Restraining Order Q&A

DISCLAIMER: This page, which attempts to answer frequently asked questions (FAQ), is intended as a resource to those bewildered by the restraining order process and offered because attorneys rarely dispense information or counsel freely that they could bill for. The replies below are those of this blog’s author, whose knowledge of restraining orders and restraining order abuses is grudging and unqualified by any formal education in the law. I’m a writer, not an attorney. If in doubt, consult a licensed professional.

If you are the defendant in a restraining order case (that is, if you are the recipient of a restraining order), especially one based on false/fraudulent allegations:

  1. Read the court’s order front to back so that you understand its restrictions and expectations to the letter. Be able to quote it from memory.
  2. Immediately apply to the court for an appeals hearing if you haven’t already been assigned one. This will provide you with an opportunity to contest the restraining order applicant’s allegations and have the order quashed (that is, negated, nullified, canceled). You can do this by mail, by phone, or by visiting the courthouse.
  3. File a motion for continuance with the court to request a postponement of your appeals hearing to provide you with additional time to find and consult with an attorney (if within your means), gather evidence (which may include affidavits from witnesses), and prepare your defense. This is just a matter of going to the courthouse, explaining to the clerk what you’re after, and filling in a few lines on a form. You may even be able to do this by phone. Have your case number handy. The worst that can happen is that your motion is denied.
  4. Request a copy of the restraining order applicant’s affidavit to the court. This is his or her written narrative explaining why s/he “needs” a restraining order. If you’re assertive, a clerk at the courthouse should provide you with a copy with some information redacted (crossed out), such as the applicant’s address. Knowing what the plaintiff has alleged against you is both your constitutional right and essential to your defense.
  5. Exploit any and all available resources to obtain the services of a qualified attorney, that is, an attorney both experienced with representing restraining order defendants and one you feel confident will represent your interests without reservation. Call around. Having an attorney speak on your behalf is your best bet of arresting a biased process that stands to exert a very detrimental influence on your future. Some respondents to this blog have reported paying thousands to attorneys who they felt ultimately sided with the restraining order applicant. So choose an attorney you feel certain will have your back. A lawyer is no different from anyone else you employ to do a job for you: get one you have faith in.

*Readers may perform a keyword search of this FAQ page (or any other) by pressing Ctrl + F or ⌘ Cmd + F. A dialogue box will appear.


A judge contacted my job and is trying to get me fired. [What to do?]”

A judge’s contacting your employer is way out of line. You can report this misbehavior to the police, apply for a restraining order against the judge for harassment, and/or report his or her actions to your state’s judicial oversight commission. If the judge succeeded in costing you your job, you would also have grounds to sue him/her for damages. The system protects its own, so you would have to substantiate (document/prove) your case very thoroughly. Your best avenue of recourse (if it’s financially feasible) would be to hire an attorney.

A person filed a restraining order, which a judge denied. Now the person is telling everyone they have a gun to use against the other party. [What to do?]”

If the other party feels his or her life is in danger, s/he shouldn’t hesitate to report these threats to the police and/or apply to the court for a restraining order him- or herself (which can require that the person be prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition). The other party can obtain affidavits (sworn statements) from witnesses to support his or her allegations to a judge. Bear in mind, however, that a restraining order is just a piece of paper. If this person is psychotic, the threatened party should consider a more certain deterrent like relocating.

A police officer called and informed me of a PPO [protection order]. Is a phone call effective without personal service upon me?”

In some jurisdictions, astonishingly, this is satisfactory, yes.

Am I a criminal if I have a restraining order?”

Though the court and others may well treat you like a criminal or make you feel like one, no. A restraining order is a civil misdemeanor.

“Am I breaking the law if I posted a comment on Facebook about my ex-girlfriend who got a restraining order against me…?”

Restraining orders are public record, so no. You would only have made yourself liable to police interference if your comment was threatening or to civil litigation if your comment was libelous—in other words, if you lied about your ex-girlfriend in a defamatory way. Truth is an absolute defense against allegations of libel or slander. Fact is fact. Opinion is also protected under the Constitution. Care should be taken, though, if you’re commenting on a restraining order that’s still in effect that you don’t make yourself vulnerable to allegations of harassment. A good rule of thumb is to imagine that everything you write will be read by a judge. A single comment isn’t harassment.

Are charges filed against me public record?”

Yes. The plaintiff’s affidavit (written narrative to the court) is often concealed—even from the defendant; but the restraining order itself is publicly accessible, along with any allegations that appear on it (whether true or false).

“Are narcissists con artists?”

Yes, they’re consummate manipulators and frauds who don’t scruple about lying to realize their own ends, including to police officers and judges.

Are no-contact orders public knowledge and if so where do you locate them?”

Records of restraining orders are public, yes. A courthouse website will usually have a database that you can search by name or case number. Note that restraining orders can issue from county or city courthouses. Note also that accessibility of restraining order records by Internet can vary state-to-state. (Here, for example, is the public index for Charleston County, South Carolina.)

“Are restraining orders being issued too freely?”

Yes, in all senses: they’re issued casually, and they cost their applicants little or nothing.

“Are restraining orders constitutional?”

There are certainly grounds for questioning their constitutionality. Provisions of the United States Constitution and state constitutions require that all citizens be given equal recognition under the law and that no group of citizens be shown special consideration, and preferential treatment both of women generally and plaintiffs specifically is not only prevalent but often mandated (for example, courts may be given grant monies in return for consenting to unquestioningly accept allegations of fear or violence from women as true). Restraining orders also deny recipients due process, a constitutional privilege guaranteed by the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments. They furthermore enable the courts to criminally sanction defendants (imprison them) without first affording them their constitutional entitlement to a trial by a jury of their peers. And almost all if not all restraining orders are issued ex parte, which means defendants are deprived of liberty (and often property) prior to being heard by the court. Some defendants, in fact, are never heard. Restraining orders are issued against them without the court’s ever knowing anything about them but their names.

Are restraining orders hard to beat?”

Yes, because they can be based on testimony that’s impossible to discredit, for example, an emotional state. An allegation of fear, which may be all a plaintiff needs to persuade a judge to approve a restraining order, can’t be disproved. The only defense is to discredit the plaintiff by convincingly showing there are no objective grounds for fear or that s/he has an ulterior motive for alleging it. As painful as it may be, no matter how strained your finances, securing the representation of an attorney is critical to balancing the scales and insuring you at least get a fair shake in a restraining order appeal. Since restraining orders are obtained ex parte—that is, based solely on the word of the plaintiff—the notion that the scales of justice are balanced to begin with is ridiculous.

“Are you notified if a person you have a restraining order against moves?”

No. Unless the person were for some reason required to inform authorities of a change of address, neither the police nor the court would even know, and a restraining order doesn’t prohibit a person from moving (except, perhaps, within the vicinity of the petitioner).

“Can a CPO be verbal, or does it have to be written?”

To the best of my knowledge, a criminal protection order would necessarily have to be in print so that its recipient were duly apprised of its prohibitions. Mere communication of an order would seem to be insufficient (unless it were directly communicated by a judge). Orders issuing from the court, even if they’re verbally pronounced by judges, are typically “written” and mailed to or served on the parties at whom they’re directed. That notwithstanding, if you believe you’ve been ordered by the court not to approach or contact another person, you should refrain accordingly.

“Can a defendant vacate an order of protection?”

A defendant can contest the preliminary/temporary order prior to its being finalized. Either a date will be scheduled automatically, or one will be assigned subsequent to the defendant’s applying to the court for the opportunity to defend. Protocols vary from state to state. In Arizona, for example, defendants must request hearings. Filing a motion like this one from Maine, “Defendant’s Motion to Dissolve Temporary Order for Protection,” may or may not be necessary. A defendant’s appearance in court to challenge a restraining order is essentially understood as a motion to the court to dismiss/vacate the preliminary judgment, but there’s no harm in a defendant’s filing a motion and/or pronouncing in court, “Defendant moves to have the plaintiff’s order dismissed, because its allegations are false [or “baseless,” “frivolous,” etc.].” Dismissed, vacated, dissolved, terminated, or a similar word will be used, depending on the jurisdiction, to mean canceled, “dropped,” or “tossed.” Grounds for moving to have an order vacated after it has been finalized might be that the defendant was never served with the preliminary order and summons or that the order was otherwise “void.” If this doesn’t apply, and a ruling to finalize a restraining order goes against a defendant, s/he may appeal the ruling to a higher court. These are the only ways to vacate a restraining order without its petitioner’s cooperation. With the petitioner’s cooperation and an attorney’s assistance, an expired restraining order may be vacated even years later by filing a nunc pro tunc motion with the court (nunc pro tunc means “now for then”). Exceptions like this option available in Colorado may exist in other states: “JDF 395 Instructions for Restrained Person to Modify/Dismiss PO R3-12.”

Can a felon have a restraining order against somebody?”

Yes. See this post for an example case: “Restraining Orders and the First Amendment: A Female Blogger’s Successful Appeal of a Restraining Order That Labeled Her a ‘Cyber-Stalker’.”

Can a future employer see if you have a restraining order?”

Yes, if s/he endeavors to find out. Restraining orders are public record. In some regions, moreover, restraining order registries have been established like those for sex offenders, making access by the public not only convenient but enticing.

“Can a governor remove a restraining order?”

A governor can pardon (or commute) a crime. To the best of my knowledge, a governor cannot vacate/expunge a restraining order, which represents a civil misdemeanor. If you learn otherwise, please let me know. You have nothing to lose, of course, by writing or calling the governor’s office and asking.

Can a judge dismiss a cease-and-desist harassment order at a hearing?”

Yes, presuming the purpose of the hearing is to hear the defendant’s arguments for the order’s being quashed/vacated (voided).

“Can a judge give a restraining order keeping my child in the hands of strangers?”

If anecdotal reports to this blog are reliable, yes. One respondent reported that a judge awarded custody of his son to one of his wife’s former boyfriends, who falsely claimed to be the boy’s father. Another respondent, whose son’s baby was placed in the custody of his maternal grandmother, reported that the grandmother refused to return the baby after the restraining order was dismissed, and authorities refused to intervene.

Can a lover sue on behalf of someone else?”

Possibly. If the other person were incapacitated, for example, or otherwise deemed unfit to represent him- or herself, or if the injury complained of to the court was one the lover also suffered from.

“Can a no-contact order get dropped without consent from the person [who] put it up?”

A defendant/respondent can appeal the order (through multiple tiers of the court system if s/he has the stamina and financial resource). If appeals have been exhausted, though, or the window to file has closed, the answer to the question is probably no. Some respondents to this blog have sued and had restraining orders vacated that way (either the judge rules to “drop” them, or the sued parties consent to cooperate in their vacation in out-of-court settlements). A plaintiff/petitioner (“the person who put it up”) can file a motion to dismiss (vacate, withdraw, dissolve, terminate) a restraining order while it’s in effect, or the plaintiff and defendant can cooperatively file a nunc pro tunc motion with the court through an attorney to vacate it after its expiration.

Can a person be coerced to file a fraudulent restraining order?”

Definitely. Particularly abominable is when a person (woman) is coerced to file a false restraining order by a police officer or agent of Child Protective Services (CPS) or by a judge.

Can a person who doesn’t own the house file a restraining order and make the person who owns the house move out?”

Yes. It’s a common motive among restraining order applicants.

“Can a person who lies about a restraining order be charged if they request to drop it?”

Not really, no. It’s remotely conceivable that if you were to confess to lying, you could be sanctioned by the court, but such a confession isn’t necessary to have an order dismissed. You would only have to offer—if you were questioned at all—that you felt you acted rashly and now regret it. The court just needs to be assured that you don’t feel the order is necessary and that you’re not seeking to withdraw it because you were threatened or otherwise feel coerced. You don’t have to implicate yourself as a “liar,” per se, to have an injunction “dropped.” You just need to return to the courthouse and file a “motion to dismiss” or “motion to vacate.” Approval isn’t guaranteed, but if the allegations weren’t extreme and children weren’t involved, there shouldn’t be a problem. If the allegations were extreme and/or children were involved, the court might require that your home situation be investigated before ruling. See also this post.

“Can a PFA [protection from abuse order] keep you from a public place such as a church function?”

If the plaintiff on the order is there, yes; the proscriptions of the order (among them keeping a distance from the plaintiff) apply everywhere. Although an order may not specify a “minimum distance” that the defendant must observe, it will require that the defendant “keep away” from the plaintiff.

Can a plaintiff drop a temporary protective order lawsuit?”

Yes. Only a judge can modify or vacate (“drop”) an order of the court, but a plaintiff can move a judge to do so. Procedures will vary from state to state, because every state’s laws are different. This document “explains,” for example, how a restraining order is modified or vacated in California: “Do you want to change or cancel a restraining order?” This page by a New Jersey attorney underscores the complexities of undoing the effects of restraining orders alleging domestic violence: “Can a domestic violence restraining order be vacated or dismissed?” Here’s a basic eHow tutorial: “How to Rescind a Protective Order.” The National Center for State Courts provides links to court forms in all 50 states that can be used by self-represented litigants. Plaintiffs seeking to vacate restraining orders in some states (for example, Kentucky) may not find prepared forms and may have to make their own. This would probably best be done by looking at a different motion form from their state, using it as a template/model, and titling it, “Motion to Vacate [X kind of] Order.” See also these state-specific forms/tutorials (and this post):

How to dismiss or quash an order of protection in (Maricopa County) Arizona.

Request to Modify or Dissolve Protective Order” (Alaska)

Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment” (Arizona)

Ex Parte Request and Order to Terminate Restraining Order” (California)

Request to Vacate Restraining Order” (California)

Protection Order Forms” (Colorado)

Motion to Modify/Dismiss Temporary/Permanent Protection Order” (Colorado)

Order Vacating Restraining Order” (Colorado)

Injunctions and Restraining Orders in Connecticut

How to Prepare a Civil Motion” (Delaware)

Motion to Modify, Extend, or Vacate Order of Protection from Abuse” (or Word file) (Delaware)

Dismissal of Temporary Restraining Order” (Georgia)

Court Forms” (Hawaii)

Motion for Dismissal” (Hawaii: applicable to first district court protection order)

Motion to Dismiss” (Hawaii: applicable to third district court protection order)

Motion to and Declaration to Dissolve the Existing Order” (Hawaii: applicable to family court restraining order)

Procedure to Change or Dismiss an Order of Protection” (Illinois)

Protection Order Forms” (Indiana)

Petitioner’s Verified Request for Dismissal” (Indiana)

Request to Cancel or Change a Chapter 236 Protective Order” (or Word file) (Iowa)

Protection From Abuse Forms” (Kansas)

Notice of Dismissal” (Kansas)

Order of Dismissal” (Kansas)

Uniform Abuse Prevention Order Forms” (Louisiana)

Plaintiff’s Pre-Judgment Motion to Dismiss Complaint” (Maine)

Plaintiff’s Post-Judgment Motion to Modify or Terminate Protection Order” (Maine)

Petition To Modify/Rescind Peace Order” (Maryland)

Petition To Modify/Rescind Protective Order” (Maryland)

Restraining Order & Harassment Forms” (Massachusetts)

Plaintiff’s Motion to Modify or Terminate Abuse Prevention Order” (Massachusetts)

Motion and Order to Dismiss Action for Personal Protection Order” (Michigan)

Motion to Modify, Extend, or Terminate Personal Protection Order” (Michigan)

Domestic Abuse Forms” (Minnesota)

Affidavit and Order for Dismissal” (Minnesota)

Procedure—Setting Aside Final Judgments in Missouri

Domestic Violence – Protective Orders: Forms for Printing” (Montana)

Motion for Modification or Termination of the Protection Order” (Montana)

Motion to Vacate and Set Aside and to Dismiss” (Nebraska)

Modifying, Dissolving, or Appealing a Protection Order” (Nevada)

Failure to Prosecute, Dismissals, and Withdrawals” (New Hampshire)

Can A Domestic Violence Restraining Order Be Dismissed?” (New Jersey)

Dissolving a Domestic Violence Restraining Order” (New Jersey)

Motion to Dismiss Temporary Order of Protection” (New Mexico)

Procedure to Dismiss an Order of Protection in New York

Family Court Forms” (New York)

Motion to Modify or Terminate Domestic Violence Civil Protection Order” (Ohio)

Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Forms” (Oregon)

Petitioner’s Motion and Affidavit for Dismissal and Order” (Oregon)

Instructions from the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania for vacating a protection-from-abuse order (PFA).

Domestic Protection Order Forms” (South Dakota)

Motion to Dismiss Protection Order” (South Dakota)

Order Dismissing Protection Order” (South Dakota)

Prosecuting and Defending Protective Orders” (Texas)

Protective Order Forms” (Utah)

Order on Request to Dismiss or Vacate Protective Order” (Utah)

Relief from Abuse Forms” (Vermont)

Motion to Vacate Relief from Abuse Order” (Vermont)

Guide to Civil Protection Orders in D.C.” (Washington D.C.) (see p. 27: “Vacating Your CPO”)

Domestic Violence Forms” (West Virginia)

Petition to Terminate Protective Order” (West Virginia)

Order Dismissing/Denying Petition for TRO/Injunction” (Wisconsin)

Can a plaintiff email the defendant’s husband when [there’s a] harassment order?”

Yes. Since you’ve arguably injured that man’s family, though, unless the intent of your email were conciliatory (that is, unless you were trying to negotiate a peace), you would likely stir up trouble. The restraining order that you were awarded doesn’t, strictly speaking, impose any limitations on your actions, only on the defendant’s.

[C]an a police officer sue someone for making a false accusation?”

A police officer might have sufficient grounds to sue someone for making a false accusation against him or her, yes, especially if it was done publicly in a way that damaged the officer’s reputation or professional standing. A police officer couldn’t sue, though, for someone’s making false allegations against someone else. False reporting to a police officer is a misdemeanor crime that could only be prosecuted by the county/district attorney’s office.

Can a police officer work in a town if someone has a restraining order against them?”

That’s probably a question for HQ (police admin). Unless having a restraining order against him or her were grounds for termination of employment from the police department, it would probably just impose some limitations on where the officer was permitted to go. Typically, though, restraining orders prohibit defendants from possessing firearms, which might well mean an officer couldn’t work in any town.

Can [a] protection order forbid you to go to someone’s home who is not involved?”

Unless the court’s order specifically says so, no. Obviously if the plaintiff resides in that person’s home, it’s off-limits. Though restraining orders are boilerplate instruments, each will specify what addresses you’re forbidden to visit (usually the plaintiff’s residence and place of work or study). The only adult you’re forbidden contact with is the order’s plaintiff, though minor children in the plaintiff’s care may also be included on the injunction. If the plaintiff has requested an area be forbidden to you for no justifiable reason, you can bring this up at your appeals hearing or apply to see a judge to modify the order.

Can a restrained person communicate through a lawyer?”

Ask one. A lawyer who’s representing you in a legal action against the plaintiff is authorized and legally bound to inform the plaintiff, certainly. Whether an attorney can tender an olive branch to the plaintiff or propose a reconciliation is a question s/he could best answer.

“Can a restraining order be placed with no hearing?”

Yes, in contravention of defendants’ constitutional right to due process, restraining orders are typically issued ex parte, which means based on allegations made by the accuser and articulated in a brief interview with a judge (five to 10 minutes). In some states (Arizona and Michigan are examples), no hearing is required (also in contravention of due process). In order to be heard at all, defendants must apply to the court to be given an audience and an opportunity to defend (which is often limited to around 15 minutes).

“Can a restraining order be taken out against a child under 10 in Maryland?”

Google Maryland + restraining order laws. I know juvenile restraining orders are available in California. See this Huffington Post story: “Father of Bullied Son Files Restraining Order against 9-Year-Old Kid.” See also this letter from the Maryland Office of the Attorney General.

Can a restraining order become [a] public document without your knowledge?”

A restraining order is a public document.

“Can a restraining order ruin your future?”

No question about it. If you’re asking could it prevent you from getting a job, it would probably depend on the job. Whether knowledge of your having received a restraining order would be the reason an employer would cite for rejecting you is uncertain. Whether that knowledge would influence an employer’s decision is less uncertain. Running for high public office is probably off the table. (One reader found this blog by this search engine query: “old restraining order keeps me from getting jobs.” Other respondents report being denied jobs because of vacated restraining orders, that is, ones that were ultimately dismissed as baseless.)

Can a stepmother sue an ex-wife for intentional infliction of emotional distress?”

Yes. A husband can’t sue his wife or she him. Otherwise, a litigant’s relationship with the other party in a lawsuit is irrelevant. What would matter in a suit of this sort is the plaintiff’s (the stepmother’s) ability to substantiate her allegations of intentional infliction of emotional distress against the defendant (the ex-wife). Consult your state’s definition of this tort to see whether the grounds of your complaint to the court would qualify. Typically for misconduct to rise to the level of intentional infliction of emotional distress, it has to be pretty heinous. Extreme misconduct is hardly unheard of in cases of abuse of restraining orders or related bureaucratic processes, but lawyers and judges need considerable persuading, because they’re unaccustomed to thinking of restraining orders, for example, as “abusive” (even though they know damn well that they’re abused—and routinely). You would need to firmly impress upon them the severity of your injury, which would likely require third-party corroboration (for example, from a doctor and/or therapist) and documentation, for example, of lost income, etc. Affidavits or testimony from family members or friends regarding your mood and behavior might also support your allegation.

“Can a teenager have a restraining order removed?”

If the teenager were still in the care of the adult guardian who petitioned the order, probably not, though this is a question that could be run past a lawyer with a phone call (no charge). If the petitioner of the restraining order were no longer (or was never) the teenager’s legal guardian, it’s possible the court might determine the restraining order to be void.

Can [a] third party be arrested when breaking a protection order…?”

The only person who can violate a restraining order is the person against whom it was issued (that is, the defendant). A restraining order only applies to the actions of its defendant.

Can a wife put a restraining order on someone for someone else?”

Only if that “someone else” is a minor or an adult deemed unfit to represent him- or herself. You can’t apply for a restraining order for someone else if the other person is an adult capable of self-representation.

“Can anyone attend a TPO hearing…?”

Yes. It’s a public proceeding.

“Can charges be filed for filing a false protective order?”

Only by the district prosecutor. Who won’t. So no.

Can evidence help fight a restraining order?”

Assuredly. Don’t, however, expect evidence you provide to the court to speak for itself. Use it instead to support your interpretation of the restraining order plaintiff’s motive. Judges should ask questions and probe defendants’ allegations, but defendants shouldn’t take judges’ interest in the truth (or justice) for granted. The reason you have a restraining order in the first place is because a judge swallowed whatever story the plaintiff told him or her.

Can I appeal if I lost a motion to terminate a PPO against me?”

If the ruling in a hearing to appeal a restraining order went against you, you may appeal the case to the next highest court, yes. Inquire at the courthouse that issued the order. In my state, applying for the opportunity to file an appellate memorandum with the Superior Court is free, and defendants have a month to craft their appeals briefs. If you exercise this option, find out what the criteria for judging such an appeal are. In Arizona, where I live, the Superior Court rules on such an appeal based on whether the lower court clearly “abused its discretion” in issuing/upholding a restraining order, that is, the next judge up the food chain doesn’t review a case de novo (from scratch); it determines whether the lower court overstepped its authority.

Can I be arrested for mailing a certified letter if there [is] a restraining order against me?”

Not if you’re mailing legal documents, but such documents will of course have to have been filed with and approved by the courts beforehand. If, for example, you’ve filed a lawsuit against the plaintiff in a restraining order case against you, you may (and have to) mail the complaint and summons to him/her. If contact by mail is forbidden by the restraining order, though, mailing any other sort of communication to its plaintiff would be a violation of the order (whether by certified letter or other means). Put simply, you can mail court documents pursuant to a legal action; you can’t write to say hi.

“Can I be charged with violating a restraining order I didn’t know about…?”

Technically, no, but it’s not unheard of. If you’ve been accused of violating an order you were never served with, you need to appeal and make that clear to a judge.

“Can I be sued for libel if I write about my ex and don’t post his name?”

