How often have you seen a character on television or in a movie say they had a restraining order in Washington state against someone else? You may wonder if you can obtain a restraining order for a situation you deal with in your own life. In Washington State, restraining orders are available to protect domestic violence victims.
In Washington State, there are four types of restraining orders available. It’s essential that you know the difference between them if you plan to apply for a restraining order. Once you understand the types of restraining orders available, it’s time to go to the office of the county clerk of the family court to apply for your restraining order.
Before you choose to request one of the four kinds of restraining orders, it’s wise to consult an attorney. If you want the order to last more than the temporary 14-day time frame, you will have to prove your case in court. An attorney can help you handle the court hearing appropriately.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you may have grounds for filing for a restraining order. Grounds for a restraining order in Washington State include the following:
If you need legal protection that keeps an abuser from contacting you in any way or coming near you, then you might need to consider a restraining order. Filing a restraining order can help you to feel safer going about your daily routine.
It’s important to realize that restraining order, when it comes right down to it, is just a piece of paper. Anyone who has experienced abuse should have a plan in place to protect themselves if an abuser doesn’t adhere to the provisions in the restraining order.
Restraining orders can also protect your children. Suppose a parent establishes that an abuser has committed a crime of family violence, child abuse, or sexual abuse of a child, or that such an act is likely to occur. In that case, a restraining order can be issued against that person. If a restraining order is issued, the accused abuser can be kept away from the child’s home or school, and they can be kept from contacting the child in any way.
In an effort to prevent the child from being endangered, a restraining order can keep the abuser from being in the home with the child at all. This gives you the ability to keep your child in their own home and away from the abusive person.
Make sure you have a safety plan in place for your children. An abuser might attempt to gain access to children if they know where they live or go to school, regardless of the presence of a restraining order. Know where emergency shelters are located because they can offer invaluable services.
An emergency shelter can help you find safe housing, food, financial assistance, utilities, clothing, and other needed items. Don’t be afraid to contact a shelter for help. Sometimes, the shelter is the best option for keeping yourself and your children safe.
We’ve talked about domestic violence being the propelling cause for filing for a restraining order. It’s essential that you understand what constitutes domestic violence. First, let’s be clear. Domestic violence occurs between family members or people within the same household.
Domestic violence involves one or more of the following actions:
The definition is broad, but it includes many behaviors. Some of those are hitting, pushing, choking, biting, or slapping. Any conduct that causes harm or causes you to fear that you will be hurt is included in the covered behaviors.
You must file a petition for a restraining order. In order to file your petition, you must file in the county or municipality where you reside. If you moved to get away from your abuser, you can either file your petition in the area where you previously lived or where you currently reside.
If you want to keep your whereabouts a secret, you should consider filing your petition in the county you lived before. Filing in the place of your current residence will alert your abuser to where you are. If part of your safety plan involves being hidden, then you must carefully consider where to file your petition for a restraining order.
You can request an ex parte temporary order of protection if you can show irreparable injury. Courts use several factors to determine if there has been irreparable damage. Those include:
A hearing for an ex parte temporary order of protection must be held in person or by telephone either the day the petition was filed or the next day the courts are in session. The statute that allows for the ex parte hearing provides general provisions for relief. The judge has discretion in creating provisions to protect the petitioner and the family fully.
Though the court has a broad level of discretion, that discretion is not unlimited. The ex parte order is valid for 14 or 24 days, depending on how the service was presented to the respondent. If the notice was provided by publication, the ex parte order could be in place for 24 days.
If you report domestic violence to the police, it can lead to criminal charges. If criminal charges are pending or filed, then the State may request that the court order a criminal no-contact order on your behalf. These orders prevent any contact with the abuser, and they will keep the person who is accused of abuse from knowingly coming within a specified distance of you or your home or job.
Domestic violence is an unfortunate reality in our society. Domestic violence occurs when someone in your family or your household harms you or your children. When that happens, it’s imperative that you have a plan to keep your family safe.
A restraining order can be an integral part of your safety plan. There are four kinds of restraining orders in Washington State. It’s essential to know which kind of restraining order is the correct one for your situation. To learn which kind of restraining order you should file, consult with a lawyer who has experience with domestic violence cases.
If you’re contemplating filing a restraining order, consult an attorney to understand your rights and whether you have grounds for filing a restraining order. The Aberdeen Law Firm has attorneys who have experience dealing with cases that involve domestic violence. If you have questions about how to proceed when you’ve been a victim of domestic violence, request a consultation with one of the attorneys from the Aberdeen Law Firm.