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5 Restraining Order Lessons From 'Modern Family's' Sarah Hyland

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on October 09, 2014 10:43 AM

"Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland was granted a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend actor Matt Prokop in Los Angeles Superior Court last week.

The 23-year-old actress requested the order, which was not contested by Prokop, after claiming that Prokop was abusive during their relationship which ended in August, reports The Associated Press.

What do you need to know about getting a restraining order like the one granted Hyland? Here are five lessons:

  1. What's the difference between temporary and permanent restraining orders? Temporary restraining orders are granted for a limited period of time, usually until a hearing can be held for a permanent restraining order like the one Hyland received. Temporary restraining orders (TROs) may also be granted ex parte, without the other person's presence required. The other party is then served with the TRO and allowed to present his or her side of the facts at the subsequent hearing.
  2. What proof do you need? A judge will typically require proof that the defendant poses a threat to the person seeking the order. This can be as simple as detailing instances in which the other person has acted in a threatening or hostile manner, although merely suspecting the other person of threatening behavior or "being creeped out" will not likely suffice.
  3. Do you have to call the police first? Violence or threats of violence do not necessarily have to be reported to the police to be used to get a restraining order. In Hyland's case, she had not reported the alleged domestic violence incidents with her ex-boyfriend to police. However, having a police report documenting incidents of violent or threatening behavior or being able to show that the other person was arrested for such behavior may make it more likely that your order will be granted.
  4. What happens if the other party doesn't show up to court? In Hyland's case, Prokop did not contest the order, so the order was granted without a hearing. In the event that the other party does not contest the order, or fails to appear at the hearing, the order will likely be granted by default.
  5. What happens if the other party violates the order? Violating the terms of the order may lead to contempt of court charges, misdemeanor criminal charges or in some circumstances, even felony charges for repeated or serious violations.

Learn more about the legal options available to victims of domestic violence at FindLaw's Learn About the Law section on Domestic Violence.

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