Qualifying grounds for suing someone for libel are that s/he lied about you publicly in a defamatory way. The key word here is lied. If what you write about your ex is true, no matter how unflattering it might be, it isn’t libel. Truth is an absolute defense against allegations of libel/slander/defamation. If you are sued for libel, and you didn’t lie about the plaintiff, you may countersue for malicious prosecution/abuse of process and request damages. A caveat to consider, however, is that when someone does sue for libel, the burden falls upon the defendant (you) to prove that what s/he’s reported is accurate. Can someone file a libel suit against you? Sure. Under the circumstances you specify, though, it’s very unlikely you would be sued.

Can I call my accuser to the stand on stalking charges?”

A restraining order hearing isn’t a trial. It’s conducted more like a hearing for a traffic violation (in my state, anyway). Participants are sworn in but don’t take the stand. You can, though, pose questions to your accuser through the presiding judge, that is, the judge will communicate your question(s) to the plaintiff and require that s/he respond.

“Can I call my ex’s attorney when I have a restraining order on him?”

There’s certainly no legal impediment preventing you, though his attorney has no obligation to take your call. His attorney’s responding would probably depend on the nature of what you had to say or what you were asking of him or her. A lawyer is employed to serve the interests of his or her client.

“Can I contact my husband under an order of protection against him?”

Sure. But if he responds, he may be subject to arrest and incarceration. Better to communicate through a third party.

“Can I drop a PPO order I had taken out?”

Yes. Any time before it expires, you may go to the courthouse and have it vacated with no repercussions—though if allegations of domestic violence were made against a spouse, and there are minor children in the household, it’s possible the court would require that your domestic situation be investigated prior to issuing a ruling. See also this post.

“Can I drop a restraining order before court?”

Yes. You would file a motion with the court to have the temporary order dismissed/vacated.

“Can I fight a restraining order that’s been put on my boyfriend by the DA?”

Yes. See the links in this comment strand for advice.

“Can I file a civil suit against someone who has filed a false order for harassment against me?”

Yes. Survey similar questions on this page for further information.

“Can I file a lawsuit against my ex-wife for taking out an order of protection on me and wrecking my reputation?”

If she lied, absolutely. The standard of proof of libel/defamation requires that you demonstrate she publicly made false statements of fact about you that harmed your name and respectability. The statute of limitation for libel/defamation is usually one year.

“Can I [file a] motion to vacate an order…when I’m not the defendant?”

As the petitioner/plaintiff, you can move the court to vacate/dismiss an order you requested, yes (see above for links to forms and tutorials).

Can I file a PFA [protection from abuse order] if my wife beats me?”

Certainly, yes. Though they wouldn’t strictly be necessary, photographs of injuries (bruises, etc.) would support your allegations.

“Can I fire my lawyer on a protective order case?”


Can I get a restraining order against my wife?”

If the court determines you have sufficient grounds, sure.

“Can I get a restraining order against someone who attacked me?”

Yes. That’s what restraining order laws were enacted to provide protection against.

“Can I get a restraining order on someone who got one on me? / “Can a respondent file an application for an injunction against the plaintiff?”

Yes. The court usually doesn’t discriminate (and, constitutionally speaking, shouldn’t). In some jurisdictions, however (for example, Illinois), there are laws on the books that prohibit “mutual orders.” See this post. This doesn’t bar applicants from filing separate petitions, though, which would be heard separately and assigned their own case numbers.

Can I get an order of protection against someone who has one on me?”

Assuming you can persuade the court that you’re in need of protection, yes. And unless you’re asked, you’re not obligated to share that you’re under a court-ordered injunction yourself (which should have no bearing on your allegations, anyway). A restraining order in no way restricts your taking legal action against the plaintiff or reporting his or her misconduct to the police or the courts; it only forbids you from personally contacting or approaching the plaintiff. If you successfully petitioned for a protection order, you would still have to observe the injunction against you or risk arrest. The defendant on the restraining order you got would be identically restricted.

“Can I get in trouble for emailing with a restraining order?”

Yes. Consult the court order you were issued. Sometimes only face-to-face contact is forbidden, but if the plaintiff has indicated no emails, telephone calls, etc., then those forms of communication are also off-limits, and engaging in them could make you subject to arrest.

Can I get in trouble for not paying the court costs for someone [who] put a restraining order on me?”

If the court has ordered you to pay those costs, yes. If you’re asking whether you’re automatically obligated to pay attorney fees for the plaintiff’s being represented at a hearing, the answer is probably no. It was the plaintiff’s choice to hire counsel. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to go to the courthouse and ask.

Can I get in trouble for violating my own restraining order years later?”

No. There are no grounds, that is, for your being arrested for communicating with the defendant in spite of a restraining order you obtained that’s now expired—or for your communicating with that person since its expiration. Some basis for the defendant to sue you may still endure, but the probability of this is low.

“Can I get in trouble if I don’t report my husband violated the PPO?”

Not legally. If your reasons for taking out the protection order were legitimate, though—that is, if your husband’s dangerous—then you could be inviting further violations. The only value of a restraining order (a legitimate one) is to check the behavior of someone who has a basic respect for the law. (Restraining orders are band-aids dispensed to reassure the public that the government cares. That’s why they’re most effective when they’re false). If your husband is dangerous and has no respect for the law, a restraining order is all but useless, and you’d do well to consider an alternative solution, like relocating. (This is the pickle the court puts you in: reporting your husband may only inflame a volatile situation.) If, on the other hand, your husband isn’t dangerous and you’ve thought better of the restraining order and that’s why you haven’t reported the violation, you may pacify the situation by going to the courthouse and having it nullified. A lawyer or women’s advocate could tell you if there’s a middle course, like hashing out differences through a mediator.

“Can I get in trouble for talking to someone I filed a protection order against…?”

No. But the other person could. Enforcing no-contact is presumably why you filed for the protection order.

Can I get into trouble [for] speaking to someone with a restraining order?”

A restraining order’s prohibitions only apply to its defendant (its recipient), that is, a restraining order only prohibits its defendant from communicating with its plaintiff. If you’re asking as the defendant in a restraining order case, the only person (or people) you can get into trouble speaking to are the ones you’ve been told not to speak to. If you’re asking whether you can get into trouble for speaking to someone else who has a restraining order, the answer is no. Though it’s often among the evil effects restraining orders have, they aren’t meant to place defendants in social quarantine.

Can I go to my husband’s court [hearing] if the district attorney placed a criminal protection order on him?”

Yes. A restraining order against your husband in no way constrains your actions.

Can I include my girlfriend in a restraining order?”

If you’re asking whether you can include your girlfriend as a co-plaintiff on a restraining order that you apply for against a third party, no. You and your girlfriend would have to file separate restraining orders against him or her.

“Can I keep a sociopath out of my same state with a restraining order?”


Can I post pics on Facebook of someone who has a restraining order against me?”

Facebook may have its own policies concerning posting pictures of others. You’re technically only constrained from performing activities specified on the court’s order (forbidden activities are usually limited to contacting or approaching the plaintiff). Posting pictures of the plaintiff that s/he might object to is not going to land you in jail. It might, however, provoke the plaintiff to cause you more legal aggravation.

Can I put a restraining order on my spouse forbidding them to talk to someone else?”

Strictly speaking, no (though this is a common ulterior motive among restraining order applicants, especially ones who’ve cheated on their husbands or wives and don’t want them finding out—or who don’t want their spouses cheating on them).

Can I request to get the affidavit on [a] restraining order…?”

On a restraining order against you, yes. See a clerk at the courthouse, and assert your right to know what the plaintiff has alleged against you. If you’re insistent, the clerk should provide the affidavit with some information redacted (crossed out), such as the plaintiff’s address. If you’re refused, an attorney can obtain it for you.

Can I request to have a restraining order vacated if its petitioner harasses me?”

Not per se. You certainly can, though, apply for a restraining order yourself against the plaintiff of the one against you. You can also report this person’s misconduct to the police (who will likely call the person and warn him or her to stop). Having a restraining order against you in no way impedes your instituting legal action against its plaintiff or reporting his or her actions to the police and/or courts.

“Can I send a letter to the court against my protection order?”

It’s perfectly lawful to write to a judge. It’s very unlikely to have any effect in your favor, though. If the judge obviously violated his ethical duties, you can file a complaint against him or her with your state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct. This is unlikely to affect the ruling, either, however. You can appeal the verdict to the Superior Court (no cost), but it bases its ruling on whether the lower court judge clearly abused his discretion, so you’d want to orient your appeal toward proving s/he did (i.e., that s/he went out of bounds). If the window for filing for an appeals hearing has closed, or you’ve already had an appeals hearing and it went against you, you’re stuck with applying directly to the plaintiff (through an attorney) to have him or her cooperate in vacating the restraining order in lieu of litigation (and this may only be a viable option after the order has expired). This answer presumes you’re the defendant. If you’re the plaintiff, you can have your restraining order quashed by dropping by the courthouse—or, if it has expired, by having an attorney file a nunc pro tunc motion.

Can I Skype if the order of protection says ‘phone’?”

Generally speaking, you’re not forbidden from using Skype. If you’re asking whether you can contact the plaintiff via Skype, that would probably be okay if the order allows phone contact. The plaintiff would have the option of responding to your call if s/he wanted or ignoring it if s/he didn’t. If the order forbids phone contact with the plaintiff, though, Skyping him or her would also be forbidden, obviously.

Can I still send my kids things even though the girl has a restraining order?”

Consult the specific constraints on the restraining order you were issued. Sometimes only face-to-face contact with the plaintiff is forbidden, but oftentimes all contact is forbidden. The children may even be listed on the court’s order as additional parties you’re forbidden from contacting. Be very sure you’re authorized contact with your children before sending them anything, because even mailing something as innocuous as a birthday card could land you in jail (and you wouldn’t be the first to be arrested for something so harmless and understandable).

Can I submit a letter to the courts in defense of my boyfriend, who was charged with domestic violence against me?”

Yes. This is unlikely to have any effect, though. You’d do better to provide testimony in his defense at a hearing or to provide him or his attorney with an affidavit, which is a written statement that you would have notarized to make it the equivalent of sworn testimony. See also this comment thread on vacating a criminal restraining order (a.k.a “mandatory order” or MRO).

“Can I sue a stalker who has filed a restraining order against me falsely to only then beat me up and say it was self-defense since they have a restraining order against me in place?”


Can I sue my soon-to-be ex-husband for filing a bogus order of protection?”

Yes, but you’d probably have to postpone filing your complaint with the court until the divorce was final.

Can I sue someone for filing a wrongful restraining order that cost me my job?”

Yes. See similar questions for a more detailed answer.

“Can I sue if a police officer lied about serving a restraining order?”

You can sue anyone for anything (including officers of the law and court—yep, you can sue a judge just like anyone else whose negligent conduct injures you). To show standing to prosecute a complaint (lawsuit), you need to demonstrate that you were injured and have a vested stake in the court’s redressing that injury. If you were served with a restraining order, the police officer should be able to produce a receipt with your signature on it.

“Can I sue someone for mental anguish from attempting to get a restraining order?”

Yes. To make a compelling case, though, you’d have to see a counselor and doctor so the court had some third-party substantiation of your suffering. If it was merely an attempt and the duration of your suffering was brief, the sympathy you could expect would probably be scant. If you could show a pattern of conduct, you’d stand a better chance of prevailing in a lawsuit. If this pattern rose to a sufficient level of egregiousness, you could sue for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“Can I sue someone who wrongfully filed a civil harassment suit?”

Yes. See also above. Torts for suits alleging malicious prosecution or abuse of process involving a restraining order are likely to be among these: malicious prosecution/abuse of process, defamation, false light, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and fraud (on you and/or the police and courts). Other torts may apply, such as those entailing invasion of privacy. See your local law library for a book of jury instructions (which will show you not only what torts may be alleged in your state but how those torts are defined and what you would need to prove to establish liability).

Can I talk to the police about emotional abuse?”

Certainly, yes. Whether an officer could assist you with resolving the abuse would depend on the circumstances.

“Can I travel to Bangladesh and reenter the U.S. with a restraining order?”

Unless you’re under unique restrictions, there’s no evident reason for concern. Though it may feel otherwise, you’re not being monitored. A civil restraining order prescribes limitations on your interaction with another party. That’s all. Violation of a restraining order (e.g., contacting the plaintiff) can result in the deportation of a non-citizen, but travel is not a violation. A restraining order is meant to keep you away from someone, not keep you close. To be certain your restrictions aren’t peculiar, review the court’s order, and don’t hesitate to inquire with the court (i.e., a judge, not a clerk) if you’re still anxious.

Can multiple persons be named in a restraining order?”

Unless the laws in your state are exceptional, only one adult can be named as “plaintiff” on a restraining order, though children in that adult’s care may additionally be listed. Multiple adults seeking a restraining order against a single defendant would have to apply separately.

Can my attorney speak to the person I have a restraining order against?”

Of course. Anybody can. Injunctions (excepting mutual no-contact orders) are one-way: the only person restrained by a restraining order is the defendant (who could freely respond to your attorney if s/he wished).

Can my employer stop me from talking to someone else?”

While you’re on the clock, yes. An employer can’t impose limitations on how you spend your personal time, though. See the question, “Can your employer make you file a restraining order on someone?” for how to respond to workplace/employer coercion. If the job is one you couldn’t live without, consider asking the other person not to visit or call you at work and reassure your employer that your relationship with the other person isn’t one s/he need be concerned about.

Can my ex come back to the house to get her stuff if I have an order of protection?”

No, the order of protection prohibits her from nearing you or your place of residence (on pain of police arrest). You could, though, have her belongings delivered to her or let someone pick them up for her.

“Can my fiancé ask the DA to terminate the criminal protective order that he has with me?”

He can ask, yes.

“Can my girlfriend get arrested for lying on a protective order?”

In theory, yes. In practice, no. Perjury, though a felony, is a crime in name only. The statute is seldom enforced and never in commonplace matters. The district prosecutor, if asked why, would shrug and say that if he prosecuted everyone who lied, there’d be no one outside of prison to caddy for him.

Can my husband have the court date changed?”

Sure, provided the court finds his request for a postponement to be worthy.

“Can my spouse file a protective order after I filed one already?” / “Can someone file a restraining order against me if I have one against them?”

Yes. In a democracy, what’s deemed fair for you to do is deemed fair for all to do. In some jurisdictions, entitlement to file cross-claims is restricted, but it’s usually possible for defendants to apply for injunctions against plaintiffs provided they’re insistent and meet certain qualifications.

Can restraining orders be served via postal mail?”

Possibly. I’ve heard of a restraining order being served by video on Facebook. Service requires confirmation that the defendant has been provided with a copy of the court’s order or had that order read out to him verbatim. If a restraining order were mailed, it would probably require a signature from the defendant confirming receipt to properly qualify as served.

Can someone file a restraining order on the other person who already has one on them?”


“Can someone file multiple protection orders?”

Yes, even against a single person.

“Can someone get a restraining order against me for posting a blog?”

It would probably depend on how a judge perceived its intent. The courts generally consider blogs to be the equivalent of online diaries. If you haven’t contacted the person in question and repeatedly been told not to, you’re not vulnerable to an allegation of harassment. If you haven’t lied about the defendant, you’re also immune to allegations of libel or defamation. Unless you’re leaking state secrets, posting information or opinion is protected under the Constitution. Where a judge might take exception to your blog is if its intent is patently malicious or invades the privacy of the other person (or, in the case of warring parents, if it stands to injure the kids). If the gist of your blog is, “X did this” or “X did this to me, and I think s/he’s a dirtbag,” saying so is your First Amendment prerogative. In other words, it’s defensible. That said, restraining orders lacking any meritorious basis are awarded to petitioners routinely. “S/he posted a blog about me, and I feel threatened!” may strike some judge or other as sufficient grounds (particularly an older judge who thinks the Internet is a playground for perverts). A goodly percentage of restraining orders are obtained on the force of dramatic persuasion alone. Should someone be able to get a restraining order against you for posting a blog? Excluding the exceptional cases I’ve mentioned, no. See also this post.

Can someone get a restraining order against me without my knowledge?”

Restraining orders are issued ex parte, meaning based on interviews between judges and plaintiffs. Defendants are only informed after the fact. So yes, someone can obtain a restraining order without your knowledge. Service of the restraining order is required, however, for it to take effect. If you haven’t been served with a court order and informed of its restrictions on your freedom, you can’t be expected to observe it.

Can someone park their vehicle in front of your house if you have a TRO against them?”

If the court has ordered this person not to come within a certain distance of you and/or your residence, then his/her parking in front of your house is a willful violation of the restraining order and grounds for arrest.

Can someone place a restraining order after one contact in five years?”

Restraining orders are meant to restrain chronic behaviors. That said, a judge may sign off on a restraining order in the absence of any qualifying evidence. If you’re issued a restraining order based on a single isolated meeting, you would have strong grounds to appeal.

Can someone put a restraining order on me for calling her a bitch?”

Calling someone a name is not sufficient grounds for a restraining order. This is the land of the free (supposedly, at least): you’re entitled to call a Supreme Court Justice a bitch. This person, though, especially if she is a bitch, could allege that you’ve repeatedly harassed her despite her asking you to leave her alone or make any number of similar claims to a judge (they don’t have to be true). Steer clear of her, and tell her to leave you alone.

Can someone put a restraining order on me from another state?”


“Can someone sue you for filing a restraining order against them?” / “Can someone sue me for filing a false restraining order that was dismissed?” / “Can I be sued for a dismissed domestic abuse restraining order?” / “Can I sue if [the] plaintiff dismissed [the] charges?” / “Can I sue…if an order of protection was taken [out] against me, and the accusations were proven to be false?” / “Can I sue the plaintiff if a protection order is quashed for legal fees, etc.?” / “Can I sue a neighbor for filing false charges against me that could affect my job?”


Can someone take out a restraining order for someone else?”

No, not unless the other person is a minor or an adult found to be incapable of representing him- or herself. Hawaii’s family court, for example, has a specific application for this (“Petition for an Order for Protection on Behalf of a Family or Household Member“).

Can someone who has a restraining order on me tell my boss?”

Yes, s/he can tell anyone. Restraining orders are public documents. This doesn’t mean, however, that the restraining order plaintiff could lie to your boss with impunity. If s/he made false claims about you that imperiled your employment, you could sue him or her for damages or seek an injunction against the plaintiff of your own, alleging harassment.

“Can someone write on Facebook about you if you have a restraining order against them?”

A restraining order doesn’t mean someone can’t talk or write about you. It just means s/he can’t talk or write to you. If what the defendant has written is patently harassing or taunting, you may have grounds for having the restraining order modified to forbid this kind of public expression. If, however, the defendant is reporting facts about the case, that’s his or her constitutional right (as is his or her expressing an opinion about those facts). Restraining orders are matters of public record. If the defendant (or anyone else) lies about you publicly in a damaging way, you may sue him or her for defamation.

“Can the state pick up a case after you drop a restraining order?”

If a restraining order that was electively petitioned in civil court were vacated upon the request of the petitioner, there wouldn’t seem to be any grounds for further state interest. If the order had been violated, that is, if the plaintiff and defendant had been communicating or seeing each other in spite of the order’s prohibitions and this were reported, it might constitute grounds for a renewal of scrutiny. Otherwise, I can’t conceive of a reason why terminating the restraining order wouldn’t be a legal end on the matter.

“Can women get away with false protective orders?”

Sure. Men, too (though not as easily).

Can you be prosecuted for lying to get a restraining order?”

Yes. If you lie about a material fact in a restraining order case (that is, one likely to influence a judge), you’re vulnerable to prosecution by the county/district attorney for felony perjury. You may also be prosecuted in civil court (sued) by the person you lie about (for defamation, false light, fraud, etc.).

Can you be violated for a restraining order after it expires?”

Expired means no longer valid/effective. A possible exception would be if you violated the restraining order before it expired, and this was easily proved.

Can you beat a PFA…if you have prior mental issues?”

Possibly. You would probably need a counselor (therapist, psychologist) or doctor/psychiatrist to testify on your behalf at an appeals hearing, whether in person or by affidavit. Ideally, you should have an attorney represent you, besides. Because you’re not being charged with a crime, guilt is less a factor than whether the plaintiff has a legitimate reason to be concerned for his or her safety, privacy, or peace of mind. If the allegations against you are nonviolent—if you were merely accused of harassing conduct, for example—you might be able to base a defense on a mental condition like manic depression, schizophrenia, or Tourette syndrome—a condition, that is, that causes you to involuntarily engage in activity that someone would find unsettling or distressing.

“Can you file a restraining order based on hearsay…?”

You can file a restraining order based on fantasy or outright lies.

“Can you get a fake restraining order?”

Daily if you’re determined enough.

Can you get a protective order because of a threatening phone call?”

Possibly, though a threat communicated by phone is impossible to substantiate (prove) unless the call was recorded.

Can you get a restraining order for comments made on Facebook?”

If you’ve been libeled (that is, if someone has made false, public statements that traduced your name and respectability) or if you’ve libeled someone yourself, redress through the courts would probably be by lawsuit. Grounds for a restraining order would be your repeatedly making comments to someone or that person’s repeatedly directing unwanted comments to you despite being told not to. In other words, if you keep posting to someone’s wall or emailing him or her in spite of that person’s telling you to buzz off, s/he could allege harassment and be granted a restraining order. If you post comments about someone to someone else, and those comments can be defended as either truthful or simply your opinion, the person you wrote about would not have grounds for filing for a restraining order against you (which, unfortunately, doesn’t mean a great deal: a judge can approve a restraining order on a whim). Play it safe. If you’ve got someone threatening to petition for a restraining order against you, keep your communications about that person private.

“Can you get a restraining order if you don’t want someone to view your finances at their place of employment?”

Probably not, per se. If the person were to use that information inappropriately in a way that injured you or that demonstrably invaded your privacy, you might have grounds to allege harassment (besides report that person for professional misconduct).

Can you get a restraining order to stop someone from posting messages on Facebook and [sending] text messages?”

Yes. Before taking this extreme step, though, why not tell the person to stop and inform the person of your intention if s/he doesn’t? That may suffice to resolve the nuisance and would save you and him/her a good deal of grief (and the taxpaying public about $2,000).

Can you get an order of protection against you for only stating your opinion about someone?”

Strictly speaking, no. There might be exceptions, for example, if you publicly stated the opinion that the other person would look better in a noose or in concrete shoes at the bottom of the ocean. Opinion is protected under the Constitution. Unless your opinion could be persuasively interpreted as threatening, there isn’t a substantive basis for a protection order.

Can you get fair representation yourself against a lawyer in court?”

In theory, yes. In practice, no. Courts show partiality toward attorneys and those represented by them. Restraining order defendants are an exceptional case. For restraining order defendants, having a lawyer definitely improves the odds of their prevailing in a hearing but doesn’t guarantee success, because courts also show partiality toward restraining order plaintiffs (applicants, that is, especially female ones). If you’re a restraining order defendant and the plaintiff is represented by counsel, you’re going to have a very tough time of it on your own. Retain a lawyer yourself if at all feasible.

Can you legally explain your side of a temporary restraining order on Facebook?”

A restraining order doesn’t deny you your freedom of speech. If you’re forbidden all contact with the plaintiff, though, you can’t message him or her on Facebook. Also, take care when writing that what you say is defensible (that is, true and factual) and that you don’t provide the plaintiff with grounds to allege harassment. If you’re writing about a restraining order that’s still in effect, you’d be wise to imagine that everything you say will be read by a judge. A blog is typically viewed by the courts as an online diary, so a blog might provide you with more latitude to express yourself than you’d have writing on Facebook. A blog requires that others choose to read what you post there; things you post on Facebook are automatically forwarded to those in your circle, making it an aggressive medium rather than a passive one (a judge may discern a difference, that is, between your explaining your side and your advertising it). See also this post.

Can you post a restraining order on Facebook?”

A restraining order is a public document.

“Can you press charges for harassment with a PPO in effect?”

You can certainly try. An injunction doesn’t forbid your filing a police report or taking other legal action against the plaintiff (for example, suing him or her). Just make sure any documents you send or have served on the plaintiff are mailed or delivered through proper channels (i.e., do not contact or confront the plaintiff in person). Such documents must, of course, have been processed by the court ahead of time. If you’re male and you’re being harassed by a female plaintiff with a protection order against you, your allegations are likely to be discounted by the police. An attorney could best advise you on available recourses, which will probably be through the courts. Initial consultations are usually free.

