to go home or see your partner or child due to a restraining order can be very upsetting, especially if the accusations against you are false or embellished. You may feel angry or powerless. However, there are things you can do to protect yourself and your individual rights.

One important step could be to talk to a lawyer about the situation. Not only could this help you understand the restrictions imposed by the order, but it can also help you contest the allegations against you. If the other person made false statements in their application for a restraining order, they could face criminal penalties.

If the other person is using a restraining order to harass you through the legal system, the courts can dismiss the order, issue fines and other legal remedies for stopping harassment.

You could also file a motion to change the terms of an order, even if both parties do not agree to a change.

Again, though, complying with the restraining order will be wise. Violations – even perceived violations – can result in a call to the police, an arrest and additional penalties. While this can be an upsetting time, avoiding these and other legal missteps can make it easier to get past it.

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