What does a Restraining Order do?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, a judge can sign an order of protection that requires the abuser to obey the law. It is usually very specific. For example:
- The abuser can be ordered not to have any contact with you, in person or by phone, at home, work or almost anywhere you ask the court to put in the order. The order against contact may also protect other people in your family.
- The court can order the abuser to leave the house or apartment that you and the abuser share, even if it is the abuser’s.
- Except in the most unusual situations, the court will grant you custody of your minor children.
- The court can also order the abuser to pay child support and support you. The abuser may also be granted visitation with the child(ren) under certain conditions. If the children are in danger of abuse, you should let the judge know why you think so.
- The court may order the abuser to pay for costs that resulted from the abuse; for example, household bills that are due right away, medical/dental treatment, moving expenses, loss of earnings. The judge can also make the abuser pay your attorney’s fees, and can make the abuser pay damages to you or other people who helped you or got hurt by the abuser.
- The judge may order the abuser to receive professional domestic violence counseling, or tell the abuser to go get evaluated or go to AA or NA. You can agree to go to counseling if you want (or a free program like AA or AlAnon), but the judge will only make it an order for the abuser.
- The judge can order the police to escort the abuser to remove personal items from the residence or shared place of business, so that you are protected by the police during any necessary contact.
The judge has the power under the law to order anything else that will help to protect you, as long as you agree to it.