Can you re-serve a restraining order?”

If you’re asking whether you can apply for another restraining order to replace one that has expired, yes, if the conduct complained of in the first injunction resumes.

Can you report that your girlfriend will file a fake restraining order?”

No. The court only rules on actual misconduct. It won’t act on your prediction. If there’s no restraining order in effect at present, though, you’re perfectly free to tell your girlfriend that you intend to sue her penniless if she follows through on the threat—which you would have every right to do in such a case.

Can you send a greeting card to someone who has a restraining order against you?”

Consult the order you were served. If it prohibits all contact with the plaintiff, including by phone, email, and post, then sending a card would be a violation. Take the court’s order very seriously, because defendants have been arrested for acts as innocuous as this.

Can you settle a restraining order out of court?”

Possibly. Bear in mind that if you’re the defendant and the restraining order is in effect, your contacting the plaintiff is probably forbidden and grounds for arrest. Consult the court’s order to see whether all contact is off-limits. Sometimes communication by phone, letter, or email is allowed. If it isn’t, then you’d either have to speak via a third party (which may also be forbidden) or through an attorney to avoid risk of arrest. If the restraining order was fraudulent, you can of course sue for damages and possibly settle the matter out of court that way. If you’re the plaintiff in the case, you can return to the court and request that it be vacated.

Can you still be pressed with charges if you talked during a restraining order, but the restraining order is over?”

The window for reporting a violation is probably closed now that the injunction has expired. This is a question you could likely run past a criminal attorney for no charge, though, if you’re really concerned. Make a call and frame the question this way: “I’m wondering if I need to retain legal counsel. My situation is….”

“Can you still sue someone if you have a restraining order against you?”

Yes. A restraining order isn’t an impediment to instituting a civil action against the plaintiff. Once you’ve filed your complaint and summons with the court (usually your local Superior Court), you may send the court-approved documents to the defendant by certified mail or have them served on the defendant by a local law officer or process server. (You want a confirmation that the defendant received them, which you need to provide to the court to proceed.) Keep everything on the up and up. Your only communication with the defendant will be through legal briefs submitted through the court (copies of which you’ll mail to the defendant or the defendant’s attorney).

Can you stop a restraining order before it is served?”

If you’re the plaintiff, possibly. You’d have to return to the courthouse and move to have it vacated. If you’re the defendant, no. You’d have to request an appeals hearing.

Can you sue a counselor if she doesn’t keep her word?”

You may have grounds for suing her and/or having her license revoked if she breached confidentiality (that is, if she talked about your private sessions with a third party or parties without your consent).

Can you sue for legal fees on a dropped restraining order?”

Yes. If you’re only out a few thousand or less, filing in small claims would be simplest—and you could represent yourself if having a lawyer represent you would cause your damage claim to exceed that court’s award limit.

“Can you sue for repetitive false restraining orders?”

You can sue anyone for anything, certainly, and it only costs a couple hundred or so to file a lawsuit with the Superior Court. Getting a judge to recognize the pain, suffering, and stress that the kind of sniping you’re talking about causes is challenging, though, because the court obviously doesn’t want to cop to its role in this abuse. If you could qualify and substantiate your losses adequately, and you filed your complaint within the statutes of limitation for whatever torts you were alleging, you could probably recover on your suffering and simultaneously bring this conduct to a permanent halt. Consider, also, if you’re seeking to recover damages, requesting a jury trial (instead of a “bench trial”). There’s an extra cost for a jury, but I’d sooner rely on Joe and Jane Doe to recognize how torturous what you’re complaining of is than a judge.

“Can you sue someone if you have a restraining order?”

Yes. A restraining order isn’t an impediment to your taking legal action against your accuser. Injunction against contacting him or her doesn’t apply to mailing legal documents (a court summons and lawsuit, for example) or to having legal documents delivered by a process server or local law officer. Nor, incidentally, does it apply to your talking to anyone else you might wish to, whether an attorney, friends on Facebook, or people who know both you and the plaintiff whom you want to explain the situation to and/or obtain testimony from. If you choose to meet with a mutual acquaintance, of course, make sure the plaintiff won’t be present.

Can you violate a restraining order if a temporary order was created the same day you supposedly violated it?”

Technically a restraining order isn’t valid until it’s been served on the defendant. You can’t, that is, be expected to observe an order of the court until you’ve been provided with a copy of it or have otherwise been informed of its specifications (by having it read out to you by a law officer, for example).

Can your employer make you file a restraining order on someone?”

No. S/he couldn’t compel you to prosecute someone by threatening to fire you, that is. If your employer objects to someone’s conduct, s/he should apply to the courts him- or herself. If you are threatened by your employer for not doing something that clearly falls outside of your job duties, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Employers are not permitted to retaliate against you for filing such a complaint. There are also statutes (laws) against workplace coercion/retaliation, such as those defined here.

Do courts send out text messages about restraining orders?”

I’ve never heard of this, no.

Do I have to go back to court to quash a restraining order?”

An attorney could prepare the paperwork for you, but it’s possible the court will require a followup hearing that you would have to attend.

“Do I need an attorney to fight a restraining order…?”

Maybe not. If “maybe not” isn’t what you want to bank your future well-being on, get an attorney. Hock your car if you have to.

[Do] I, the plaintiff, have every right to drop my protective order anytime before my court date?”

You have the right to apply (move) for the order’s vacation. It’s possible that a judge, at his or her discretion, could deny your motion.

“Do judges hold people in contempt for violating a restraining order…?”


“Do judges like attorneys at restraining order hearings?”

No, because it complicates things and makes them accountable for their rulings. Bring one. Bring two.

Do narcissistic men trick courts into giving them restraining orders?”

With ease, yes, and a good deal of relish, besides. Narcissistic women, too. Glib lying comes naturally to narcissistic sociopaths, and lying successfully (bending others to their will) gratifies their egos, which know no bounds. Narcissists have a pathological lust for vengeance, and restraining orders not only cater to their talents—social manipulation and dominance—but are very effective at wreaking havoc on the lives of those whom they target for revenge.

Do police call if someone takes out an injunction or restraining order on you?”

If the plaintiff first filed a complaint with the police, possibly. If the plaintiff went straight to the courthouse, you may not be informed you’ve been issued a restraining order until you’re served with it (though a phone call from a cop may constitute “service” in some locales).

Do police inform neighbors of no-contact orders?”

Typically, no.

Do restraining orders prevent people from making phone calls to employers?”

A restraining order may forbid a defendant from making phone calls to the employer of the plaintiff, yes, if the employer and the plaintiff share the same workplace. Typically restraining orders will list those locations that are off-limits to a defendant. Calling an employer may be a gray area. The purpose of a restraining order is to restrict a defendant from contacting its plaintiff.

Do the police track your phone with restraining orders?”

Unless the circumstances were extraordinary ones, no. To the best of my knowledge, the police would have to apply to the court for permission to tap a telephone line or monitor its records, which authorization would only be granted in the case of probable criminal activity. There might be exceptions under the Patriot Act, but it isn’t standard protocol, no. Millions of restraining orders are issued each year, and there aren’t resources enough for the police to monitor that many phones. You would likely have grounds for filing a lawsuit, besides, if your privacy were invaded in this way without justification.

“Do women with borderline personality disorder make false rape allegations?”

False allegations of a sexual nature are common, yes. One female respondent to this blog, the long-term girlfriend of a man who’s likely a borderline, reported being accused of rape (coerced sex). Another woman, whose borderline personality-disordered boyfriend had physically abused her, was accused of sexual kinks in court, which worked to explain away her allegations of violence. From “BPD Distortion Campaigns”: “What lies do BPs [borderline personalities] tell? Often they revolve around false claims of partner abuse, child abuse, perverse sexual behaviors, drug and substance abuse, mental illness, and criminal conduct.”

Do you get served a new restraining order when it’s modified…?”

Restraining order laws and procedures vary from state to state, but probably you would simply be mailed a copy of the modified terms.

Do you have to notify your job [that] you have a PPO against someone?”

No, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if this person legitimately poses a danger to you or others.

Do you have to out that you have an order of protection on a job application?”

To the best of my knowledge, you’re under no ethical obligation to report that you’re the recipient of a civil restraining order to a prospective employer unless asked. Note that restraining orders are civil instruments and do not mean that you’ve been convicted of a crime. A restraining order equates (in legal significance, anyway) to a civil misdemeanor and doesn’t represent a criminal anything.

Does a denied temporary restraining order stay on my record?”

Possibly. Some respondents to this blog report that they’ve been denied jobs because of vacated restraining orders (ones, that is, that were dismissed/quashed). You should endeavor to find out what kind of residue remains on public record and see that it’s expunged. Since you’re arguably a victim of abuse of process/malicious prosecution, don’t hesitate to go to the courthouse and request an interview with a judge to see that your record is cleared, particularly if the order was approved and quashed on appeal. If the court approved the ex parte order in the first place, it’s the court’s responsibility to see that you’re not punished for a judicial error.

“Does a restraining order include my new girlfriend, too?”

Not per se, no. A restraining order only applies to its defendant/respondent. It may, however, expressly prohibit “third-party contact” with the plaintiff/petitioner, which means that if your new girlfriend were to contact the plaintiff and that contact could be construed as being instigated by you, you could be charged with violating the order. Your girlfriend’s actions, in other words, aren’t restricted, but if she were to act injudiciously toward the plaintiff, you could end up paying for it.

“Does a restraining order stay on your record?”

Yes, indefinitely.

Does calling an elementary school saying I am abusive to children count for slander?”

Yes, provided the allegation has no factual basis, that is, you may sue for defamation if someone lies about you publicly in a way that injures your name and respectability.

Does having a protection order against you prevent travel to the U.S.A.?”

I don’t see why it would (unless there’s only one departing flight, and the plaintiff is the pilot). If you’re worried, don’t hesitate to call or go to the courthouse that issued the order and ask.

Does it help to have friends write letters for a temporary restraining order?”

The testimony of friends and associates who can speak to your character or who are material witnesses may help your defense, yes, especially if they can back up your account. The court would probably accept letters, but statements are more valid in the form of affidavits, which are simply written statements that have been witnessed by a notary public and made the equivalent of sworn testimony. Query Google for an example affidavit from your state to use as a template. If the judge allowed it, witnesses could also testify in person at your hearing.

Does my harassment protection order protect me from being charged for defending myself?”

Laws vary from state to state, but probably not, no.

Does the accuser have to be present in court for a restraining order?”

At an appeals hearing, yes, typically. The Constitution requires that a defendant be afforded the opportunity to face his or her accuser. Accordingly, defendants may interrogate (ask questions of) their accusers through the presiding judge (defendants, in other words, may pose their questions to the judge, and the court will communicate them to the plaintiff and require a response). Rules vary from state to state, however. An exception might be if the accuser has claimed mortal apprehension.

“Does the applicant for a protection order have to go to court if they are too unwell to?”

Eventually, yes, if the defendant has been granted an appeals hearing. You can, however, explain your condition and request a continuance (postponement).

“How are restraining orders abused?”

Sign a petition to promote reform.

Restraining order abuse is limited only by the extent of an applicant’s imagination and malicious ill will. See this page for a more detailed answer.

“How can a judge just approve a restraining order when the [person] is lying?”

Restraining orders aren’t issued on the basis of truthful allegations; they’re issued on the basis of probability. What a plaintiff claims (violence, stalking, rape—it doesn’t matter) isn’t what’s important. If a judge is persuaded there’s a greater chance that the plaintiff has a reason to feel concern or fear or whatever than that the plaintiff is totally lying or complaining about nothing, then the “burden of proof” is satisfied. Lies aren’t prosecuted or even acknowledged, and allegations don’t have to be true to work. A judge rules on the forcefulness of a complaint, not on its strict factuality.

How can I charge someone for intimidating me when they have a protective order filed against me?”

A restraining order only forbids your contacting or approaching the plaintiff. It in no way limits your taking legal action against him or her. If the plaintiff is harassing or threatening you, you may report his or her conduct to the police and ask an officer to request that s/he desist, or you can turn the tables and apply to the court for a restraining order against him or her. Keep a careful record (a dated log) of all such activity so you can substantiate your claim. Abuse of restraining orders to dominate or taunt defendants isn’t uncommon. Don’t allow yourself to be baited into violating the protection order, but don’t tolerate continued abuse, either.

“How can I drop a criminal restraining order?”

Restraining orders that issue from civil court are electively petitioned by plaintiffs. Criminal restraining orders (also called mandatory restraining orders or MROs) are issued by the court in conjunction with criminal cases. See this page prepared by a Denver attorney for explanations of what criminal restraining orders signify and how they may be vacated.

“How can I get a restraining order dropped for something I never did…?”

Appeal. Some jurisdictions assign appeals hearings. Others require that they be applied for by a certain deadline. This information should be on the first page of the injunction you received. Also, get an attorney if at all possible.

“How can somebody be stopped from filing false restraining orders?”

The only certain way I can think of is homicide, which isn’t a recourse I condone. Within the law, your options are limited. If this is a serial behavior, especially part of a campaign of harassment, you could have a lawyer draft a cease-and-desist letter (which is toothless), apply for a restraining order yourself (see this post), or sue (for harassment, emotional distress, etc.). There might also be grounds for pressing charges.

How can you know if a TRO has been canceled if you are the person being restrained?”

The court should notify you—or you can look up your case online at the courthouse’s website to see if it’s been vacated (canceled, nullified).

“How can you make someone drop a false restraining order?”

I presume you mean legally? Sue for damages. Short of that, you could employ an attorney to “invite” the petitioner to recant in lieu of facing litigation. Appeal it, of course, if the window of opportunity hasn’t already shut.

“How common is restraining order abuse?”

It’s been extrapolated from government studies that as many as 80% of restraining orders are either frivolous (“unnecessary”) or fraudulent. A frivolous restraining order might be one that forbids someone from annoyingly texting too persistently. To put this in perspective, an injunction to stop someone from texting you (on pain of police arrest) may cost the state $1,300 to $2,000 just to process. A fraudulent restraining order would be one that’s based on lies and likely motivated by sheer malice (its cost to state resources is the same). It’s estimated that as many as three million restraining orders are filed each year. Therefore 2.4 million restraining orders might fall into the categories of frivolous or false (at a correspondent cost to the nation in the neighborhood of $3.2 billion).

How do authorities make people feel when they come out to handle a restraining order situation?”

Cops’ responses will typically favor restraining order plaintiffs (that is, petitioners). Defendants, on the contrary, will be treated with suspicion, possibly even distaste.

How do I check online to see if I have a domestic case against me?”

You would go to the website of the courthouse where the case was opened and enter your name (this may be the city courthouse or the county courthouse).

“How do I get my attorney fees back for lies about me to get a PPO…?”

Litigate. To recover a sum of a few thousand dollars, you could sue in small claims court.

“How do I handle a fake police report and false restraining order?”

Apply for an appeals hearing, and retain an attorney. See also this post.

“How do I know if I’ve been served a restraining order…?”

A constable will have put it in your hands. It’s possible, though, that you’ve been issued one and not served. If you know what jurisdiction (court) the order would have been sought in, the courthouse should be able to tell you. Technically, you shouldn’t be subject to arrest for violating a restraining order you were never served. Which isn’t to say you couldn’t be arrested. It’s happened.

“How do I prove my girlfriend punched herself in the eye for a domestic charge?”

You’d probably need video evidence or corroborating testimony from a witness.

How [do I] prove to a judge in a civil harassment case [that] the defendant is mentally ill?”

If the plaintiff’s mental illness has been diagnosed or s/he is on doctor-prescribed medication for a mental condition, you may introduce this person’s medical history into evidence (which records would have to be obtained by subpoena). Otherwise you can testify to what you know about the plaintiff’s condition and offer what substantiation of aberrant behavior you can to support your defense. Restraining order deliberations are fast-food justice (appeals hearings are typically only minutes long). To do this well would probably require your obtaining legal counsel and moving for additional time from the court to prepare your case.

“How do I reply if I’m the defendant for a restraining order?”

There should be instructions on the injunction you were served. Otherwise check with your courthouse. And do whatever you have to do to secure the services of a qualified attorney. Consult this page for further details and a helpful link.

“How do I sue an ex-husband for false claims of abuse against my boyfriend?”

The complaint (lawsuit) would probably have to be filed by your boyfriend—unless you wanted to sue for injuries the false claims caused you. Ideally, you and/or he would want to employ an attorney. If you wanted to file a suit on your own, see this post.

How do you communicate with someone who has [a restraining order] against you?

Indirectly and preferably through an attorney. Unless the restraining order specifies “no third-party contact” or “no third-party communication,” a mutual friend could speak on your behalf. The restraining order plaintiff could return to the courthouse and have the restraining order modified to forbid third-party contact, which would make even communication through a go-between a violation of the order. Until then, however, having someone speak for you wouldn’t strictly be a violation of the court’s order, which only forbids you from contacting or approaching the plaintiff.

How [do you] get an order of protection dropped when the [district attorney] and judge won’t drop it at the protected party’s request?”

Your best course would be to consult an attorney. It may be possible to appeal the judge’s decision to a higher court. (Alternatively an attorney can assist you in expunging the order after its expiration.) See also the question above, “How can I drop a criminal restraining order?”

“How easy is it to get a restraining order…?”

As easy as walking and talking.

“How much does it cost to hire a lawyer if someone filed a restraining order against you…?”

A standard retainer is $500. For this a lawyer will review your case. Total fees to litigate it may run from $2,500 to $5,000.

How to get protection from someone who keeps violating a PFA?”

Your question gets at the restraining order process’s dirty secret: a civil injunction is a piece of paper, and if a volatile/violent defendant has no respect for this document, it’s all but worthless. Unless you’re prepared to physically defend yourself (or hire a bodyguard), you’d do well to consider moving yourself out of harm’s reach, that is, relocating and keeping your new address private. You would want to change your phone number, too, obviously.

I am the defendant in an order of protection. Can I ask for more time to collect my evidence?”

The worst that can happen is that you’re refused. To request more time, you’d want to go to the courthouse and file a motion for continuance (that is, a motion to be granted an extension/postponement). Explain what you’re after to the clerk. Having your case number handy will expedite things.

I have a restraining order against me? Can a lawyer go for me?”

A lawyer can accompany and represent you. The court requires your presence at the hearing, however.

“I have a restraining order against me. If I ‘like’ a picture, is that still communication?”

Legally, maybe/maybe not, but since “liking” an image on Facebook does communicate both a feeling and your presence as an observer, it’s an ill-advised action. A defendant’s “liking” an image on the plaintiff’s Facebook page confirms that the defendant is monitoring the plaintiff, which, according to the climate of hysteria that prevails today, may well suggest “cyberstalking” to a judge (especially if the plaintiff or his or her attorney uses that word). Defendants have landed in hot water for sending flowers, butt-dialing plaintiffs, or, in one instance that gained media attention, because Google sent an automated email. The conceit of the restraining order process is that plaintiffs apply for restraining orders because they’re afraid for their safety. A judge, according to this conceit, may well interpret your action in the most sinister light possible, that is, as a taunt or as a reminder that you’re “still out there…watching.”

“I have a restraining order against my ex, but my children were canceled to be protected. Why?”

Evidently because the court held that whatever your grounds were for applying for the order didn’t apply to the children or legitimate their father’s being denied parental visitation rights.

“I have a restraining order in West Virginia. Does it count in Maryland?”

If you’re the defendant and you’re asking whether you would still have to observe the court’s order even if you moved, the answer is yes. For example, if you were forbidden to call or write to the restraining order plaintiff in one state, you would still be forbidden to do so even if you relocated. If you’re the restraining order plaintiff, the situation is more complicated, because the addresses you provided to the court in your former jurisdiction—that is, the places where the defendant is forbidden to go—will have changed.

I have a restraining order on my ex. Can I still talk to his mum?”

You’re free to speak to whomever you like. Restraining orders’ restraints only apply to the actions of their defendants.

I have an order of protection that was vacated. Does it need to be expunged?”

It’s possible. You’d think one would necessarily follow the other, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Courts get praises and federal subsidies for issuing restraining orders but nothing for revoking them. Clearing your record is in no one’s interest but yours. There are law firms that specialize in expungement, but start at the courthouse and see what you can find out or accomplish for free.

I have no-contact orders in both criminal and civil court. Does one’s being dropped count for both courts?”

Probably not (separate cases, separate courts), though the dismissal of one case may support a motion or appeal to have the other case vacated (voided).

“I just turned 18 and want to remove my name from a restraining order my mom put on my boyfriend. How do I do that?”

Go to the courthouse that issued the restraining order and apply with the clerk (file a motion) to see a judge and have the restraining order modified or vacated (canceled).

I made false allegations to obtain a PPO. What do I do?”

If the court order is still in effect, the ethical thing would be to return to the courthouse and have it vacated (canceled). You’re at no risk of punishment from the court (though I wouldn’t recommend that you inform the court you lied but just say you changed your mind). If you’re concerned that the defendant in the case will sue you for abuse of process, you could either call and apologize and offer to make amends, or you could postpone having the order rescinded, obtain the counsel of an attorney, and have the attorney broker an agreement with the defendant so that his or her feathers are smoothed before you have the order withdrawn. If the expense of hiring a lawyer is beyond consideration, you could have a third party (a mutual friend, for example) call the defendant and explain you’ve reconsidered. You always assume some risk when you commit perjury, but chances are the defendant will be relieved to have the matter concluded.

I need a restraining order on someone. Do I have to put my home address on it?”

Very likely you’ll need to provide this information to the court, yes, but you may request that it not appear on the restraining order itself (that is, that it be withheld from the defendant). Often, if not typically, there are public and private components of restraining order applications. Express your concerns to the court. Keeping your home address private shouldn’t be a problem.

I received a letter from an attorney in New York threatening me with a protective order. I live in Missouri. Whom do I complain to?”

It would depend on the allegations the attorney was making. If the attorney is writing to you on behalf of a client, ceasing contact with that person (the client) would be a good idea (if practical). Hopefully the matter would go no further. If the attorney has mistaken you for someone else, inform him or her of the mistake. If s/he’s harassing you for no reason, you can request that the s/he leave you alone. If the lawyer persisted without justification, you could apply for a restraining order against him or her alleging that you’ve been harassed and distressed (that is, take your complaint to the court). You could also register a complaint with the New York Bar Association or call the law firm the attorney is employed at. If you have an attorney yourself, make him or her aware of the situation and obtain his or her counsel (which would probably be to let the situation pacify itself). If you’re being harassed and threatened baselessly, you can also call your local police precinct and file a report and ask that an officer call the lawyer for you. Whether or how you act should really be based on what truth there is to the attorney’s allegations against you. You don’t want to inflame the situation pointlessly.

I want to dismiss a protective order. Can the respondent sign a contract to leave me alone?”

This is a question best posed to an attorney. The probable difficulty would be in making such a contract legally binding. You might consider consulting a professional arbiter/mediator, someone who specializes in “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR).

I want to take out a PPO on my mother. Can I if I’m a minor?”

Possibly, but you’d have to be represented by an adult, that is, an adult may be able to obtain one from the court on your behalf. Have an adult (preferably a guardian) accompany you to see a judge.

[I was] found innocent of stalking, but my ex-boyfriend is still accusing me…. Can I sue for this?”

If the basis of your ex-boyfriend’s prosecution was malicious or fraudulent, certainly. Counts (torts, civil wrongs) that you alleged in such a suit might include abuse of process/malicious prosecution, defamation of character, fraud (in misrepresenting you to the court for the purpose of misleading a judge), and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

I’m getting harassed by someone phoning and knocking on [my] door. What should I do?”

Keep a log of this conduct (or construct one) for reference or substantiation of the harassment in case you should need it. If you tell the person repeatedly to leave you alone and s/he persists anyway, you can apply to the court for a restraining order (assuming this person has no legitimate excuse for bothering you). Before taking this step, however, which can have have enduring consequences not just on the other person’s life but on yours, too, consider informing the person of your intention if s/he continues to bug you and waiting to see if that suffices to resolve the nuisance.

