Relationships between family members or people who are romantically involved can be messy, and conflicts are inevitable. In some cases, these conflicts can rise to the level of the threat of violence or actual violence. When this occurs, one or both parties can seek court orders that require the other party to move out of the family home, stay away from the petitioner or their children, attend counseling, or do or not do other things.
These kinds of orders are often referred to as “restraining orders,” but in reality, a restraining order is only one type of court order in Washington State that a person can seek against another individual with whom they have an dating or familial relationship.
Court Orders Related to Family Law
Domestic Violence Orders for Protection
Domestic Violence Orders for Protection are used in situations where you have been assaulted or threatened by a family member or someone you live with. These kinds of orders can direct the other person to move out of your shared residence, grant temporary custody of children to one parent, order the other party to attend counseling, set a visitation schedule with minor children, as well address other matters.
In an emergency, you can seek an ex parte domestic violence order of protection, meaning that the other party does not have to be involved. These kinds of orders are only good for 14 days. A hearing will be set within the 14-day period, during which the other party will have a chance to respond, and the court will determine whether the order should be extended.
Restraining orders are much broader in scope and are typically issued as part of a larger family law case related to divorce, paternity, or child custody. Courts issue these orders to compel parties to take certain actions or prevent them from taking certain actions with respect to property, domestic violence, spousal support, or child support.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Obtain a Restraining Order?
If you are in a situation where you need immediate protection from a member of your family or a partner, you should call 911 as soon as possible. Once you are out of immediate danger, if you believe that you need additional protection from the party that threatened or assaulted you, you should contact an attorney as soon as you can.
Obtaining an ex parte order requires you to provide sufficient evidence that you are in or will be in a dangerous situation. An attorney familiar with these legal standards will be able to determine whether you should be able to obtain an order and can advocate on your behalf to a judge, maximizing the chances that you will obtain an order. In addition, an attorney familiar with family law will know how to get your case before a judge as soon as possible.
Additionally, if you are seeking a domestic violence order of protection or a restraining order not on an emergency basis, the other party will have the opportunity to present his or her side of the case to the judge. By retaining an experienced family law attorney to represent you, you will protect your rights and increase the chances of obtaining a favorable outcome to your hearing.
What if a Court Order Has Been Issued Against You?
In some cases, an abuser or other party may seek a restraining order against a victim when it is unjustified. For example, a perpetrator of domestic violence may seek an order of protection in order to paint themselves as the victim for purposes of defending a criminal case. In addition, some parties may seek court orders unnecessarily in an effort to gain an advantage in other family law proceedings, such as a divorce or contested child custody situation.
If you believe that a party has unfairly sought and obtained a court order against you, you should retain an attorney right away. An attorney familiar with Washington State law can review the facts of your case and determine whether the order was improperly issued and what steps you can take to have the order lifted. In addition, a lawyer can ensure that the existence of the improperly-issued order does not have a negative impact on any other legal proceedings to which you are a party or result in other collateral consequences.
Call Us Today to Speak to a Bellevue Family Law Attorney
If you need to seek a restraining order or believe one has been unfairly filed against you, you should speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as you can. Attorney Chris Jackman is a skilled family law attorney who knows how to protect his clients’ rights and resolve difficult cases as favorably as possible. To schedule a case evaluation with Mr. Jackman, call our office today at 206-790-6430 or contact us online.