When it comes to advice about restraining orders, most of it focuses on the process of getting one rather than the proof you need. But without the proof, who cares how easy or difficult the process is?
Getting a restraining order is similar to most other court processes. It involves filling out and filing some paperwork, going to a hearing, and then waiting for a judge to reach a decision.
The key is proving to a judge that you need a restraining order. That judge is going to be looking for some specific facts.
What's the Danger?
To know what proof you need for a restraining order, it helps to understand what a restraining order does. It's a way to stop someone from engaging in threatening behavior.
In serious cases, the only way to stop the behavior is to order the offender to stay a certain distance from the victim. But it can also target specific things like contacting the victim's friends or family, phone calls after certain times, or other unwanted behaviors.
But before a court will do that, you have to prove that there is some danger to you. Most courts won't order a behavior to stop unless there's proof that it's happening.
Describe Specific Incidents
When you decide you want to request a restraining order, make a list of all of the threatening or intimidating behaviors you want to stop. Specific examples are important.
"He followed me home from work three days a week" will be better proof than "He's stalking me."
Unfortunately, a suspicion that someone is falling you or making prank calls is often not enough. Courts will ask how you know, and they're looking for tangible evidence.
The judge doesn't know that your former neighbor is creepy or that your ex has violent tendencies. Any proof you have to show that the person you suspect would threaten you or has in the past could be useful.
Keep in mind that you're asking the court to restrict someone's freedom. Give them a good reason to do it.
- State Laws on Protective Orders (FindLaw)
- What is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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- Dad Gets Restraining Order Against Son's 4th Grade Bully (FindLaw's Legally Weird)