If a girl has a restraining order on a guy, can you talk to him about her?”

Yes. Restraining orders are matters of public record and don’t forbid anyone from talking about anything. To avoid the possibility of exciting further allegations from the girl, however (for example, of harassment), it would be wisest to communicate in person or through a private medium. A protracted conversation on Facebook about a restraining order case wouldn’t necessarily be a violation of the restraining order—which only prohibits the guy from talking to the girl—but it might provoke the girl to cause the guy more legal grief. Though they often serve this purpose—and are often intended to serve this purpose—restraining orders are not gag orders.

“If a judge [dismisses] a protective order as frivolous, can the petitioner apply for an new one?”

Absurdly, yes. Some people are serial abusers. And some serial abusers go so far as to apply for multiple restraining orders against the same defendant in different jurisdictions (and they get them, too). Some readers have reported having spouses (exes, etc.) repeatedly file and then drop restraining orders against them. Because restraining orders are usually free and easy to obtain, they’re excellent both as tools of harassment (or taunting) and as a means to forcefully and continually re-exert one’s presence on the subject of a personal fixation: “You thought you were rid of me? Think again!”

“If a [restraining order] is vacated nunc pro tunc, does it still exist in the records?”

By definition, vacation (of judgment) means “the setting aside of a judgment on grounds that it was issued by mistake, inadvertence, surprise, excusable neglect or fraud” (Black’s Law Dictionary). The case should be expunged. Some respondents to this blog, however, have reported being hamstrung by vacated restraining orders (that is, ones that were ultimately found to be baseless). The court should be able to tell you whether record of the case remains publicly accessible. If so, take action.

If I apply for a restraining order, and it is denied and then I get hurt, can I sue the court?”

You may have grounds to sue the judge, yes, which is why restraining orders are commonly awarded on a better-safe-than-sorry basis. It isn’t just protectiveness toward plaintiffs that biases judges but self-protection, as well, which is among the reasons justice in this process is inherently compromised.

“If I file [an] order of protection and leave [the] state, is it still valid?”

Yes. For the term of its effectiveness, it’s valid in both the state where it was petitioned and in all others where you register it. This policy is called “full faith and credit.”

“If I gave my wife’s sister a baby diaper, is that breaking the no-contact [order]?”

Strictly speaking, if the sister isn’t the plaintiff, no. Some orders may prohibit defendants from “harassing” family members of the plaintiff. The gift of a diaper wouldn’t seem to constitute harassment, but if your wife is the plaintiff, there’s no telling how a judge might rule if she represented your contact with her sister as “untoward” or “unwelcomed,” etc. (Pretend you’re a judge and consider how this claim sounds: “He’s been sneaking around, contacting members of my family, and trying to turn them against me.”)

If I have a restraining order against me, do police check?”

If the police ran your records, the restraining order would pop up, yes.

If I have a restraining order against my husband, can I have it modified?”

Yes. You just need to return to the courthouse.

“If I have never had a domestic violence case, and the person applying for a restraining order states there never was any abuse, will a judge grant a restraining order?”

Conceivably, yes. A plaintiff’s simply stating, “I’m afraid,” may very literally be all the more basis for issuing a restraining order that a judge requires.

If I haven’t been served for a protection injunction, and the person wants to drop the order, what do they do?”

Irrespective of whether you’re served with the order or not, the plaintiff may voluntarily withdraw it by returning to the court where it was petitioned and requesting that it be vacated.

If I made a false report to get a restraining order, can I be charged four years later?”

If you lied under oath about a material fact to obtain a restraining order, you’ll be vulnerable to prosecution for perjury for the term of the statute. Perjury is a felony crime, the statute of limitation for which is seven years.

If I put a restraining order against someone, can I still talk on the phone with them?”

A restraining order application may allow you to indicate that communication by phone is acceptable. In my state, there are a series of tick boxes to specify what forms of contact, if any, are okay with the applicant (for example, email, phone, or post). If you’ve previously indicated otherwise on an existing order, you may return to the courthouse and modify it to permit phone conversation.

If I put a restraining order [on] someone, and we both violate it, who’s in trouble more?

The party who may be subject to arrest is the defendant. A restraining order doesn’t explicitly restrict the actions of its plaintiff; it’s presumed that you wouldn’t have wasted the court’s time and taxpayers’ money by applying for a restraining order you didn’t intend to honor.

If I put a restraining order on the person living in my house, do they have to leave immediately?”

As soon as s/he is served with the order, yes.

“If I represent myself, do I have the right to question my accuser?” / “During [a] protection from stalking hearing, can [the] plaintiff be interviewed?”

Yes. You may present your question to the judge, and s/he will ask it of the plaintiff. See also this post. I recommend you get an attorney, though, if at all possible.

If I’m under oath, can I be sued for slander?”

Substantiation of an allegation of slander requires proof that the defendant lied. Truthful statements, no matter how unkind, don’t qualify as slander.

If I’ve been served a restraining order, do I have to appear in court?”

If you want to contest the justice of the court’s order, yes. If you don’t appear in court, you’ll forfeit your opportunity to appeal the restraining order.

If my restraining order is dropped, can I see my kids?”

If you’re asking as the defendant, your visitation rights would presumably be restored if the restraining order were vacated, yes, because it would be as if it had never been issued. If possible, though, consult with a family attorney. If you’re asking as the plaintiff, you won’t lose visitation rights consequent to your restraining order’s being vacated, per se, but if the order was malicious, it’s conceivable that the defendant could instigate a reciprocal legal action of his or her own against you.

If my sister has a restraining order against her husband, am I still able to speak to him?”

Of course. Your actions are only limited by a restraining order if you’re the defendant on that order. An injunction against someone else in no way pertains to you.

If my [temporary restraining order] gets dismissed, can I turn around and get one against my spouse?

Yes, assuming you could persuade a judge you needed one. You could in fact apply for a restraining order even if the restraining order against you is upheld, though in some states restrictions apply to obtaining a reciprocal restraining order (in which case you would have to be very insistent).

If my wife has a restraining order, can she still email me mean stuff?”

Having a restraining order against you doesn’t mean you have to tolerate abuse from its plaintiff. You can report this misconduct to the police and ask them to call your wife and ask her to stop, or you can save the emails, print them out, and apply with the court for a restraining order against her, alleging harassment. Keep a dated log of all acts of abuse to present to a judge. This blog has gotten a number of inquiries that suggest restraining order plaintiffs believe that because they’ve obtained injunctions against others, they can harass (or even assault) these people with impunity. This isn’t the case. Restraining order defendants have the same entitlement to legal protections that anyone else has.

“If restraining orders are vacated, does it mean malicious prosecution?”

Most states permit tort actions for the malicious institution of civil actions like restraining orders. For a fully fleshed definition of malicious prosecution, consult Black’s Law Dictionary, which is the standard legal reference: “One who takes an active part in the initiation, continuation or procurement of civil proceedings against another is subject to liability to the other for wrongful civil proceedings if: (a) he acts without probable cause, and primarily for a purpose other than that of securing the proper adjudication of the claim in which the proceedings are based, and (b) except when they are ex parte, the proceedings have terminated in favor of the person against whom they are brought.” Abuse of process/malicious prosecution are sister torts. One or the other would likely apply (“A malicious abuse of legal process occurs where the party employs it for some unlawful object, not the purpose which it is intended by the law to effect; in other words a perversion of it”). See your state’s definitions of malicious prosecution and abuse of process to confirm applicability to your case.

If someone calls me a bitch [in a] text, can I press charges on that person?”

You can sue someone for defamation, that is, publicly lying about you in a damaging way. But calling someone a name isn’t against the law, and being called a name isn’t grounds for prosecution. A basis for legal action (against harassment) would be someone’s routinely shouting insults at you or texting insults after your repeatedly telling him or her to leave you alone.

“If someone drops a restraining order, what happens?”

The case is vacated, and the injunction is null and void. The defendant should nevertheless endeavor to ensure that traces of it are removed from his/her record. A restraining order can only be “dropped” by the court.

If someone has a restraining order against me, can I write about it?”

Yes. A restraining order forbids you from contacting or approaching the order’s applicant (the plaintiff in the case) on pain of police arrest. It does not, however, abrogate your constitutional entitlement to free speech. Restraining orders are matters of public record.

If someone has a restraining order against you, and they get locked up for violating a restraining order, is theirs still active against you?”

Yes (though you’d have to work pretty hard to violate it in that case). A restraining order can only be vacated (deactivated, canceled) by an act of the court.

If someone has a restraining order [against you] and they walk into the same bar as you do, do you have to leave?”

Consult the order issued against you to see what actions/locations are forbidden. Sometimes a defendant is ordered to keep a specific distance from the plaintiff at all times (x number of blocks, for example). In any case, avoiding the plaintiff would clearly be a good idea.

If someone has a restraining order against you, can you write a letter to the media complaining about how you were treated?”

Certainly. A restraining order only places restrictions on your actions vis-à-vis its plaintiff; it doesn’t deny you your constitutional right to free speech. You can speak about the plaintiff (reasonably and truthfully) and/or about the case s/he brought against you and how you were treated by the court; you just can’t speak to the plaintiff. Restraining orders, their prosecution, and how they’re ruled on are matters of public record. Obtain the transcript or audio recording of your hearing(s) from the courthouse for your reference and/or a journalist’s.

If someone loses a restraining order, does the plaintiff need to pay the defendant’s lawyer’s fees?”

That would seem to be a just requirement, but no, you’d have to sue to recover your costs—or have your lawyer request compensation from the plaintiff in lieu of filing a lawsuit (in lieu of means instead of). To recover a few thousand dollars, you could litigate in small claims court yourself. Request damages for lost time and emotional distress, also.

“If the accuser doesn’t show up in a PFA court, do the charges get dropped?”

Typically in such a case, the restraining order is dismissed for “failure to prosecute,” yes.

If the charges are dismissed, is the protection order also terminated?”

If that were the case, you would probably have been informed at the hearing. Endeavor to find out from the court. File a motion at the courthouse to see a judge if necessary.

If the police put a restraining order against your boyfriend, and you break it, will they take [your] son away?”

It’s possible that the police would report you to Child Protective Services if they learned that your boyfriend was visiting or staying at your home in violation of a restraining order.

If there’s a false restraining order against someone I know, should I inform the police?”

Informing the police of a fraudulent restraining order wouldn’t affect its validity, because it issued from the court, and only the court can vacate it. You could, though, offer to give testimony at the defendant’s appeals hearing (or in a civil suit alleging fraud) or provide him or her with an affidavit (a sworn, written statement) corroborating the falsehood of the plaintiff’s claims.

If there is a restraining order against me, but the plaintiff dies, does the restraining order get canceled?”

No, it’s unlikely the court will even know. Inquire with an attorney or the court to see if this is grounds to have the order vacated.

“If you are the defendant in a domestic violence criminal case, and charges are dismissed, can you sue for false allegations? If so, what is the minimum I can sue for?”

You certainly could sue, yes. Applicable torts might include fraud, defamation of character, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The maximum you could litigate for would likely depend on the jurisdiction and venue in which the case was tried. If you’re asking, for example, if you could sue for $100,000, the answer is yes. Whether a judge or jury would conclude that the degree of your suffering deserves such remuneration would depend on the nature and extent of your injuries and losses and your ability to substantiate them.

If you don’t get served, does that mean you don’t get a restraining order?”

For a restraining order to enter effect, it must be served on the defendant.

If you have a restraining order against someone and decide to move back in, does that nullify the order?”

Not in the eyes of the law. You need to inform the court that you’ve changed your mind and have the order vacated.

If you have a temporary restraining order, are you allowed to move?”

Yes. If you’re the defendant on the order, though, you have to mind whatever restrictions have been placed on your coming near the plaintiff. You’re going to excite friction, obviously, if you move in next door or just up the street.

If you have an order of protection, can you travel?”

Of course. A restraining order is a civil injunction barring you from certain actions toward a specific person; you’re not on probation. To understand what restrictions have been placed on your activities, consult the order you were issued. These restrictions are usually limited to contacting or approaching the plaintiff (or going to his or her place of residence and work and/or study). This law firm, however, reports a protection order could be an impediment to travel:

“If you invite your spouse over, does it nullify your PPO?”

No, but you should.

If you needed a hard copy of a protection-from-abuse order, whom would you contact?”

You would go to the courthouse that issued the order. You might be charged a photocopy fee.

If you put a restraining order against someone and then change your mind about it, can you stop it?”

Yes. You can have the order vacated with no repercussions by returning to the courthouse.

If you’re defending an ex parte order, can you serve the plaintiff with divorce papers?”

The restraining order shouldn’t prohibit you from serving legal documents on its petitioner. If in doubt, consult the order itself for confirmation of this. If still in doubt, don’t hesitate to check with the courthouse.

“If you took out a temporary restraining order, do you have to show up?” / “What happens if the plaintiff doesn’t show up for a temporary restraining order hearing?” / “What can happen to me if I don’t show up for a court date, [and] I am the plaintiff…?” / “Whoever filed a harassment charge against me—would they have to show up in court?” / “Will a warrant go out for your arrest if you applied for an extension for a TPO against someone but don’t show up for the hearing?” / “Does the plaintiff have to show up for a restraining order hearing?”

The consequence of a plaintiff’s/petitioner’s not appearing for a hearing to finalize (or extend) a civil restraining order would likely be its being dismissed/vacated for “failure to prosecute.” In other words, the petition would be tossed out. It isn’t always required, however, that plaintiffs represented by attorneys appear at hearings, for example, when domestic violence is alleged. Whether this is only true in criminal restraining order cases—when restraining orders are issued in conjunction with criminal trials—I’m not certain. To the best of my knowledge, plaintiffs who fail to prosecute (don’t show) are not sanctioned/penalized by the court; their requests are just denied. Defendants who don’t appear for hearings to finalize civil restraining orders forfeit their opportunity to challenge the allegations against them. Default judgments in favor of the plaintiffs will be entered—unless the plaintiffs don’t show, either.

“In an order of protection hearing, can you be charged with attorney fees?”

Only your own attorney’s fees (assuming you hired representation). If the opposing party employed counsel, that was his or her choice, and s/he would be responsible for the costs.

In order for me to sue someone, do I have to press charges?”

No. Charges are allegations of criminal violations. You may press charges, for example, if someone punches you. Lawsuits are civil actions. Allegations you make in a lawsuit are torts (civil wrongs), though you can sue someone for criminal misconduct.

Is a false restraining order grounds for libel?”

If the plaintiff in the case made false public allegations that maligned your name and respectability, then yes. To sue for libel/defamation of character, you would have to prove that the plaintiff lied about you in a damaging way. The statute of limitation for libel/defamation is usually one year, so you would want to pursue legal action promptly.

Is a ‘friend request’ a violation of protection order?”

If you’re asking as a defendant, possibly. Consult the order you were issued, and see if all contact (including mail and email) is forbidden. If you’re asking as a plaintiff, the answer is the same; but taxpayer money would probably be better spent if you just denied or ignored the request.

“Is a narcissist capable of slashing his own tires and blaming it on his ex-girlfriend?”

Lying that’s both cunning and dramatic is certainly associated with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), though social manipulation more commonly typifies the frauds of narcissists than their actually dirtying their hands. Any motivated liar, however, is capable of a simple frame-up like this.

Is [a] protection order a felony, and does it come if [the] judge dismisses it?”

A restraining order is a civil misdemeanor. A dismissed restraining order should be vacated and expunged from your record. You should confirm that it is, though. Some respondents to this blog have reported being denied employment because of vacated restraining orders (ones, that is, that were ultimately found to be baseless). Apparently the vacated orders remained publicly accessible.

Is a restraining order a form of control for a narcissist?”

Yes, absolutely—of control, domination, intimidation, assertion of superiority, revenge, etc. These are textbook urges for someone with narcissistic personality disorder.

“Is a restraining order still in effect…if both persons on the order have sex with each other?”

Yes. Only the court can vacate (cancel) a restraining order. Consensual relations or cohabitation is still recognized legally as a violation of the court’s order, and places the defendant in jeopardy of arrest. Unless the restraining order was petitioned by the DA, however, the plaintiff can go to the courthouse and move to have the restraining order lifted (vacated).

“Is a restraining order valid if the birthday is wrong…?”

Yes, most likely. If you were served with a restraining order, you were served with a restraining order. Basing an appeal on a minor factual error like this is unlikely to lead to a restraining order’s being vacated (canceled). If you pointed out this mistake, the court would probably just correct it.

[Is a wife] permitted to request a restraining order on behalf of her husband?”

Only if her husband is incompetent to request the restraining order himself (because of mental or physical disability, for example).

Is attacking my attorney a violation of [a] restraining order?”

Only if the attorney is the plaintiff on that order.

Is calling a family member to contact the plaintiff for money a violation?”

Possibly. You’d want to determine whether the restraining order against you forbids “third-party contact.” Oftentimes this isn’t formally forbidden but can be later upon the plaintiff’s returning to the court to have the injunction modified. Another consideration would be what sort of response you expected to get, that is, if the restraining order was malicious, it’s unlikely you’re going to get a favorable answer, and the plaintiff could use the request to complicate your life further and make you look even worse to the court. A family member could make the request on your behalf. Where you might run into trouble is if the family member were put on the spot and testified that you asked him/her to make it.

“Is filing a bogus PPO harassment?”

Clearly. If you’re asking if you can press charges, no.

Is following someone on Twitter a violation of a protection order?”

What activities constitute a violation of a court order will be specified on that order. Following someone on Twitter is clearly an act of monitoring, which could be construed by the court as violating the spirit of the order. Somebody who’s forbidden all contact with the plaintiff on a court order should cease all relations, even passive ones, to avoid running afoul of the law.

“Is it a violation of a restraining order if I add my ex’s brother on Facebook?”

No, not unless the restraining order explicitly prohibits you from communicating with the brother (for example, because he’s a minor dependent in his sister’s care). Restraining orders don’t extend to third parties even if those third parties are mutual friends or are related to plaintiffs. Exercise caution, though, if the brother is a minor and his parents might object to his talking with you, because his parents could petition a restraining order against you, too, possibly just on the grounds that they’re apprehensive of you or whatever. Also think twice about asking the brother to speak to his sister on your behalf, because she could return to the court and allege that you’re trying to sneak around the restraining order’s proscriptions.

Is it hard for a plaintiff to get a restraining order vacated?”

A plaintiff, no. A plaintiff may have a restraining order vacated at any time while it’s in effect—or s/he can cooperate with the defendant in having it vacated after its expiration by filing a nunc pro tunc motion. For a defendant to get a restraining order vacated, it’s very hard.

“Is it illegal to leave the state if you have a restraining order?”

No. All that’s required by the law is that you mind the restraining order’s prohibitions wherever you go. It would still be illegal, for instance, to contact the plaintiff if the order forbid you to even if you traveled or moved to another state.

Is it lawful to let someone live with you [whom] you have a restraining order against?”

It’s unlawful for someone to live with you whom you have a restraining order against. The defendant is the one who may be arrested. If you have children, and you’ve invited someone you swore a restraining out against to live with you, you may put yourself at risk of interference by Child Protective Services if the police were to discover the arrangement or, for example, if a neighbor reported it. If you’ve reconsidered the restraining order, you may return to the court and request that it be vacated.

Is it legal to write a check after a restraining order?”

It’s unclear to me what your concern is. What activities a restraining order forbids you from engaging in will be specified on the order. Even sending a check to the restraining order’s plaintiff may well be against the law. However, writing a check for your groceries, for example, wouldn’t be. If you’re asking because your checking account is one you share with the plaintiff, you’d do best to check with an attorney or the court to find out what entitlement you have to joint monies.

Is libel a violation of [an] order of protection?”

Not per se. Libel is a civil tort that may be litigated in a lawsuit.

Is my speaking to my wife’s lawyer a violation of a protection order?”

No, unless specifications on the protection order say otherwise, you can talk to anyone you want to aside from the restraining order plaintiff. You would want to avoid her attorney’s being able to construe what you said to him as an attempt to convey a message to her, though. In other words, don’t ask him to be your go-between. This wouldn’t necessarily be a violation of the restraining order, per se, but it might prompt your wife to have the injunction modified to forbid third-party contact (that is, communication with her through a third party). You could, of course, have your own lawyer speak to your wife about any legal action you are considering—though this is most commonly done by mail.

“Is perjury on a restraining order a felony?”

Yes. Lying in court or in any sworn statement is perjury, which is a felony crime—though it’s one that’s rarely prosecuted and only in cases of social prominence.

Is posting photos online a violation of a restraining order?”

Not per se. Restraining orders specify what activities are forbidden to their defendants. The typical forbidden activities are approaching or contacting the orders’ plaintiffs.

“Is restraining order extension automatic?”

Typically, no, an extension must be applied for (though laws and protocols vary from state to state). It would be nice to say, besides, that some substantive grounds would have to exist for an extension’s being awarded, but one may be approved on the allegation of continued or renewed apprehension, which may be credited by the court on no more ascertainable a basis than the plaintiff’s say-so.

Is sending a friend request on Facebook breaking a restraining order?”

If the plaintiff of the order has requested that all contact be forbidden, then yes. Consult the specifics of the order you were issued. The police don’t weigh the harm or harmlessness of a violation, they just slap the cuffs on.

“Is suing someone a violation of a restraining order?”

No, a restraining order is not an impediment to pursuing a civil action against the plaintiff. See the response above to the question, “Can you still sue someone if you have a restraining order against you?” See other related responses for torts that will likely apply to your case.

Is the defendant in violation of [an] order or protection for ‘third party contact’ if it is not written in a full order of protection?”

What actions an injunction enjoins a defendant from engaging in should be specified on the court’s order. For third-party contact to be in violation of a court order, the defendant would have to have been informed that such contact was forbidden. If a plaintiff objects to third-party contact, typically the court will modify the order accordingly and inform the defendant of the modification.

Is there any punishment for filing a false restraining order?”

None. Lying on an affidavit to the court (or in any sworn testimony) is perjury, a felony crime. The statute is seldom enforced, however, and only then in cases of public prominence.

“Is there any way to file defamation charges against someone who makes false statements in a restraining order?”

Yes. Sue for damages. Defamation is a civil tort with a one-year statute of limitation.

It was self-defense. How does he get a restraining order on me?”

Restraining order applications are approved based on the persuasive quality of a plaintiff’s presentation to the judge (or sometimes simply on his or her filling out the form correctly). This interview is a five- or 10-minute screen test, not a diligent weighing of verifiable facts.

Just because I told a wife her husband was having an affair, is that grounds for a restraining order?”

Not per se. Legitimate grounds for a restraining order might be your repeatedly contacting the wife after she asked you not to. In practice, though, restraining orders may be issued on no legitimate grounds at all or on the basis of skewed or fabricated evidence. If you were the person the husband was having an affair with, there would be ample motive for the wife to paint you in a false light to the court (that is, to get payback).

Must you report to [your] employer about [a] restraining order?”

Unless doing so is court-ordered or the terms of your employment contract dictate otherwise, you’re under no compulsion to inform your employer. A restraining order equates to a civil misdemeanor; being issued one doesn’t mean you have a criminal record.

My boyfriend’s ex-wife said I harassed her, and she was a granted a six-month do-not-harass order. Does this prevent me from being around his son?”

Not per se. Unless the boy is also included on the order, your spending time with him isn’t off-limits that I know of. You’d just have to take care that you observed the restraints prescribed by the court’s order to the letter, that is, that you didn’t contact or come within a certain distance of the ex-wife, for example. If the ex-wife has full custody, of course, then she can prevent the boy’s seeing you. Surely your boyfriend can find out whether his ex-wife objects to your being around their son. If she does, you’d do well to let things settle out for the duration of the injunction. If the ex-wife is acting jealously/vindictively, she can rain all manner of hell on you and your boyfriend through the courts or Child Protective Services. These bureaucratic systems are easily abused and can turn lives upside down.

“My ex has lied to obtain a protection order against me. What do I need to prove he has made up the accusations?”

You need to go before a judge and appeal the injunction, of course—ideally with a lawyer by your side. Bend heaven and earth to acquire an attorney’s help. Once something like this sticks, it stays stuck, and you don’t want this gnawing away at you for years to come. (Also, having a protection order in place against you will make you very vulnerable to anything your ex may do or to any further lies he may concoct in the future.) You need to create a reasonable doubt in the judge’s mind. If you have concrete evidence that your ex has lied, by all means bring it to the judge’s attention. If not, you need to convincingly demonstrate that he had an ulterior motive for lying about you (to shut you up, for example, or spitefully injure you or gain sole possession of something you would otherwise have a mutual claim to). In these cases—notwithstanding court rhetoric to the contrary—the burden is on the defendant. If your ex has claimed you’re dangerous, persuade the judge you’re not. See also this post for a basic defense orientation. The rule of thumb is speak to the charges and explain why they’re false.

“My ex-girlfriend has an order of protection against me, and three months later she stopped by my house and we talked then she got upset and hit me. Can I get her arrested, or will I get in trouble for letting her in my house?”

I would imagine if she voluntarily came to your house, your letting her in couldn’t be construed as a violation of the restraining order. It’s your house. But if you were seriously injured and you can prove this and want to press charges, you should consult with an attorney before racing off to the police station. Also you’d need documentation of the injury (photos and a medical diagnosis).

“My ex-wife has filed for three orders of protection that have been dismissed. Can I sue her for harassment?”

Consult with an attorney. You can always file a suit yourself, and you can certainly allege harassment, infliction of suffering, loss of time and money, etc. An attorney, though, can best advise you on how to arrest this kind of misconduct.

My ex-wife is dating someone [who] has a PPO. Can I stop my children from being around him?”

If you’re legitimately worried for the welfare of your children, you could inform Child Protective Services of the restraining order against your ex-wife’s boyfriend and express your concerns. Activating this bureaucratic machine may have repercussions, though, that you should weigh in advance. Both CPS and restraining orders are notoriously abused (and easily abused). I mention this, because there’s no telling how your wife might respond (that is, what allegations she might turn around and make against you in retaliation). You might also have grounds for seeking sole custody. If it’s within your means, consult with a family attorney.

My girlfriend filed a restraining order. Can I get her medical records?”

Consult with an attorney. Medical records are confidential, but there may be grounds for moving the court to require that they be produced (if, for example, your girlfriend had a documented mental condition that would discredit her allegations). According to Law and the Physician: A Practical Guide by Edward P. Richards and Katharine C. Rathbun: “In general, a person’s medical records may be used in court if that person’s medical condition is at issue.” You can file a discovery request (request for production) or a subpoena to try to obtain these records, but it’s possible that the plaintiff or her physician(s) would refuse to comply on the grounds that these records are privileged.

“My injunction provision…stated that I can talk to my abuser on the phone. Can I email or text instead?”

You’re not going to get in trouble for doing so, but the defendant could be placed in violation of the order if s/he responded. Since you’re effectively calling the shots, there shouldn’t be any complication if you return to the court and modify your restraining order to explicitly allow these forms of communication. The court will notify the defendant of the modification.

“My kids and my wife are in a shelter. She filed in court for a TPO and a divorce. What shall I do?”

Apply for a hearing to appeal the restraining order, and get an attorney post haste.

My son and I, we have an injunction for domestic violence against [his] father, and he violated our injunction. What law was broken?”

If your ex-husband/ex-boyfriend violated the terms of the injunction, you would simply report the violation to the police, who would determine what additional crimes, if any, the defendant committed.

My wife has a TPO against me. Can my mom talk to her?”

Unless “third-party contact” or “third-party communication” is prohibited by the order, yes. If it is prohibited, your mom couldn’t be your go-between. Your mother’s not constrained in any way by your restraining order (nor is anyone else). She can’t get in trouble. But you could be charged with violating the order if third-party contact is forbidden and what your mother had to say could be construed as coming from you (and your wife complained about it). If third-party contact isn’t forbidden, it’s still possible that your wife could apply to the court for a revision of your order disallowing third-party contact if she asserts that you put your mom up to talking with her. Unless or until your wife opted to do that, though, your mom’s talking to her would be fine. Also, your mom could just say it was her idea. Obviously if your wife refuses to talk to her, your mother should honor that and not risk your wife’s applying for a restraining order against her, too. It’s often the case that when someone learns how easily this process can be (ab)used, he or she (ab)uses it repeatedly.

“Nine years ago I got a protection order falsely. Can I get it expunged…?”

There are two ways this may be possible. If you can obtain the cooperation of the petitioner (the plaintiff in the case), you can jointly file a nunc pro tunc motion through the court to have the order vacated. You would need the help of a qualified attorney. Alternatively a law firm in your city or another city in your state that specializes in records expungement may be able to clear your record for you. The ability to exercise this option depends on the laws in your particular state (in my state, Arizona, nothing ever goes away without the cooperation of the plaintiff: once it sticks, it’s stuck). Try a Google search using the terms restraining order* + expungement + your city and/or state. You should be able to call or email, explain your situation, and find out whether the firm can assist you.

“Perjury and false restraining orders—what to do?”

Militate for the prosecution of perjurers and for legislative reform. Bring your case to the attention of the press, and call or write your local lawmakers.

End Restraining Order Abuses

Stop False Allegations of Domestic Violence

Restraining order: I need text message records. [What to do?]”

You could file a discovery request (request for production) or subpoena the records, but the other party could easily delete them from his or her phone if s/he hasn’t already. It’s possible that you could subpoena the records from the service provider (cell phone company) if it retains these records. Consult an attorney if feasible.

Should I move if I have a restraining order against me?”

There’s no way to run from a restraining order against you. It’s super-glued to your public record and will follow you wherever you go. You would also still be subject to the limitations it imposes on your actions even if you relocated to another state.

“Someone filed an injunction against me [whom] I have not seen in three years, and I live in a different state. [What do I do?]”

Appeal the order. For someone to file against you from another state, s/he would have to establish repeated contacts (by phone, for example, or mail or email). If you haven’t approached or communicated with the defendant despite that person’s repeatedly asking you not to within the previous 12 months, there’s no legitimate grounds for a restraining order.

Someone has opened a peace order against me. If I still have pictures of them taken from my phone, can that be used against me in court?”

If you’re asking whether it’s illegal for you to have pictures of the plaintiff, no, it isn’t (presuming, of course, that they were taken before the peace order was issued). If you’re asking whether the court can compel you to produce photographs you have that may somehow incriminate you, possibly. That is, it’s not a crime for you to have photographs, but if the pictures, for example, showed you engaged in a crime (or proved that you had photographed the plaintiff after being ordered to keep a certain distance from him or her), they could be used against you, I suppose.

“Someone I know is using my address and phone number, and I’m getting calls for her from the court and a warrant [that’s been put] out for her. How can I stop her from using my address and phone number?”

Ask her not to would be the obvious course. If she’s nowhere to be found, though, there’s not much you can do to arrest this, because requesting that the police warn her off would only work if they had a means to call her or track her down. Same goes with alleging harassment to the court (and the grounds would be thin, besides). The proactive solution, if you don’t have a way to reach her, might be to contact both the court and the police, and inform them that they have the wrong address/phone number and that you don’t want to be bothered further with a matter that has nothing to do with you. Impress upon them that you have the right to be left alone and that they’re infringing upon your privacy and causing you distress. If you wanted, you could also provide them with the most recent address/phone number you have for the person or let them know who they might contact to find her.

The girl who put a restraining order on me messaged me on Facebook. What should I do?”

Save the message and make a hard copy in case you need it in future (take a screen shot—and save it, too). If you choose to respond to it, your doing so could put you at risk of arrest. You’d be wiser having a third party intermediate if you think there’s a chance of your resolving differences. She can have the restraining order vacated if she chooses. Just take care that you’re not baited into landing yourself in jail. Also be aware that “thirty-party communication” may be expressly prohibited by the order. If so, even talking through a friend would be a violation, and your only risk-free option would be mediation through an attorney.

What are acceptable reasons for requesting to drop a PFA?”

If you’re the plaintiff, you can simply say you acted rashly, have changed your mind, etc. If you’re the defendant, grounds for requesting that a restraining order be vacated may be that it’s unnecessary and/or that the plaintiff acted impulsively in the heat of a dispute, that the plaintiff has exaggerated his or her allegations, that these allegations are maliciously false, etc.

“What can I do if my ex-girlfriend is putting my son’s picture on her Facebook [page] without my permission?”

If you object, ask her not to.

What can I do if someone got a restraining order on me, and I’m in fear [for] my life?”

Someone’s having a restraining order against you doesn’t mean you can’t report his or her misconduct to the police or apply to the court for a restraining order of your own against the plaintiff of the one against you. Other respondents to this blog have reported having restraining orders issued against them by plaintiffs who were violent abusers or stalkers. Restraining orders are excellent tools of domination and provide their plaintiffs with a sense of impunity (a sense that they can get away with anything). One commenter to this page assumed that having a restraining order against another person meant she could assault him or her if she felt like it and have the other person arrested if s/he fought back. Though it’s often the purpose they serve, restraining orders aren’t supposed to be a license to terrorize or abuse.

“What can you do if someone files a false injunction on you?”

Apply for an appeals hearing, and retain the services of an attorney. See also this post.

What can you do with text messages that show someone is going to beat someone else up?”

Priority one, ethically, should be to inform the potential victim of the danger. Threatening messages could be reported to the police and/or possibly used as grounds for applying for a restraining order.

“[What do you do] when protective orders don’t work?”

If the situation is dire, clear out. Relocate to ensure your safety. Put as much distance between you and your abuser as possible. Change your name if necessary. Keep your home address private, and don’t give away your location on Facebook or the like. If you’re legitimately in danger, a piece of paper is worthless. See also Gavin de Becker’s book The Gift of Fear.

“What do you do when your wife lies to get a temporary injunction for protection from violence?”

Appeal. Act promptly. And get an attorney. Depending on the outcome, you might also consider suing for damages later (assuming you divorced).

What does ‘case terminated’ mean in an order of protection case?”

In all likelihood, it means the case was vacated (canceled, nullified, voided). If you’re the defendant in the case, though, you should endeavor to make sure of this and to see that traces of the order are removed from your public record (that is, expunged).

What does ‘Have you ever been the subject of a restraining order?’ mean?”

The questioner (an employer, I’m guessing) is asking whether you’ve ever had a restraining order issued against you.

What does ‘interfere with plaintiff’ mean on a restraining order?”

A restraining order forbids its defendant (that is, its recipient) from interfering with its plaintiff (that is, its applicant). If you’re the recipient of a restraining order, you must not contact or approach its applicant. Plaintiff means the person who has complained to the court about you.

What does it mean that my restraining order has been vacated?”

That means it has been nullified, canceled. If you’re the defendant on the order, though, make doubly sure that this is the case before undertaking any action that would qualify as a violation of the order.

“What evidence can I submit when contesting a restraining order?”

Anything you think would be relevant: records or other documents, prescriptions, photographs, statements from witnesses, etc.

What grounds do you need to file [a] motion on [a] restraining order against you?”

None. You have the right to request an appeal and respond to allegations made against you.

“What happens if I talk to someone whom I have a restraining order against?”

Depending on the circumstances, you may place him or her in violation of the order and subject to arrest. Communicate through a third party or an attorney, or visit the courthouse and have the order quashed if you feel you acted rashly.

“What happens if I violate my protective order under a civil case?”

If you’re the applicant, nothing, though you’ll compromise your credibility in any further legal actions that may arise. If you’re the recipient of the order, you’ll be subject to arrest.

“What happens if my sister used my phone to text a girl who had a restraining order against me?”

The police may come knocking. Consult an attorney (usually free) and see what s/he advises. Or have your sister call the girl and fess up.

“What happens if someone has a restraining order against you, and they pass by your house?”

Unless the restraining order plaintiff trespassed (and was caught at it), nothing. Any number of visitors to this blog report that they’re phoned, emailed, or texted by the people who swore out restraining orders against them. Many report, besides, that these people show up at their homes or work. At least one respondent to the blog reports being not only stalked but assaulted.

What happens if [the] accused party does not show up in court for [a] restraining order?”

Unless the hearing is postponed, the defendant will lose his or her opportunity to defend.

“What happens if the victim falsely accused the person of violating a protective order?”

See above: What happens if my sister used my phone to text a girl who had a restraining order against me?”

“What happens when a temporary restraining order does not become final?”

A temporary order must be served within a specified period of time (contingent on state law), or it expires and becomes null. This doesn’t prohibit the petitioner from reapplying and initiating the process all over again, however. It doesn’t necessarily mean the temporary order has no lasting consequences, either. In Massachusetts, for example, even to have been accused of domestic violence on an application for a temporary order that was approved by a judge means the defendant’s name is entered into a domestic violence registry (indefinitely). The only reasons an order wouldn’t be finalized are (1) it was never served on the defendant, (2) the court found for the defendant in an appeals hearing and dismissed the case, or (3) the plaintiff defaulted by not appearing for a scheduled follow-up hearing, and the order was vacated.

“What happens when I’m sued for a false protection order?”

Justice, hopefully. If you feel repentant, see if the person suing you would agree to drop the complaint if you cooperated in clearing his or her record and made amends. Obviously, getting an attorney would be a good idea. If the protection order is still in effect, you can voluntarily have it vacated at the courthouse. If it has expired, you and your victim can cooperatively have the order vacated by having an attorney file a nunc pro tunc motion (sort of a legal reset).

“What happens when someone lies to obtain a restraining order?”

Too often he or she succeeds. Apply for an appeals hearing, and get an attorney. Do whatever it takes.

“What happens when someone tries to fight a protection order?”

Often they’re driven to the conclusion that resistance is futile. If the grounds for the restraining order are false, however, my opinion is resist anyway.

What if I change my mind about a protection order?”

You may return to the courthouse and ask (file a motion) to have it vacated (canceled).

What if no one is home when police try to serve a restraining order?”

Typically a notice will be left for the defendant requesting that s/he call to arrange for service.

What if you don’t answer the door to receive a temporary restraining order?”

It’s possible that a warrant will be issued for your arrest (consult the notice left by the officer), and avoidance of service will just prompt the law to get more creative. You don’t want a constable serving you at work. My advice is accept the inevitable, and appeal the order in court—ideally with an attorney by your side.

What is it called when someone gets a restraining order against you but doesn’t need it?”

That would depend on the circumstances. The prosecution may just be “frivolous” (that is, without sound or urgent justification, for example, “He’s always rude to me!”). Or it might constitute abuse of process/malicious prosecution if the applicant’s intent in obtaining a restraining order was different from what s/he claimed it was. Restraining orders may be sought out of spite or vengeance, for example.

What is it called when you can’t afford to sue someone?”

That’s called screwed. If you mean when you sue without an attorney (that is, when you represent yourself in a lawsuit), the answer is pro se. Where an attorney’s name would appear on your document captions, you would write instead “(Your name), pro se.” Pro se is Latin for “on one’s own behalf.”

“What is the charge for making up false police reports in order to send someone to jail…?”

This is called false reporting. In my state, it’s a misdemeanor crime with a two-year statute of limitation.

“What is the due process for a restraining order…?”

Due process doesn’t apply to restraining orders. You’re guilty unless proven innocent. Restraining orders are issued ex parte, that is, based solely on the testimony of your accuser. You may appeal, but if you don’t, the court doesn’t care.

“[What is] the penalty for lying on a restraining order?”


“What is third-party communication in a restraining order?”

“Third-party communication” refers to communication with the plaintiff in a restraining order case through another person (that is, a person not involved). An example of “third-party communication” would be the defendant’s asking a mutual friend or family member to convey a message to the plaintiff (whom the defendant is forbidden to communicate with directly). If the court has ordered “no third-party communication,” this means the use of a go-between is likewise forbidden. In other words, a restraining order defendant who is enjoined not to communicate with the plaintiff via a third party cannot ask another person to speak to the restraining order plaintiff on his or her behalf. The only authorized communication would then be through an attorney or through the courts pursuant to a legal action, such as a lawsuit.

What is the typical punishment for lying to get a protection order…?”


“What legal actions can I take if a neighbor has a restraining order against me but is using it as a weapon by calling the police [and] putting in false reports?”

The least demanding countermeasure would be your applying for a restraining order against your neighbor alleging harassment. If you consult your state’s harassment statute (Google your state + harassment laws), you’re likely to find that it recognizes the filing of false allegations with authorities to constitute harassment. Harassment, in turn, is grounds for procurement of a restraining order. Convincing the court that false allegations are abusive is always a challenge, because its tendency is to discount the effects of lies and to acknowledge laws selectively or preferentially. So you’d have to be insistent and persuasive. Your state, furthermore, may disallow so-called “cross-petitions” or “mutual orders.” See this post. Although you may not be able to piggyback your application on your accuser’s case, it’s possible to obtain an order against your accuser by filing a separate application (that is, by opening a separate case). You could also file a lawsuit, but this is a major undertaking and very taxing. It’s also best accomplished with an attorney’s representation and so can be very expensive. A final alternative would be to move. (The passive approach, hiring an attorney to send a menacing letter, could work, but such a letter is basically toothless. If the addressee blows it off, you might be out a couple of thousand dollars, and you’d be left with tolerating the abuse or pursuing one of the options enumerated above.)

“What reason do I need to file a restraining order on my wife?”

Some jurisdictions would require you to allege you fear her (that is, that she poses a threat to your person or your children). In others, it may be sufficient to allege, for example, that your wife is terrorizing you and/or your children (that is, subjecting you to psychological abuse). Violent behavior, tantrums, threats—all of these might be valid grounds.

“What recourse do you have against false statements on a restraining order?”

Appeal immediately. Instructions or a hearing date will be included with the restraining order you were served. Obtain the counsel of an attorney at all costs. Also consult this post for orientation. The odds are against the defendant in this process—guilty or innocent. The presence of an attorney can at least negate the handicap and level the playing field. If your appeal fails (or succeeds), you might also consider litigating toward a settlement (or for damages). If you decide to sue, do it right away. The statutes of limitation for some torts you may wish to allege are brief (e.g., one year for defamation). You may have court documents delivered or served on the plaintiff of a restraining order even if the injunction is in effect.

“What to do if you are wrongly accused of assault, and a lawsuit is filed?”

If you’ve been served with a lawsuit, retain the services of an attorney. Do whatever you have to do. An attorney may be able to arrest the suit before it can proceed. And protect your assets against whatever may come. You can also countersue, either through an attorney or by representing yourself (pro se). See this post for instructions.

What to do if [you] think someone might file a restraining order [against you]?”

The wisest course would probably be to sever contact with that person and let things settle. After a few months of no contact, the grounds for that person’s seeking a restraining order will have lost their urgency. If you’re dealing with someone who’s unreasonable or who’s out to get you (or who will be even angrier if you ignore him/her), then you’d do well to prepare for the inevitable and begin planning your defense. In any case, this is a person you’d do well to shun. See also:

What are the Warning Signs of an Impending False Allegation?

What You Should Do If your Wife or Girlfriend Threatens to Call the Police and Make False Allegations

The Fake Fight – What’s She Doing?

What to do when a judge denies you the right to defend yourself against an injunction?”

The best course would be to consult with an attorney. If you applied for an appeals hearing on time, it’s unlawful for the court to deny you the opportunity to contest allegations made against you. Appeal your case to the Superior Court and report the misconduct of the lower court judge to your state’s Commission on Judicial Conduct.

“What to do when someone continuously accuses you of harassment and abuse?”

Consult with an attorney (consultations are usually free), and see what you can do to get this person off your back. Sometimes a well-phrased letter under an attorney’s letterhead can work magic.

“[What to do] when the person who gets the restraining order keeps calling the person they got it on…?”

You may be able to persuade the person to quash the restraining order. He or she can do this at the courthouse. It just takes a signature. To protect yourself, make the invitation through a third party, preferably an attorney. DO NOT call or otherwise initiate contact with the restraining order applicant. This will make you subject to arrest. Alternatively, you could always apply for a mutual no-contact order and explain to the judge what’s going on.

“What type of person does a sociopathic narcissist target?”

Ones he or she perceives to be manipulable and tolerant of abuse.

What was the legislative intent of having the petitioner sign under oath in a civil TRO…?”

The intent was to dissuade petitioners from making false allegations—to make liars think twice, in other words. Having petitioners sign under oath is a purely rhetorical gesture, though. Statutes making perjury a felony crime are paper tigers. Frauds and liars are never prosecuted.

“What’s the purpose of a fake restraining order?”

There are many. Here are some: to spitefully subject the defendant to public humiliation and/or to ruin him or her personally or professionally (petty revenge), to gain custody of children or possession of property from a domestic partner, to terminate an illicit relationship (or gag an extramarital friend or lover so s/he feels intimidated and can’t speak to your spouse), to lame or discredit a romantic or business rival (exes’ new spouses or love interests are popular targets), to gain power or leverage over someone (stalkers have obtained restraining orders against their victims), or simply to get attention. False criminal allegations are difficult to substantiate, usually require you to give testimony before a jury, and can backfire if you get caught making them and possibly land you in jail. By contrast, the burden of proof on a civil restraining order petitioner is minimal to none (“I’m afraid!” sometimes suffices), the inconvenience is minor (a few minutes with a judge in a closed chamber), and perjury—if it’s detected at all—is generally winked at and never prosecuted. See also this page.

When can you sue for malicious prosecution over a restraining order?”

The sooner the better. A restraining order is not an obstacle to your pursuing legal action against the plaintiff. Because some torts you may wish to allege have a brief statute of limitation (one year for defamation, for example), you want to act promptly. If you litigate on your own behalf, remember to observe the constraints placed upon you by the restraining order. You may mail your complaint and summons to the plaintiff after you’ve filed with the court, but don’t make this an occasion for sending any form of personal message (you may also have these documents served by a process server or local law officer). Once you’ve obtained confirmation that these documents have been received by the plaintiff, your communications (briefs) will be addressed to the court (though you’ll mail copies to the defendant or his/her attorney).

“When does the trial begin in a restraining order matter?”

The issuance of a restraining order is itself effectively a verdict (“guilty”). In some jurisdictions, if a restraining order recipient doesn’t explicitly request an appeals hearing, there’s no follow-up. Consult the order you were issued to see if a hearing date has been assigned or whether you have to request one by calling, writing, or visiting the courthouse. And don’t hesitate to request (file a motion for) a continuance if you need more time to prepare.

When fighting a restraining order, can the accuser bring in a notarized statement [from] someone who knows about the case?”

Absolutely. It’s up to the judge whether s/he admits this exhibit into evidence, but there’d have to be a good reason for his or her refusing you. If you wanted to formalize this statement, you would find a template online for an affidavit to the court you’re defending in and type your witness’s statement onto it. Here’s a generic online example (for others, Google example witness affidavit). Then just accompany the witness to see a notary public. The services of a notary at a bank you have an account at are typically free. There’s nothing to this. A notary won’t swear anyone in or scrutinize credentials. S/he’ll smile, ask for a driver’s license, sign and date the form you hand him or her and apply his or her stamp. Ten minutes tops. The notary is unlikely to even read the form you hand him or her, so make sure s/he puts his or her name and signature in the right places.

When going to court for a restraining order, don’t both people have to be there?”

Yes. I’ve heard of restraining order defendants accused of violating restraining orders being represented by attorneys and not appearing in court themselves, but in a restraining order appeal, a judge will want to see a defendant for him- or herself, and defendants have the constitutional right to face their accusers, the satisfaction of which expectations necessitates the presence of both parties at a hearing (though either or both may be accompanied by legal counsel). Sometimes allegers of domestic violence may be excused from hearings, which is unfair but probably rationalized as sparing the “victim” further trauma.

Who can call on a person who has a criminal restraining [order] against them?”

Anybody. An injunction restricts the actions of its recipient (defendant). It doesn’t restrict anyone else’s actions.

“Whose record does a restraining order go on?”

Both the plaintiff’s and defendant’s names will be linked to a restraining order record (which may not be accessible to the general public). The person whose record will be affected by a restraining order is the defendant; the defendant bears the stigma.

“Why can’t the accused get a copy of the application for a protective order?”

You should have been served a copy. If you mean the plaintiff’s affidavit, this is part of the game. If you persistently apply at the courthouse—don’t take no for an answer—the records clerk should agree to give you a copy with some information redacted (like the applicant’s address). If this doesn’t work, an attorney can obtain the affidavit for you, which is essential to your defense.

“Why can’t the person with the order of protection get in trouble for contacting you?” / “Why doesn’t a restraining order affect the plaintiff?”

The legitimacy of the restraining order process is faith-based. Just as a church congregation agrees to collectively hold a certain set of beliefs to be true so does the legal system agree to perceive restraining order applicants as honest, earnest, and “for real.” It’s not that religious people can’t detect contradictions between everyday life and church doctrine, and it’s not that judges, for example, don’t know that restraining order petitioners lie; it’s that uncertainties aren’t openly acknowledged, because that would call the validity of the whole system into question. So the party line is that defendants (the “bad guys”) are the ones who need to be restrained from contacting plaintiffs (the “victims”). Remember that lawmakers (who have no exposure to how their laws are implemented—or how they’re abused) are the ones who make the rules. Police officers and judges simply follow and enforce those rules. They may know better than legislators what really goes down, but their discretion is limited, and they have a vested interest (job security) in maintaining the status quo. Put simply, restraining orders don’t affect their plaintiffs, because why would plaintiffs (wink, wink) have any motive to harass, intimidate, stalk, or persecute defendants?

Why did my spouse appeal a protective order?”

More than likely because s/he didn’t want the label of abusive wife/husband on his/her public record. Would you?

“Why do sociopaths file restraining orders?”

Sociopaths (or psychopaths—these terms are used interchangeably, and the distinction isn’t hard and fast) are social eels, sliding along through the currents of life. A defining trait of people with antisocial or narcissistic personality disorder is a disregard (even contempt) for the feelings of others. What conscience sociopaths may have remains arrested at a preadolescent stage. They look out for number one and see other people as objects (tools), not subjects. Glib lying being second nature to them, sociopaths can easily obtain restraining orders, which are unparalleled tools of manipulation, exploitation, intimidation, and revenge.

“When does an order of protection expire?”

The typical duration of a restraining order is one calendar year, but durations can vary. A restraining order may even be permanent (“non-expiring”). Consult the order you were issued. And don’t hesitate to call or go to the courthouse that issued the order and ask the clerk or a judge to clarify its limitations. A justice of the peace (JP) is as much your JP as s/he is the restraining order plaintiff’s.

Why would a husband want a wife to drop a restraining order?” / “Why would a man contest a protective order against him?”

List the reasons why a wife would want a husband to drop a restraining order or why a woman wouldn’t want a restraining order on her public record, and you’ll have your answer.

“Why would a narcissist put a restraining order on you?”

To be hurtful and to have all eyes focused on him or her. Narcissists exult in exercising power over others, and they have pathological urges for attention and vengeance. See also this page and this post (also this one). Here are some short essays on the subject of narcissistic malice by Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi:

Narcissistic Vengeance Has No Boundaries

“Narcissists Hold Deep Grudges” (dead link)

Narcissists—Don’t Expect Formal Justice or Punishment

Malicious Narcissists—Convincing Others You Are at Fault or Crazy

Sociopathic Narcissists—Relentlessly Cruel

Narcissistic Relationship Cycle: Use, Abuse, Dispose

Narcissist—Sweet Revenge

“Narcissist’s Cycles of Revenge” (dead link)

“Why would a policeman take statements from witnesses if a person was not pressing charges. What if I do not want to press charges?”

The police and judges have been trained to react “heroically” when they perceive that a woman has been abused. If you don’t want to press charges, refuse. And don’t sign anything. Also, consult with an attorney (usually free), because once this process is initiated, it can carom out of control.

Will a prosecutor file criminal charges if a petitioner dismisses a civil protective order?”

I can’t imagine what grounds would exist for prosecuting you for withdrawing a protection order you petitioned, no. If the restraining order was based on false allegations (that is, if you committed perjury), don’t offer that fact as your explanation for requesting/moving that it be vacated (dismissed). Even if you were to cop to making false allegations, however, it’s unlikely that you’d be prosecuted.

Will I get arrested for not showing up to court for [a] restraining order injunction?”

That probably depends on whether you’ve been ordered to appear or whether you’ve simply been provided with an opportunity to defend. Don’t hesitate to inquire with the courthouse or to request more time to prepare if you need it.

“Will I go to jail for a restraining order against me from a minor?”

Irrespective of the age of the plaintiff on the order, if you violate the order’s prohibitions (for example, by approaching the plaintiff), and the police are notified, you may be arrested, yes. Police detention doesn’t necessarily follow from the issuance of a restraining order, though. Receiving a restraining order, in other words, doesn’t by itself mean you face incarceration. It just means you’re “on notice” for the period the order remains in effect.

Will looking at someone’s Facebook [page] violate a protective order?”

No, not unless this act has been forbidden by the court. And I don’t see why it would be. Consult the order you were issued by the court to see what limits have been imposed on your activities. Communication via Facebook most likely is forbidden.

“Will police arrest me for violating an injunction against harassment…?”

Yes. Don’t.

Will the defendant be notified if the petitioner cancels a protection order before the hearing?”

Possibly, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Will the judge let me get my stuff from the house if I have a restraining order?”

Typically, no. You leave with the shirt on your back and nothing else. Check your state’s statutes, though, by Googling restraining order statutes + your state. Your state’s laws may allow you to return to your residence to pick up some essentials in the company of a police officer.

“Will the person know I filed a restraining order on them if it was denied?”

In some jurisdictions, at least, the defendant is informed, yes.

With a [protection order], what is the distance a person has to stay away?”

Consult the order you were issued. If you’re still uncertain, don’t hesitate to inquire at the courthouse.

With a restraining order, can I keep the defendant on my Facebook?”

Sure. And why wouldn’t you want to?

Copyright © 2012–15

1,114 Responses “Restraining Order Q&A” →

  1. Steve Nicoletti

    December 5, 2015

    I replied above the line.



  2. InsideOut

    November 28, 2015

    Thanks for your response and your oprimism. Yes this is can.using me streas. I feel I am being harasses. I have seen her once since the order was in place. I was on a motorcycle, so she wouldn’t re of use my car. She re ovovnized me. And messaged my ex girlfriend that night. Can I also file a restraining order? The..thanks in advance!



  3. InsideOut

    November 25, 2015

    My ex-girlfriend filed a false restraining Order. She has a public reputation, so she protected herself from anyone finding out she had an affair. I didn’t hire a lawyer (stupid), since I hadn’t even had contact in months…I lost!!! I hired a lawyer, filed an appeal with new slanderous evidence, and a $30K slander suit. Today I lost my appeal. My lawyer didn’t care. I prepared 3 copies of 30 pages of documents, my lawyer was confused, the judge didn’t see a single page of evidence. My lawyer thinks once she receives the slander suit, she will drop the OOP! She is slandering me now to friends. Can I file a restraining order against her to protect myself from her defaming me? What can I do? I have 2 small children, and will likely lose my public job as this is Searchable. I realize I have made a terrible mistake -twice. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.


    • Sure, anyone can file a restraining order. And then file again. And then file again. Courthouses don’t advertise the fact, but you can’t be censured for filing a petition, and there’s no statutory limit on how many times you can do it.

      Your allegation, I think, would be harassment. In another context, I would tell you that it’s not harassment to write about someone, but if you’re being lied about and it’s affecting your kids (and may affect your ability to provide for them), fuck it.

      Judges do what they want, so it’s a matter of being persuasive, and you could reasonably and truthfully say that you’re being caused “emotional distress,” that you can’t sleep, etc.

      What happened, anyhow? She had an affair, and you pressed her for an explanation or wrote about the affair?

      If a judge has censored you, that may be grounds for another appeal that could have the order quashed on constitutional grounds.



  4. Cow Town California

    November 17, 2015

    Here is one for you… Moved in with mother-in law due to her old age and poor health. in her will the home was to be become her son’s so she transferred the title after a year of taking care of her so we paid of all her credit cards and took responsibility for all utilities, home owners ins. etc. She recovered from all health issues started gambling again and going to bingo, got her self in dept and now wants the house back to take out a loan against the home. When her son refused she put a RO on me to remove me from the home. Judge told her she needed to move out and I could come back after two weeks (we have 2 teenage daughters) The day after I moved back home she issued a restraining order on her son and had him removed FROM HIS OWN HOME AND SHE NO LONGER LIVES THERE!! How is is this possible?
    Signed Cow Town California


    • By all accounts, the rails in California courts are well-greased. One judge doesn’t necessarily know how another has ruled…and probably wouldn’t care if s/he did.


  5. If someone file restraining orders against me, but it is denied until court hearing, do I need to file the response before the court date? Or I just need to bring my evidence and show up on the hearing date? Thanks for the answer 😀


  6. so my little sister just lost custody of her daughter becuase her boyfriend basically lied, and made her look insane becuase he was abusive. Now she is living with me, and sees her daughter every other week. However, me and my landlord are not ok with him on our property given every time he is on it my sisters breakes are tampered with. Yet now with my apartment over the garage i can see the cars. He knows that he is not supposed to stay here long because the land lord doesnt trust him. When he showed up at 530 to pick up his daughter, which was a half hour early, he stayed for a good half hour talking ot my sister, while i had to watch her from the second floor window to make sure he didnt start yelling at her. However, he was not leaving and i dont feel comfortable with him on my property either, so i opened the window and told him that the landlord and i were already not ok with him being on our property so now that he had his daughter he needed to stop chit chatting and leave, he told me i had to leave and shut up or he would file a restraining order against me, I told him to stop talking and leave, he said it again, and i said stop talking, leave, and i dont care. So when he was leaving he said i was a hipocritical christian. I just responded by saying “yeah sorry brian that doesnt work on me now get off the property. A minute later he calls my sister saying he’s going to never let her see her daugter, and he’s go8ing to file a restraining order agianst me so she would have to move if she wanted to see her daughter. He does this all the time. And doesnt like her living with me because i was a five year military police officer. I just wanted to know how much rights does this guy really have in taking anything away or even being able to place a restraining order on me for telling him to leave the property once he has his daughter, when it is my home


    • Your property, your rules. The problem with a guy who’s willing to lie, Katie, is that lies can be very effective. He could say you accosted him, aimed a gun at him, called him names, etc. (“and this wasn’t the first time, Judge!”). If this worked to get a preliminary ruling against you, you’d have to show up in court, say he lied, have the landlord testify, etc. For nothing. This costs the guy nothing and risks him nothing. If you got a lawyer, it might cost you $2,500 to $5,000. It’s hell.

      Something you might consider is beating him to the punch. If you held an order against him, his credibility would be permanently diminished, and you could allow him to pick up his daughter on the curb but otherwise have him ordered to keep his distance. The landlord and your sister could accompany you. With your credentials, you might persuade a judge that this guy is being threatening and bullying. “Terrorizing” might be a word to consider.

      If this guy has an order against your sister that doesn’t allow her to call him, but he still calls her “all the time” with threats, your sister could also see about getting a restraining order against the guy (separate orders), and you and the landlord could support her. A thought.

      How you phrased things might be important. The more you can say “has happened” the better. For example: “On more than one occasion after Brian has lingered in the yard after appearing ‘early,’ the brakes on our vehicle have been tampered with.” The more you can move facts into the realm of real instead of suspected the better. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but something like this might be influential, also: “Based on my experience as a military police officer, guys like this are [X, Y, Z].”

      For an order you petitioned, you’d have to name things he has done to you, said to you, done to your property, threatened to do, etc.

      The landlord could also petition a restraining order on the guy, and you and your sister could support him. All separate petitions. (“Your honor, this guy screams at people, hollers threats and disrupts the peace, stamps around, shows up early and skulks, refuses to leave when he’s told and just hollers more threats” or whatever. “We’ve reasoned with him, but he just gets more belligerent.”). FYI.


      • Filing first was my first thought, however with my one year old neice that he has full custody over, we are worried that he will never let my little sister see her agian if we do file the order, can he do that?


        • I couldn’t say. You could ask the judge, though. You’re basically being blackmailed: Either you and your sister tolerate everything this guy does, or he refuses your sister a role in her daughter’s life. He could do this, anyway, whatever you do or don’t do. There may be other ways to apply to see a judge. For example, your sister might request a hearing with a family court judge to explain this situation.

          Once these games begin, it’s all a bureaucratic knot. Even lawyers may be impotent to help.

          A woman wrote not long ago who had court-ordered visitation privileges, but her ex just blew her off. He’d gotten a restraining order on her, had a girlfriend do the same thing, etc. in the past (on false grounds). She’d been through years of this stuff. So she’s fighting cancer, is desperate to see her child, but is leery of asserting her rights and doesn’t know what to do. I’ve heard of an infant’s being given to a maternal grandmother when the mom petitioned an order against the dad. The mom was institutionalized, and the dad had the order dismissed. But he couldn’t get his daughter back. The grandmother refused, and the cops said they had this flag in their system and wouldn’t intervene.


          • wow, now i really dont know what to do, lol, it feels like there really isnt a way to fight this then


  7. How long is a brady indicator active in the state of Arizona? My order of protection expired August 26th and my ex went to the court in September asking if he can go buy a firearm.


    • From what I have read from a previous case in Arizona :

      Click to access cv20120060opinion.pdf

      The passage pertaining to the Brady notice is on page 4.

      It appears the Brady notice would only be in effect for the duration of the order. I am sure there are circumstances that could change that. Without any more details there is not much more I can tell you.


      • Yeah that’s what I thought too. Once the order expired so would the brady indicator. The order expired Aug 26th and he went to the court on September 21st asking if he could go buy one. The judge wrote back saying the order expired but as far as the brady indicator went he would have to talk to a private attorney. I figured once the order dropped we wouldn’t have to go through the court anymore


        • I imagine there are a lot of factors involved with having the indicator removed, so there has to be some type of process to ensure he is no longer restricted. A loose analogy would be a suspended drivers license, they just don’t hand it back th the person, while one is a priveledge the other a Right, it only seems reasonable. If you have no objection to him purchasing a firearm, it would probably expediate the process.


  8. I want to start this off with a little back round my sister in law is dyeing from cancer she is in the hospital and this all started the day we all found out that they could do nothing for her. My brother lives in Vt. he and his wife have been together 28 years and have been married for 22 years. His 16 year old told him to “go f*** yourself” then spit in his face when he was talking to he about needing her to help out more with her sister now that mommy would not be coming home from the hospital. He smacked her and he should not have I get that. Here is our problem a tro was issued then a fro. My brother was in the hospital at the time of the court hearing for the fro as was my sister in law they did a phone hearing with her but not him. They keep the order keeping him for this 16 year old but lifted the one for the 7 year old. The people the children were staying with were very upset that he was given the younger child and call the police to say he violated the order witch he do not do but was taken in for anyway later released without charges. The next thing we know he goes to court and was told that the court dropped the fro and went back to the finding from the tro until a case could be heard. He went to court this week and was told that a fro for one year would be in place for the 16 year old but that he could have the 7 year old back. They told him to wait downstairs for the new order. He was sitting and waiting when the court clerk came down and said that the lawyer for my sister in law talked to the judge after he left the court room and now they were going back again to the tro and a court date for October 23 was ordered to hear the case. He went bake to the court room and asked to go back on the record he was, at that time they told him her lawyer was not ready and that he thinks the 16 year old should have her own lawyer and that a GLA should be working with the 7 year old. What is going on is it me or are things a little off here. I work as a Domestic Violence/ Sexual Assault Advocate and a Case Aid in a woman’s shelter I help people get tro’s all the time but in NJ and I have never seen anything like this. He has no record the police have never been to the house for any DV calls.



  9. anonymous

    September 27, 2015

    I had someone come to my house on 2 seperate occasions and an altercation happened. The second time my child was chased by the person and I was actually ran over by the person’s car. This person was granted a temporary restraining order even after all this and many lies. How is tgis person granted one and why woukd tge judge not issue one against them? Is that possible for the judge to deny the order and make a decision to actually put one against that person instead? Also they are making false allegations stating I damaged their vehicle when I did not and attempting to sue me for a couple thousand dollars worth of damage to the car and for attorney fees, can I be sued for all this on a restraining order hearing?


    • There is no way to answer. It is almost like an ice cream parlor, first come first served. Hence little you can do. I would think any type of damages would have to be recouped in Small Claims court, but State laws vary. Get a lawyer, it will be worth it.



      • anonymous

        September 27, 2015

        yes a lawyer has already been retained….I’m just so confused by the law anymore, I just don’t understand this


        • It’s not you; it’s the law. There’s no accountability in this process, no standard of proof that must be met, no evidence of anything is required. It’s absurd.

          I would admit to the judge that you probably did damage the man’s car and explain it happened when he rammed the vehicle into your body.

          You could reapply for an order of your own (there are other judges and other courthouses), explain your child was threatened, and maybe even have the child say so to the judge.


        • See a doctor about the car collision if you haven’t already, document it even if there was no damage, and consider wearing a neck brace to court.



  10. Stacey E.

    September 25, 2015

    I was denied the right to hold a hearing about a restraining order I put against a part-time neighbor. The court sent my notice to a wrong address despite the fact that I filled out paperwork telling them how to contact me. They held a hearing without my knowledge and then declared that that was good enough. Knowing that the judge had no intention of giving me a fair hearing, I requested one for the injunction he filed against me. He showed up in court with a “business partner” who’s only testimony was based on a story he invented in order to attack me personally. The judge asked him to point out the person he was talking about in the courtroom, and since she was the only other female in the room, who was he going to point at? His story involved his sons making a fire in a fire pit outdoors and I supposedly attacked them, claiming that the smoke was getting on our property. The story didn’t involve him, other than the fact that his sons reported this to him. He would have never actually seen me if there was any validity to this story, yet the judge wanted to make sure he “pointed me out” in the courtroom. The problem with this is that I wasn’t home from July 3 to the 6th. I was in an area that is a good 5 hour drive away. But don’t let that stop a judge who wanted to persecute me in the first place. Who made sure I wouldn’t have access to a trial for my injunction against him. And the person I filed against has a classic case of narcissistic personality disorder. He filed more than one false police report in order to get me arrested. He tried running me over in the street with an atv and everyone is treating him like a precious little victim. This same person who thinks because his wife lets him abuse her, that he gets to attack all women. The fact that his morals are so low as to file police reports out of spite is reason enough that they should not have dismissed my injunction.
    The “judge” even claimed I could get another order against him if I felt it necessary. I spent $92 I didn’t have to get the first one placed, which ended up basically making me pay for a clerical error, since apparently the people who work at the court are too stupid to read an address you wrote out legibly for them.
    The courts excuse for holding a trial without my knowledge is that I was given a “courtesy call”. This consisted of someone “from the court” leaving a phone number and a ridiculously stupid name I couldn’t pronounce if I tried. Since I don’t deal with that court and was due to appear at the one I do deal with, I assumed it was a message from the other court and that any problem they might have would be brought up to me when I arrived. Since I never heard another word about the matter, I assumed whatever this person with the stupid name was calling me about was resolved. I expected to receive a mailed notice if there was to be any trials associated with the injunctions. I was not only not mailed one, they claimed they remailed it properly the second time and I never received it. They never mailed it to me a second time. I know this is true because all of their other correspondence afterwards made it to me without incident. How very convenient.


    • You could consider appealing the order against you to the next tier of the court system, Stacey (probably the superior court). Typically to move the appellate judge, it’s incumbent on the defendant/appellant to show that the trial judge clearly exceeded his discretion. Since the trial judge’s discretion (latitude) is broad, this is very hard. Remember that if you pursue this course, it’s the trial judge’s performance you’d probably want to focus on, unless the standard in your state is exceptional. It’s possible that if you could prove you weren’t in town when the alleged event occurred, this could reward your time. I suppose you could argue that the judge refused to hear your evidence. Plain from what you’ve said is that an attorney’s help is out of the question. So here’s some advice if you wanted to proceed with an appeal: (1) file your notice of appeal immediately, (2) get your memorandum in on time (or file a Motion to Enlarge Time if the deadline isn’t one you can meet), (3) keep your arguments simple and straightforward (focus on the judge, not your accuser), (4) answer the claims against you rather than making claims against the plaintiff (your behavior is what’s at issue), and (5) consider filing a Motion for Oral Argument to allow you to appear before the appellate judge in person, so s/he can see and hear you.

      It’s possible you could file a Motion for a New Trial regarding the order you petitioned and were denied. Easier, however, would be to refile.



  11. stephanie decker

    September 23, 2015

    I have a restraining order against my husband-do I have to take him to court to get help paying the mortgage and taxes



  12. Yasin Cabari

    September 15, 2015

    I am intending to sue a party for lying and defamation. Should I sue the person who lied or the newspaper which published the lie? Thank!


    • The question is too general to answer. In general, suing someone for defamation of character “Libel” since it was published is not an easy case to win. Did you lose your job? Did it cause you to be shunned or cause any loss of standing in the community?

      If it is in response to a successful or unsuccessful attempt at a restraining order against you, it could be seen as harassment on your part. There is very little to be gained either way.



      • Yasin Cabari

        September 16, 2015

        Dear Walter,
        I didn’t lose my job. I lost social standing at my workplace because I tried to defend myself.

        This is the person who filed the restraining order and lied to the paper causing me this pain.

        So, what are the consequences of a harassment in this case? Thanks!


        • I guess the question is: What do you hope to gain from a civil lawsuit?

          You would really have to prove some kind of financial loss that occurred because of what was printed or real harm to your reputation or status. If you have indisputable proof that what was published was inaccurate, usually if you bring it to the Newspaper they will submit a retraction.

          Now, if the restraining order was finalized or dismissed, it really doesn’t matter. The court may see your lawsuit as a revenge tactic, especially if the restraining order was finalized. If it was dismissed you may get some leeway with an overwhelming amount of evidence and a good Lawyer. But in a Civil Court Judges are not so easy to convince when A leads to B. A; being the Restraining order and B; being the countersuit for Defamation.

          One of the things to keep in mind when it comes to lying in a courtroom or publishing something in this scenario. A person can say they actually believed what they said or printed, they can claim mental duress do to the environment of their interactions with you, etc.

          In the long run, yoy will most likely hire a Lawyer, the other person can show up still rife with Legal aides provided to them at no cost, and chances are even if you win, you won’t get your legal costs back.

          I know it is not what you want to hear. Heck, I wanted to do the same thing against my ex, she lied, used connections to get the TRO even issued, and her Lawyer basically had to tell her there is no way you are getting a Permanent Restraining Order against him, so you may as well agree to a civil agreement and just avoid each other (which is what we did and do).



          • Anonymous

            September 17, 2015

            Many thanks to you Walter…I believe it is about time I sought a new country.


            • I know exactly how you feel! I have solid evidence that my wife filed a false restraining order against me and I can’t get anyone to even consider looking at it. In fact, and I kid you not, I was told if I don’t let it go, I might be charged with harassment!

              America is such a bullshit nation! I’m moving back to China. At least Chinese are upfront with their bullshit.



              • Anonymous

                September 22, 2015

                I couldn’t agree more. I was deceived. They considered a public place to be a workplace, do you believe this would ever happen in another nation? Of course, not because America is not a real nation, and to add insult to injury, my lawyer sided with them against me. Not in a very primitive country this would ever happen, if there is a primitive country, so to speak.


            • I don’t think you need to find another Country, just stay away from the person in question, and let your actions and deeds disprove what was published. Also you should consult with a lawyer, many offer consultations for free, and they may have a different perspective. That would allow you to share intimate details about your specific situation without having to put it all over the internet.

              In my case, the person in question, did lie to the court and slandered me, she had been lying to her employer and should have been fired, she lied about the reason she felt she needed a TRO, and used a Judge her family knew to get the TRO despite the fact it should never have been granted. I also knew members of her family illegaly transported weapons, etc. I hired the best Lawyer I could find in the State, he was about a 90 minute drive away.

              He told me the same thing I am telling you. It will all look like retaliation, it will look like Harassment, it sucks, but it is the way it is. The TRO was a complete joke why her Lawyer was so quick to convince her to dismiss it. I remember waiting outside the courtroom and hearing my Lawyer talk with a few other Lawyers waiting outside and they are telling him her Lawyer never settles or negotiates. My guy just says, as is she knows she will lose, and if my ex tried to file another restraining order, he would tell me to file one against her.

              It is a crazy environment, why I still read posts here.



              • Anonymous

                September 22, 2015

                Many many thanks Walter, you are truly a helper! It is not about staying away from the person, but the whole justice system in this country is messed up. It sides with the culprit more than the victim and that is why I am leaving.


    • The newspaper would be harder. You’d have to show that it either knowingly published a defamatory lie or neglected its duty to discover the truth. For example, a radio station was required to pay $1 million to a woman it wrongly identified on air as a “porn star.” If the paper just published, for example, what a police blotter said or what a public record said, it wouldn’t be liable for an error the police made or a judge made. There are some papers that just publish whatever the police reported or recorded on a given day.

      The newspaper, however, probably has the deeper pockets (more money). It also has a greater responsibility to report the truth. It’s really about laying blame where it belongs. I had some experience with the editor of a local paper where I live (the Tucson Weekly). The editor wasn’t interested in hearing that accusations could be false or considering the implications and ramifications. Other journalists are similarly dickish (i.e., automatically distrustful, i.e., lousy journalists); some just don’t want to confront inconvenient realities.


    • Also, Yasin, if you’re Muslim, strongly consider civil rights arguments like “racial profiling,” etc. You may at least inspire the newspaper to print a retraction or agree to interview you and report what you have to say.



      • Yasin Cabari

        September 16, 2015

        Do you mean the ACLU?


        • I doubt the ACLU would be responsive, but there may be some value in saying, “It’s hard enough getting a fair shake in these proceedings, but I can’t help but wonder if looking like I do and having a name like mine didn’t make everyone that much more eager to think I’m a monster.” Whether you said this to a court, to the newspaper that printed the accusation(s), or to another paper about the paper than published the slur, it could make an impression, and these matters are all about impressions.



          • Anonymous

            September 22, 2015

            Thank you, I didn’t realise until recently that is all about impressions in this part of the world. You can destroy a person with a simple lie and get away with it.


  13. Can a person get a ccw permit if they have a restraining order against them that has been expired for eight years and the order was based on internet or harassment? No other convictions or arrests have occurred. Thanks for any help. I don’t want to go into details, but the person that filed, even contacted again, but I had never returned email. It was all internet based and he and I both guilty and never even knew where the other lived. I’m so glad that is way behind me. Hope you can answer my question, thank you


    • I don’t foresee that you would have any problem, Susan. If it had been a 10-year order of protection or something, the case might be otherwise, but any restriction would have long ago expired.



  14. Vinsanity

    September 3, 2015

    Girlfriends Ex-boyfriend put a restraining order on me with a no contact for him or his son. His son lives in my house. There was an altercation between the ex boyfriend and I but it did not involve his son. Does this mean my girlfriend and her son can’t live me anymore?



  15. stacey G

    August 24, 2015

    I have an injunction against someone, and it’s been in place for about 5 years. I received an extention 2 years ago, and it’ll be up in about a month. I was granted an extention due to the fact that the other party violated the injunction 4 times. She ended up being on probation for a year, community service, and was given anger management. Last August I tried to make amends with her and be a bigger person, and forgive her for all the wrong doing, drama, and troubles she’s caused in my life. So we began having contact with one another. Shortly afterwards, she went back to her old ways, contacting me with drama, contacting me when asked to stop, making anonymous and false accusations sending the police around to my home making up things about my children. Basically being the sociopath that she is. Even though we had contact, would this be means for violation for her, if she’s continuing with the nonsense. By the way I’m in FL.



  16. David morgan

    August 8, 2015

    I have a restraining order against me that I am appealing through the court but a police Sargent called a threatened me to turn over my guns to the county sheriff. Do the police have the right to enter my home and search for guns? I’m in az


    • To the best of my knowledge, David, no. I think giving cops the authority to do this has been proposed, but I believe the law just says you must surrender your firearms (within 24 hours). I don’t think the police are permitted to perform a search except by your consent. An attorney or a gun advocacy group in Arizona (or the NRA) might be able to tell you with complete certainty.


    • Here’s the order of protection statute:

      See (G)(4).


    • If the person that filed the order against you knows you have firearms, then yes they can take them. You really should just turn them over assuming they are legally owned and aquired. It could be considered a violation of the order if you do not and could land you in jail. When it comes to restraining orders, you are guilty until proven innocent. You will get the weapons back if the order is dismissed or expires.



  17. Monica camacho

    August 3, 2015

    I am getting a civil restraint order..court is this Friday but I have not been served. I got a phone from a block number saying I have court on the 15th. It looked like the person was trying to get emergency order thru ex parte hearing but got denied. Judge didn’t see one was needed or any proof. But yet they are continuing hearing for this Friday the 7th. I been following the the document by the court website. She is still trying to get the protective order when I cause her no harm or threaten this person. She had an affair with my husband which resulted a baby on the way due in Sept. and did everything she can to get him to leave his family. …I still have not been served with no paperwork or court order. Can she still get it against me of she didn’t serve me. On the paperwork, it should that whoever she had serve me…they noted they called me on the 17th which they didn’t and said that I acknowledge who I was and said okay for court o. The August 7th. Can they use that against Me…even though I never got the call on the 17th and have not been served t all with paperwork?


    • What state are you in, Monica?


    • This is hard to figure out, A temporary order has to be served to you. A phone call from the court is okay. but it has no meaning unless you are served. Basically without being served with a TRO, the phone call means nothing. If you believe an order was filed and it was some kind of clerical error, you should still go on that date. You can tell the Judge you were never ‘physically’ served and had no time to even review the order or consult waith a Lawyer. When you get served with a TRO (in New Jersey anyway) 3 police officers arrive, (I don’t know if 3 are required but that was my deal), I had to sign the order, and 2 of them had to sign and date it. Side note, they originally tried to back date it, I just said I am not signing it with the incorrect date.

      In a perfect world, from what you are saying, you have no obligation to go to court. This is not a perfect world, you were not served but you do know there is some kind of legal action against you and a court date. Have you called the courthouse or the Police Department? They should both have a record of the order. You can figure out most of this with those 2 phone calls.


    • I am sorry for my previous post, a civil restraint order is not a restraining order. It is a civil agreement. It is usually a method to avoid a Permanent Restraining order, but carries no real legal consequences. Need more info


  18. My step-son has a restraining order against him and mentioned ( via Facebook – yes I know, knuckle headed ) to a 3rd party mutual friend of the petitioner that “he wanted 50/50 custody of their daughter” and nothing obnoxious, threatening ( to the petitioner or the child, or himself ) mentioned nothing offensive, and never even mentioned the petitioner by name. The conversation was short. My step-son is trying to do things by the book and stay with the letter of the law while his ex is playing dirty pool and winning. He received a call from the deputy investigating the case asking for his Facebook info. He refused on 1st Amendment grounds and even though he never said anything wrong, 5th Amendment as well believing access to his account they would eventually find something that could easily be twisted and used against him. Later in the day he was picked up by the sherif’s dept. They refused to produce a warrant, they just came on my property and took him. They wouldn’t show him the warrant and as far as I know, he’s been in jail 2 days and still hasn’t see a warrant. I know things aren’t like TV but shouldn’t they have produced this warrant by now? Also – I’ve read thru this restraining order and I do not see anything anywhere that says he can’t discuss his situation. As far as the Facebook thing is concerned, I know it takes time but I think this is something for the ACLU to look at, am I wrong? His ex is bragging about how she’s manipulating the sherif’s department but is smart enough not to do that in writing anywhere. It also seems like the sherif’s dept is being extremely bias. The ex has friends within the department. Should we wish to have them investigated who do we turn to? The State Police? A different jurisdiction, we’re basically on the county line. We gave sherif’s dept. here – very few City Police Dept. I’m trying to secure this poor kid an attorney, even if I have to mortgage my home or get a line of credit and believe me, I wouldn’t do something like that if I thought this kid was rotten. He’s done some colossal stupid stuff driven my emotion but never anything criminal. He’s no felon. He’s a good kid with some depression issues, he didn’t have a great childhood but not the worst ever. And he’s doing his best to follow the law and do things the right way, the legal way – and his ex is manipulating the system, being under handed, threatening him online, somehow has law enforcement on her side and what’s worse – she’s “winning”. Is there anything that his mom & I can do to keep him encouraged not depressed and continuing to do the right thing. It’s like he wants to just give up and let her have his daughter. he is losing his will to fight and I think he still has a chance. It just pains me to see a person, not just someone I know – anyone, trying to do things right and getting screwed. Yes, I know that’s how it works sometimes but it doesn’t mean I wanna lay back and take it.

    Thank you providing this website and answering the questions we all have. It’s really helpful and has got me pointed in the right direction.



    • Max, I’ll try to respond at greater length soon. Briefly, though, you’re right about the Facebook message. If the message wasn’t sent to the petitioner of the restraining order, there was no violation. I won’t tell you that judges don’t play it fast and loose with citizens’ constitutional rights, but, no, there is nothing in the law that says someone can’t talk about the petitioner.

      I’m short on time or I’d follow your link, which might answer my question, but what state are you in?

      You could consult your state’s statutes, but I’m guessing based on what you’ve reported that warrantless arrests are authorized by the law where you are (as they may be everywhere).

      See this post (and consider dropping a comment to Matthew):


      • Thanks you for the quick reply. He goes before the judge in the morning ( 7/20/15 ) so I’ll be pulling an all nighter. He hasn’t spoken to an attorney yet, I am assuming he’ll be provided one in the AM, I hope I’m not wrong about that. I live in Colorado, Park County to be specific. The sticks. It concerns me greatly about a warranties arrest. My guess was they ( the DA who authorized the Sheriff’s Dept to pick up my step-son – or so the deputy informed me ) assumed they could get a warrant Monday morning. It really does seem like they picked hm up on Friday, after 6pm knowing he couldn’t get in touch with an attorney or the court with the goal of intimidating him & inconveniencing him by making him stay in jail all weekend. The thing is, the message he posted is extremely benign. My guess is the petitioner made it sound like something dreadful and the sheriff’s dept jumped into action thinking they were doing some heroic deed, but really. There is NOTHING. Here is the message verbatim:

        “I don’t know who’s saying what, but I’m not trying to take (baby’s name) away. I’m just fighting for fifty-fifty custody. I was trying to find ( Petitioner’s Ex ) for her, not to plat against her.

        That is what triggered his arrest. Really, I wish there was more to this story. I don’t want to post what the 3rd party because who knows, these people abuse the system but in my opinion the 3rd party and the petitioner set my step-son up and the Park County DA facilitated it. The petitioner also, prior to this incident contacted my step-son.

        On July 10th 2015, also on Facebook but in a private message ( what is it with these kids and doing this crap on Facebook? It boggles the mind! ) Anyway, I have the message but I won’t post the whole thing I’ll paraphrase:

        “We need to talk. Like, now. This is not ok AT ALL”
        “I know you are taking screenshots and that’s fine…..” She goes on to say that she’s giving my step-son fair warning that no judge would give him custody because he’s not working. He’s not working because of his depression, he can work and cry at the same time. She goes on to mention his violent past, and other insults. Personally, I think she’s “playing to the camera” as it were because she already assumed he would screen grab the message so why not throw some digs in and muddy the waters so if he does use this message against her, he looks bad too. Just my opinion. Anyway, she goes on to insult my family, my wife and I have 7 kids at home in a 3 bedroom home – which she refers to as tiny home that no judge would allow their daughter to live here. I’d buy a new home or put on an addition of need be. Thats neither here nor there but you get where I’m coming from. She also then plays upon his emotions trying to say how this is hurting their daughter. That this is going to cost $10000 and he’ll lose. Just the fact that she contacted him and said all that she said, shouldn’t that in and of itself negate the protection order?

        Again, I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to thank you enough. I appreciate the reply and I will contact Matthew as you advised. Please, when you have the time I’d love to hear your thoughts on this additional information I’ve shared with you.

        Thank you again, I really appreciate your time.



        • You’re welcome, Max. I wish I could offer you more to go on, but don’t give up.

          Yes, if this woman initiated contact while an order was in effect, that’s “enticement” or baiting.

          You’re right. That remark was nothing. He didn’t even use her name.

          That link I sent from Dr. Charles Corry is Colorado-specific and mentions “warrantless arrests.” FYI.


          • Those links were extremely helpful! Especially the Dr. Corry’s Colorado related stuff, and funny too while being informative. I like that. Thanks – I’m still reading it. I am happy to say that court went well this morning for my step-son and he’s sitting right here soon to be reading these posts we’ve exchanged. The Asst. DA had no case, but did say something that I picked up on. She said “Your honor, the state doesn’t have enough to prosecute AT THIS TIME therefore we recommend that the charges be dropped. It’s the “At This Time.” that worries me or do you think I’m reading too much into this. See, I believe this good Christian deputy – who is also a county commissioner ( I believe ) – who is the one that arrested my step-son has two choices. He’s either going to be pissed at the petitioner & her friend for filing a false report but this deputy’s MO is more likely harassment towards my step-son.

            It just concerns me that that they aren’t done just yet. Maybe I’m paranoid. I don’t know. I also wrote a letter to the Sheriff himself asking politely for an explanation as to why his deputies entered my property without a warrant, and why my step-son was asked to write a statement yet was never Mirandized. I even invited him to give me that information over a cup of coffee or a beer and off the record. I believe in dealing with people face to face and also dealing with the ones in charge. The buck stops with him. I haven’t heard back, surprisingly. I am still encouraging my step-son to seek out advice from an attorney on whether or not he has a case against the Sheriff’s Dept detaining him like they did. He also needs to look into the “baiting” email and make the court aware of that.

            I won’t say good bye just yet, I have a feeling we may be chatting some more. I really don’t like that law enforcement just walked onto my property like they did & if I have any recourse I plan to follow thru with it. Also, my step-son’s nightmare isn’t quite over yet. There are still custody hearings and I’m sure this isn’t the last abuse of the protection order.

            Oh, and this deputy that arrested my step-son also recorded my wife ( audio recorded ) who,…I don’t mean to offend any of your readers, tore the deputies that were here a new ass. She actually walked up and down their asses. Hell she ran a marathon up and down their asses. She never did threatened them but they were called every name in the book, and a few names that should be added to the book. I support her for doing that, she was and is an extremely angry mom and still is. I just chose to handle things more diplomatically. She also suffer’s from PTSD. I’m concerned that if they can’t go after my step-son they’ll go after her for something,…who knows. At this point I don’t trust the Sheriff’s Dept. here any more. This is very sad for me. My father was a cop for 26 years, I grew up with cops. That was on the east coast – and pretty far from Colorado.

            Your insight and links have been invaluable. Thank you again VERY much. I’ll keep you posted and be in touch. You may even hear from my step-son. Sadly, I’m sure this story isn’t over. Not yet anyway.

            Thanks again for your help.


            • That comment (“at this time”) could have been face-saving. What the woman didn’t want to say is, “We’ve totally wasted the court’s time, Your Honor, and rashly had a man caged and dragged into court for nothing.” But that would have made the system look incompetent and maybe crooked, and these people don’t apologize.

              You’re a savvy guy, Steve, and a good man, I think (and your wife may deserve a medal of valor!). You’re right to be leery, because agents of the law put a lot of stock in their dignity. I’ve know some good officers, too, but there are some who would rather look right than be right. It’s hard to say whether the guy’s indignant or embarrassed. He may be worried about liability, and I think you’re smart to look into whether you have a case against the state. What the no-callback could mean is the guy’s worried about giving you ammunition for a lawsuit. If he’s a politician besides….

              I’m glad things have gone your way so far, and don’t hesitate to leave a comment anytime.



        • Walter

          July 20, 2015

          You have to read up on this stuff and understand the cards are stacked against him. Most of us are here because we have experienced this first hand. Spend the money on a good lawyer, a public defender will not be effective, if he is even eligible for one. It is a quasi state, a restraining order on its own is a civil matter, a violation of it becomes a criminal matter, and if he can’t make bail it is not an instant process. Remember, the Restraining/Protection Order assumes a presumption of guilt.

          I had a similar situation as far as the Judge went, her family knew a Judge in a different town, that granted the TRO, which was invalid. I knew the deck was stacked against me and hired a pretty expensive Lawyer. I showed him everything, texts, emails, etc. The judge does not see that stuff at first. They see the complaint. She showed up to court with a stack of emails and texts she printed out. My threat to her was “I will tell your Mom”. Granted we were texting back and forth, but no threats, nothing unusual, but when they show up with a stack of papers. Wow.

          Her Lawyer conceded there was no grounds for a permanent order. There were no prior acts, never a call to the Police in 9.5 years, no physical, mental, or emotional abuse. I was lucky. Even after her Lawyer advised her to accept a civil agreement (which basically means if we happen to run into each other I can’t be arrested), the Judge made her go back to the Legal aides in the Courthouse for 2+ hours. So be prepared.

          I had dirt on her and her family, it doesn’t matter. Using that against someone in the process looks petty and it looks like Harassment. I probably could have gotten her fired, 2 of her nephews arrested (for illegally transporting firearms), but what good does that do if I am in jail myself?

          Spend a few grand on a Lawyer that specializes in this. And contribute to this site and the Mod, Get him (your Step-Son) out of jail and have a long talk with him.


        • On reflection, Max, I wouldn’t hesitate to call that private message “taunting.” Also, I think you’re a very shrewd psychoanalyst. I think you’re exactly right that she padded her message with remarks that would bias a reader to discourage your stepson from using it in court.

          He shouldn’t hesitate, though, to use it in his defense. Just make sure he knows better than to reply in any way.

          Depending on how things pan out, bear the following in mind: (1) that it’s possible to move the court for a new hearing if the first one was a joke (i.e., file a Motion for New Trial); (2) that it’s also possible to file an appeal (to a higher court); (3) that you (you) could file a restraining order alleging harassment, verbal abuse of your family, and libel; (4) that if the online attacks manifested publicly, you and/or your son would have grounds to file a defamation/harassment suit (besides for restraining orders); and finally (5) that it’s possible, if all else fails, to unilaterally apply to the court to have a protection order vacated after a couple of years have passed—this is unique to Colorado, I believe. I think a petitioner just has to fill out a form and submit to an FBI fingerprint check.

          People can get away with telling any lies they want in court. Lies and aspersions voiced outside of court, though, aren’t protected speech.

          I think if you wanted to act (i.e., apply for an order yourself), you could reasonably report to a judge that the woman has abused process and that you haven’t responded to her jabs and insults because she’s hiding behind a protection order against your stepson, and you don’t want to tempt her to broaden the number of her targets; you just want her to stop taunting and badmouthing your family. That’s just a thought. (FYI: A judge may know nothing about Facebook, and it’s not incumbent upon you to educate him or her. That message about your family is one you could just show to the judge and say, “This is what she’s writing about us, it’s false and vicious, and I want to protect my family from any more of this abuse.” The judge may ask whether the message was public…or s/he may not. If you could get two or three examples, so much the better.)

          Since you’re all sort of family, it’s a hard call. But sometimes tunes change when the shoe’s on the other foot.


    • Here’s an example from Mississippi:

      (3)(a) Any law enforcement officer shall arrest a person with or without a warrant when he has probable cause to believe that the person has, within twenty-four (24) hours of such arrest, knowingly committed a misdemeanor or felony that is an act of domestic violence or knowingly violated provisions of an ex parte protective order, protective order after hearing or court-approved consent agreement entered by a chancery, circuit, county, justice or municipal court pursuant to the Protection from Domestic Abuse Law, Sections 93-21-1 through 93-21-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, or a restraining order entered by a foreign court of competent jurisdiction to protect an applicant from domestic violence.

      Consult for your state’s laws.


    • Reply

  19. Steve N

    July 16, 2015

    In 2013, my wife had an order of protection taken out against me and during an ex-parte hearing in Indiana. The protective order was based solely her being scared. I was dispossessed of my house, my car, access to funds and left me on the street for 3 days and then living in a basement for the next two months. No witnesses were ever called, I was given no due – process, I was simply thrown out. At my wife’s request, Indiana also had my 17 y/o son removed from the house; this was my wife’s stepson.

    I recently discovered that immediately after this ex-parte order was carried out, my wife commenced an adulterous relationship in my house, in my bed and with my 3 y/o and 5 y/o daughters in the bedroom next door. What’s more, right after their affair ended, my wife had the order vacated. The timing of when the order of protection was issued and then vacated and the fact that my 17 y/o son was also thrown out indicates to me that my wife sought out the order of protection not because she was in any kind of fear for her life but because she wanted to enjoy an adulterous relationship free of me and my son.

    To make matters worse, it turns out that her lover is a convicted felon sex offender! The irony here is that on the pretense of protecting herself and my daughters, my wife let a sex offender in the house and allowed that sex offender to have contact with my daughters.

    The evidence I have includes very graphic texts that I found on the family computer a few weeks ago. I also have texts between my wife and the wife of her lover, which were shared with me. The texts display classic sexual grooming behavior on the part of my wife’s lover, which is alarming. Even more alarming, when I asked my daughter if this man had ever touched her she said: “not so much.”

    I have tried discussing this with prosecutors, judges and police in Marion County, Indiana and they have not only refused to investigate my wife and her lover, but they have actually cautioned me that I could be arrested for harassing a sex offender I continue to be vocal on the issue.

    Two questions:
    Any advice?
    I have been emailing my evidence along with the chronology of events far and wide: to churches, schools, friends, family – literally anyone and everyone. Am I on solid legal footing doing that?


    • Since your wife vacated the order, you’ve at least got something that calls its credibility into question. Bear in mind, though, it’s not something she had to do, and she could reapply tomorrow.

      You’re still married, but you feel permanently estranged and brutally betrayed/violated?

      First, I would caution you against scattershot emailing. I totally get the impulse, but it is possible your wife could represent this to the court as harassment and allege fear all over, besides.

      You’d be much smarter consulting with private counsel and seeing what course a lawyer recommended. From the sounds of it, a divorce/family lawyer would be the best choice.

      Is there any reason you’re excluded from your kids’ lives today (legally)? I appreciate you may be staying away because you’ve discovered how vulnerable you are to your wife’s making up whatever she wants.

      If you’re determined to pursue a legal route, obtaining a restraining order on behalf of your kids that excluded the man from their lives might be possible. Just appreciate that accusation hurts the next guy as much as it hurt you, and maybe the guy is blameless of any untoward contact with the kids.

      Recognize that the alleged “sex offense” against the guy could be as groundless or hyped as the accusation against you. Did it even involve children? I don’t discount the evil of what they did to you and the guy’s wife, but would your wife really endanger her daughters? And the guy’s out of the picture now anyway, right?

      You could also consider, I guess, opening a case with CPS. All of these actions, however, are invitations to the state to seriously mangle your family. I’ve heard again and again how one person filed an accusation, then the other did, and this just caused a permanent escalation. Relationships are maimed forever.

      I’m not in your shoes and can imagine your anger, but you may want to talk coolly with an attorney and figure how to heal your family as best you can minus lawsuits and filings with authorities. Are you in touch with your wife now? Maybe she regrets the whole thing.

      Keep this in mind: The evidence you have is something you can hang onto to defend yourself with if you need to (PDF the whole lot and tuck it away). It sounds pretty damning. You might want to hold that back instead of leaking it and try to devise a plan for the future that you could live with and that preserved your family’s welfare, whether that would be a divorce and shared custody or what.

      If you must go the “payback” route, my thought is do it with an attorney who represents your interests. The state represents the state’s interests, and dictates yours to you.



      • Steve N

        July 17, 2015

        Thank you Moderator for the thoughtful comments but in all honesty I’m just too outraged about this, especially when I think of what she did to my son, to want anything more than a hard and brutal payback. When she threw my son out, my ex-wife called, offered to pay rent and all but begged my wife not to do it. My mom called her too and likewise pleaded not to throw her grandson out. Of course even though no one believed me when I swore up and down that I never threatened or laid a hand on her, they just couldn’t understand why she would do that to my son. It was a real mystery because she needed the money and my son could have helped take care care of my daughters. Well, its clear now why.

        Yes we are still married and living together. I’m with my daughters and slut wife at the moment. After she had the order vacated, my son and I moved back in and carried on like nothing had happened – until I accidentally discovered those texts. For me personally, I never understood why she did that, and that’s what I kept asking people – “Why after that particular argument?” We have arguments all the time, why pick that one to get an order of protection? It made no real sense but it does now.

        I appreciate the advice on the scatter-shot emails but I will continue to send them and expose her. You know, I’m in the process of setting her up number 1 and number 2, I feel all of Indianapolis has a legitimate interest in this because it demonstrates just how easy it is to be dispossessed and branded an abuser.

        This is what I’m doing to give her a taste of her own medicine. After confronting her and exploding, I told her I loved her and wanted to “work things out” so she now thinks that we are “working on out marriage.” Yeah, right! In fact, I rented an apartment in Arkansas and I’m going to leave in about 3 weeks. She is 1 semester away from getting her LPN (and she’s doing oh-so-well, like like my son was before she threw him out) and when I leave, that LPN/RN plan will come to a grinding halt. She can get a job as a CNA and pursue her LPN on her own dime.

        I already had my pay changed from direct deposit to check. She just asked me today why the money wasn’t deposited (the dumb slut!) and I said, “gee I don’t know but I’ll go to HQ and check on Tuesday and find out.” Actually, I’m going to see a lawyer and file for divorce. I want her to be served just as I’m walking out the door, having explained that I’ve just set her up over the past month. It will be like two shoes dropping at once!

        I continue to expose her to the Indianapolis community but I will save exposing her to her friends, family and Churches (that’s right – she belongs to 2 Churches!) until after I leave – that will be the 3rd shoe dropping on her. In fact, when she goes to bed, I stay up sending “scatter – shot emails” as you call them detailing the chronology of when the protective order was filed and lifted and how it matches almost exactly when her affair with the sex-offender started and finished. Of course I include the graphic texts. My slut wife is from China and her family is very conservative. I know one of her her biggest fears is that I tell them and I will. My hope is, after I do, she does a nose dive off a bridge into traffic. She has no idea about the furies circling around her just as I had no idea an ex-parte hearing was taking place.

        As far as her sex offender boy friend – yes, he is a real live sex offender. He was caught in the classic sting operation: he exchanged texts with who he thought was a 14 y/o girl ( he was 36 at the time) sent her pictures of his genitals and setup a time and place to meet. It turned out the 14 y/o girl was an IMPD cop and we was cold busted, spent 6 months in jail on a 3 years sentence and is now on parole. I found out where he works and am trying to get him fired. I contacted the IMPD about his previous contact with my daughters and am trying to get him violated. Also, before I knew about the condition of his probation but after I found out about the affair and contacted his place of employment, I am almost certain I saw him leaving my apartment, in violation of his parole. IMPD is investigating that but my wife swears it didn’t happen.

        Here is the thing about this guy – why in my own house and in my own bed? Why have any contact with my daughters? Why not get a hotel room and leave my girls out of it? I have no sympathy for this scumbag and I want to make him suffer and I will do my utmost to see that happen.

        Thanks for letting me vent and if you want to see the texts, let me know and I’ll email them to you. You have a better idea what I’m going through and the images banging around in my head.


        • Steve, I pulled a paragraph from your last comment because it was inflammatory…and possibly self-incriminating.

          I’m not in a position to judge, but don’t let this turn you into someone your daughters wouldn’t be proud to call Dad. Also, your wife, perfidious as she may have been, is still their mom. You could very plausibly say you need some space and then make a decisive break. The thing is with all of this, when there are kids involved, parental animosity radiates. It affects children; it can’t not. They’re going to feel the consequences, too.

          Also think about what could happen if you ruin a man’s life. I mean, it could really and truly put your kids in harm’s way. We’ve been hit by homeless thieves and a homeless drunk with a vendetta where I live, and I can tell you there’s no defense when someone’s got nothing to lose.

          Seriously, you don’t want your anger to transform you into the bad guy you never were, and it can. I know I’m not the same person I was when this began for me.

          Hateful sex is really ugly. If you hate your wife and can’t ever imagine not hating her, I would urge you to be remote and then leave and file for divorce. I think you should preserve your pride and apologize if you’ve crossed the line. Hang on to your humanity.

          I don’t mean to sound condescending or pontifical—I understand the intensity of your anger and don’t think it’s unwarranted—but no matter what the results of your plans, your wife and kids are people who are going to be in your life, one way or another.—Todd



        • Walter

          July 19, 2015

          You really need to consult with a lawyer. Right or Wrong does not matter. What matters is what can be proved, emails, phone calls to employers, intimate knowledge of someones whereabouts, could be viewed as Harassment and Stalking. I understand the anger part, but you have to think rationally, she could refile an order and screw you over.



          • Steve N

            July 19, 2015

            I know its a risk and everyday I come home, I brace myself but in about two weeks, I’ll be safely in Arkansas.

            I’m emailing churches and schools she has no real connection to but when I’m in Arkansas, I will first of all let her know that I’ve been emailing the evidence I found along with my interpretation of it as far as when the protective order was filed and vacated, what she did to my son and the fact that her boy friend was a sex offender. Then I will start emailing churches and schools and her friends and, most devastating for a Chinese girl, her family.

            As of now, she honestly thinks we are “working on our marriage” and has NO IDEA what is about to hit the fan. I already had my pay direct deposited to another account (I told her, I don’t know why we didn’t get paid last week but I’ll look into it on Tuesday; really I’m seeing a lawyer) and she will have to get a job. She is qualified now as a CNA but she thinks I’ll be supporting her through her LPN and RN. Let her change diapers as a CNA and get her LPN on her own dime!

            She has a rude awakening coming!

            But yes, I am on edge because I know she could refile, I’m aware of that – I just need a few more weeks and my plan for payback will be complete.


            • Steve, there is no “safely in Arkansas.” Please don’t act alone. Get an attorney. I would urge you to desist emailing immediately.

              A restraining order may be petitioned against someone in another state or even another country. If the authorities can find you, they can serve you (possibly even by phone). You would have to completely eliminate your public presence (including Internet), use a false address on your driver’s license, change your phone number and keep the new one private, etc. to avoid service. You would essentially be “on the lam” like a rat clinging to the shadows. That’s the only “safe.” You’re deceived if you believe otherwise. You could lose everything. (It’s conceivable, for example, that while you were lying low, a default judgment on a divorce degree that granted your wife exclusive entitlement to joint properties and sole custody of the kids could be entered because you weren’t there to contest it.)

              Trust me as someone who’s appealed broadly for help to end a vicious fraud, the inclination of others is to distrust you and assume your report of wrongdoing is a sign of malicious fixation. Whatever is discounted by a court will most certainly be discounted by others. I’ve heard of horrors done to people that are fully supported by family members. I’ve heard of the son of a pastor knocking up a naïve girl, playing yo-yo with her affections, and then accusing her of instability to obtain custody of her baby. The pastor was totally cool with it and probably reassured himself the angels were with him.

              (Chinese people don’t like scandal, but they’re also very practical. If you could be cleaned out and forced to pay alimony and child support, besides, I think the family would get over the “shame.”)

              If you’re going to make a break, just make your break. That alone will confound the family. If you act cruelly instead of simply rejecting your wife for what she did, I really believe it will only work against you.

              If you need to “prove” something, prove it to a judge and get a ruling. People trust rulings; they don’t trust emails.

              I firmly believe your best course would be to act under the guidance of a divorce lawyer. Your brain is inflamed because of your wife’s treachery. Take some time out of your day and sit and do some deep breathing. Cool yourself down, and act deliberately and wisely. That’s the advice of someone who’s dealt with a pack of sickos for 10 years and who’s been in and out of multiple procedures.



              • Anonymous

                July 20, 2015

                I have to agree with the Moderator here…I am a living example of being served with a henious Temp Protective Order full of really slanderous false accusations. I’ll try to be brief…in early April of last year, my youngest Daughter (whom I will henceforth refer to as a mere offspring, just like her siblings, as she nor they clearly do not want to identify as my Children anymore) took the necessary steps to have a TPO placed against me citing sexual assault and stalking. Both of the claims are completely false, and based only on the rather tall tale she told the Sheriff’s Department, as well as a Judge, in the county in which she was attending school (which I was paying for) at the time…some 700 miles and 3 states away from me. The TPO was granted…thankfully, it never went past the “Temporary” phase, however it did last until the final hearing in November of this past year, at which time the same Judge who issued it dismissed it, as my youngest offspring didn’t even show up for this hearing.

                My point is to agree as “violently” as I can with the Moderator…there is NO ‘SAFE”…as much as it goes completely against anyone’s sense of Justice, and certainly (and very understandably) against your sense of pride and “righting a wrong”, based on my own experience it is just not worth the pain, effort, and MOUNTAINS of dollars it would take to wage the campaign you are speaking of…not to mention that this campaign, IMO, is VERY likely to end badly for you.

                In my case, the three offspring that I loved more than myself as my only biological children on this earth have completely estranged themselves, and proven themselves very willing to cause me and my household grave and irrepairable harm under the influence of their evil, monster mother. I have “turned my face from them”, and will not interface with them on anything other than my own terms…to be honest, I am currently unsure if any terms are definable for me to take that risk…EVER AGAIN…with three now-young-adult offspring that I supported in every way up until this extremely abrubt, and very shocking, behavior manifested just over a year ago.

                Don’t do it, Steve…I implore you to cut your losses as best you can, cut off all ties with this monster in your life, and go make yourself happy elsewhere.



                • SteveN

                  July 20, 2015

                  Todd and Anonymous, thank you both for your comments.

                  I’m basically taking”half” your advice. Tomorrow I have a consultation setup with the lawyer who represented m two years ago when all this ex-parte nonsense started. I have also decided to (temporarily!) stop “scatter-shot” emailing the texts I found but only because it could effect my divorce case. I fully intend to start that campaign again in the future. So that’s the half of the advice I’m taking.

                  The half I’m not taking – my wife still thinks we are “working things out” and she expects that I will be here to watch the kids for the Fall semester and support her while she finishes her LPN. That’s NOT happening of course and come August, I’m packing up and leaving without any notice, which will really pull the rug out from under her. Also I still want the divorce papers to be served the very day I leave, if at all possible. I still won’t give her a penny, until ordered to by the court to do so, which could take a few months. She has now finished two semesters in her nursing program so she is eligible to be a CNA. Let her change diapers as a CNA while she is working on her LPN on her own dime!

                  So how is that for a compromise?

                  You know, she is sitting right next to me and we are smiling back and forth all lovey-dovey.
                  She has no idea what’s coming!



                  • Anonymous

                    July 21, 2015

                    Others may disagree, but I don’t see this as “taking half the advice”, other than resuming the “campaign” in the future…however, I am NOT trying to be judgemental here…this is for YOU to decide, and I certainly wish you the best in all you endeavor to do, Steve!!

                    Insofar as your second (or maybe third?) paragraph is concerned…that is, more or less, what I meant by “cut off all ties” with this monster in your life…get the “ducks in a row”, then execute, and DON’T LOOK BACK!! I know you already know this, but I’m gonna say it anyway…you are retaining the Attorney FOR A REASON…listen, CLOSELY, to his or her advice so you are able to make an informed decision!!

                    I cannot sufficiently articulate how much I empathize with you Steve…

                    BEST WISHES!!



                  • Anonymous

                    July 21, 2015

                    Steve – for clarity, I see your response as taking more than “half” of the “advice”!!


  20. If a girl gets a restraining order against her exboyfriend. What happens if they are both employed by the same person and work at the same place?

    Also what if you are denied working at a place you applied to because you have a restraining order against another person that applied. They decide to hire him because he has influence. But because you made this and they want to hire him. Are they and lower not to keep you. Or even if they hire you, fire you?

    You didn’t have a lot of Job related things when it came to restraining orders.



    • Walter

      July 16, 2015

      It would depend on the employer, the size of the company, etc. There are too many dynamics involved. If it is a large company, or a mom and pop type place will have an impact.


    • In instances I’ve been told about, K., the person who was accused usually quits sooner than face the looks and whispers. In one case, the accuser, besides obtaining a restraining order, also filed a complaint with human resources, alleging sexual harassment. He showed the HR person a “lewd picture” that was actually a pre-op pic taken of a woman with cancer. He represented the picture as a “sext.” He was a sociopath. She had to appear in court days after major surgery (and lost). She never went back to the job. A recent comment was from a man who was falsely accused of rape by a female coworker (on a restraining order petition). They had consensual sex at her house; she accused him of raping her and planting a kiss on the back of her neck at work. From what I could gather, he either left voluntarily or was forced to resign.

      It’s possible the court would make allowances. I’m uncertain whether the employer would (or would have to).

      In your case, you may have grounds to sue, but it might be tough to prove that the reason the guy was preferred over you was because you got a restraining order against him. If you were hired and then fired, you might have grounds to sue for wrongful termination or to register a complaint (there’s a link on the page above for filing a complaint against an employer).


  21. If I’m in a public place already and someone with a restraining order against me walks in does that mean that I have to leave if I was there before them? Especially if it isn’t a place listed as one that I’m not allowed to go to on the restraining order.


    • Essentially, yes.


    • 1. You have a court order that says you’re supposed to “keep away” from somebody.

      2. The only person who knows that is the person you’re supposed to keep away from.

      3. If you encounter this person, there’s no one to arrest you for not keeping away, but the person could be inspired to call the police, and the person can spin any yarn s/he wants. S/he can also say later that you followed him or her to the spot (“He follows me everywhere!”).

      4. There’s no telling how police would react, either, if you were “caught” in the vicinity of the complainant. That’s why most advice (including from judges) is “leave immediately.”



    • Walter

      June 29, 2015

      Your best bet is to leave, If you are at a restaurant in the middle of a meal when the person walks in, that could be tricky. Just keep something in mind, they could say you were stalking them and you knew they were going to be at that place. Personally, barring very limited circumstances, I would leave as soon as I saw she/he enter.



  22. Walter

    June 26, 2015

    From my Laywer today.

    “I just received an email from Ms. C’s attorney that more of your property was found, so we need to arrange for a way for you to get it. It would be best if you did not have any direct contact with Ms. C or go to her home. Please let me know how you wish to proceed.

    Thank you,”

    This came from my Lawyers office today. I don’t know how people can even type this kind of email with a straight face. I basically replied by saying, ask her for a list of items and we can go from there. How the heck do I know what else she found (after 8 months), that would be so important that she had to contact her Lawyer to contact my Lawyer, to retrieve the items?

    The reasoning is this: If I didn’t care enough to request any missing items/property, why is she suddenly finding things that are mine? And no it is not the old, you left a CD at my house come get it crap, I am actually curious, but leery of this.

    I sense this is some kind of trap. Only because it makes no freaking sense. This is what even a dismissed order does to you.


    • Does the lawyer-to-lawyer stuff cost money?

      You’d think if nothing were heavy, she’d just mail it. But maybe she’s worried about how that might be represented or how you would react.

      All of this because someone invited the state to poke its nose in.



      • Walter

        June 29, 2015

        I don’t think they will charge me for this kind of stuff, I really did overpay this firm to cover everything. I literally live a couple blocks away from my ex, in the same town. We do not frequent the same places and there is really no reason for either of us to even go by each others residences. I really have no idea what else of mine she may have found. To be honest, there are a couple neighbors that she could easily ask to bring whatever it is to me. That being said, considering that the TRO she filed against me was so absurd, it never should have been granted, she may have been advised against using a third party to deliver items.

        All I can do is wait on a list of the items. My original thought was like yours, why not just mail them. Her Lawyers office is also about 2 blocks away, so why doesn’t the lawyer just bring them by? It is laughable because at some point a third party will have to be involved anyway. More of a mystery of what she may have found.


        • You’re not under any court prohibitions now, right? I’ll tell you, my accuser, who has maintained I’m crazy, she’s terrified, etc. for many years—this person signals this blog every day. Every single day. She’s under no court order or anything else. I am. She expects me to email her after trashing nine years of my life, and she expects me to do it in violation of a court order. She signals she wants to make a “deal.”

          I think people who play these games love the whole passive-aggressive thrill when they’re on top, and then they get shy.

          It does sound like a ploy to touch base.



          • Walter

            June 30, 2015

            A short tangent, 20+ years ago I was with this girl/woman. We lived together for a while, we got engaged and everything seemed fine. While we were dating I started to notice some quirks in her. Nothing serious, but we had a common circle of friends, and she would lie to me about stupid things and insist the rest of the world was against her. The hot dog incident was perhaps the most perplexing. When we first moved in together I went grocery shopping and bought amongst other things 2 packages of hot dogs. At this time I was working full time, going to college full time, in the National Guard and also in ROTC. So I didn’t have much free time and my schedule was pretty hectic, but set. So back to the hot dogs, we opened a package and had a couple of hot dogs, no big deal, 2 days later I came home from work and had to get ready to go to classes. I open the fridge, and the other package of hot dogs is also open. Out of curiosity, I say ‘Tanya’ why didn’t you just use the open pack of hot dogs (it wasn’t a big deal, any answer would have been ok with me except for the one she gave),

            She didn’t open the Hot Dogs, someone must have come into the apartment, cooked the hot dogs and left. She suggested it was the building security guard who I knew well. I look around, and I am thinking someone came in here cooked 4 hot dogs, found the buns (we had a bread basket drawer) ate the hot dogs cleaned up after themselves and left? I look in the garbage pail, I find a ripped up letter to her, a few other items that should not be in the garbage (a silver dollar I had left on the counter) etc. The ripped up letter did not have a stamp or post mark on it, but she insisted it was mailed. Back then I was pretty anal I reconstructed the envelope, and most of the letter. She still insisted no one was there, and it had to be a mysterious intruder. That relationship ended several months later, she had quit her job and stopped going to classes (we went to the same school). I never knew. I was pretty much gone 12-14 hours a day, and 1-2 weekends a month was devoted to the Guard and ROTC.

            I can’t tell you how many nights I slept on the bathroom floor because this chick would go full blown pyschotic on me (only room I could lock). To make this even better, she was not going to classes, but making up stuff to do at the apartment to make it look like she was going. She moved out and told her parents I was abusive, I threw a pillow at her once, she was 5’2″ maybe 130lbs, I am 6’3″ at that time about 230lbs. I told her parents if I ever hit your daughter, she would be in the ER. Did I leave out she told me she was pregnant and it was mine, and had an abortion shortly afterwards when she realized they would do a blood test. So by now you might be wondering what is this all about. After she stopped doing drugs (which you may have surmised) she calls me out of the blue and says she is sorry and I am the only responsible boyfriend she ever had. It was a very strange conversation.

            About 10 years later she shows up on my facebook people you might know. I sent her a message, basically saying hey how are you doing, I am living here now, blah blah blah. She goes on a tirade, I was abusive, I beat her, she filed a Restraining Order against me, None of which ever happened. In Connecticut it is very easy to look this up as they keep an online database. She did all of this to keep a lie going. She could have stopped at any point. You cannot reason with people like that. She was the victim, and had to remain the victim.

            It is the same thing with my current situation, without the excess drama. The lies are there, but her wild accusation is I texted her (That I was going to tell her Mom) at 5pm on a Thursday or something. When people tell lies, when they live for attention, they do not know what to do when they are caught, it is not about us, it is about them. When it takes her Lawyer to tell her you can bring in anything you want, but you will not get a (permanent) restraining order, it kind of makes me feel better.

            I agree it is some type of ploy. Whether she thinks she can get me to drive by or contact her, so she can say see, he is stalking me!!! Maybe she is moving and found stuff, but I have no idea what. She was pretty thorough with everything. Basically it is stress I do not need.


            • Right after your comment, a man named Brian submitted this: “Going through something similar here…my court date is coming July 20. Has your ex been diagnosed with BPD? And if so did it have no relevance in the courts eyes?? I have come to the philosophy that my sanity is actually worth something so I will just sign the house over and walk away….”

              I’ve read some explications that say certain types of psychos are attracted to tolerant people. Victims of process I’ve talked to will recall some other person in their history that was like the person they’re dealing with now. Honestly, I think a lot of targets of procedural abuse are targets because they’re the opposite of what they’re represented to be. They can be falsely accused safely.

              So the woman who’s making overtures now got a temporary order against you, but the thing was never finalized?



              • Walter

                July 2, 2015

                It was never finalized, the order was dismissed, we agreed to a civil agreement. It has been almost a week since the email and still no reply, so it does not add up.

                At first I was curious but now I don’t care.

                To Brian, that is your best bet. Just walk away. You can’t win, I have a friend spending an insane amount of money in a divorce, to prove a point, and he already lost. He is just making it last longer.



                • Walter

                  July 10, 2015

                  This has been a game, it has been 2 weeks(+) without a response to the list of property request. There is something wrong with me, because I would just say, hey I found A, B, and C, do you want it. I would not say hey my Lawyer I found some property, send an email to his lawyer and see if he wants whatever it may be?


                  • I think accusers get swept up when they’re making their accusations and then they’re apprehensive of the court when the dust settles.

                    Could she feel guilty? The simple thing would be to box everything up and put it in the dumpster.

                    (I’ve been dealing with a disturbed woman for years. She signals to me every day that she wants me to email her (in violation of an order of the court). Every day. She signals she wants to “make a deal.”)



              • Steve N

                July 16, 2015

                Why would anybody just sign a house over and walk away? I’m going make my wife suffer as much financial pain as I can legally bring to bear! I guess I’m just not the “bigger man” type. I’m out for some major payback.


  23. Would a letter of intent to sue (for both negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress) be illegal to send a petitioner that has a “no contact” ex parte order against me?


    • Yes. If you instigated a procedure (filed with the court), the defendant would have to be notified (served), but anything else is probably unlawful contact. Even messages communicated by/through attorneys are represented as unlawful contact.



      • Walter

        June 22, 2015

        There are some really crazy scenarios that unfold. If the messages are frivilous, then the attorney should not forward them, if they involve obtaining possessions from a residence or are otherwise required not so much. A letter of intent to sue could be considered as harassment if you have no intent to sue.

        Chances are it is a bad idea. I know when it first happens it is easy to get the idea that this is wrong, I can prove this was a vindictive action, etc. But the reality is, it does not work that way.


        • What infuriates me is that false/frivolous reports to the police are criminal harassment (in my state, anyhow). This part of the statute is ignored. It’s just Twinkie filling.


    • Safe would be just filing your lawsuit, Nick. The problem is if a judge rejected the grounds, you could end up being forced to pay the defendant’s costs. Fraudulent accusers, furthermore, will actually allege (and persuasively) that your lawsuit for infliction of emotional distress is a further act of harassment.

      I was last in court in 2013. My false accuser, who had been lying for seven years to all and sundry like a fart factory, testified that a psychiatrist had diagnosed her with PTSD. She was the victim of emotional distress.

      Get it?

      I don’t want to discourage you, only to make you aware of how the play is directed.

      If the statutes of limitation on the torts you allege haven’t flown, your suit should properly proceed to trial (if you wanted a jury, you would have to request one). Another consideration is whether your accuser would be represented. If not, then s/he may not have the least idea how to even respond to the summons.

      There are a lot of factors to weigh.


      • I see. The thing is, I would have two doctors vouching for me for this, and he would not be able to get an attorney.

        I also cannot thank you enough for the advice to acquire the affidavit the petitioner filed.

        In my state, there is a optional “Risk Assessment Form” that you can fill out when filing for a protective order. However, at the top, it plainly states that said for would be given to the respondent at the OF service.

        The county sheriff did not include this in the paperwork I received. I’ve been to court twice so far. The first time, I pointed this out to the judge. Even he was surprised that this had happened.

        He simply turned to the petitioner and said that I did have the right to know fully what was being alleged against me. I had also submitted a written request for a continuance with the court. Apparently, to have the time to hire an attorney, I didn’t even need to do this. The petitioner came to court dressed a bit too casual, and actually rolled his eyes while I was speaking. All the judge allowed him to say was if a court date, two weeks from that day, would work for him. Immediately after this case, I went to see an attorney who I had talked with some earlier, and hired him to represent me throughout this.

        I was able to file my own order against the petitioner. An Ex Parte was not issued, but a court date was scheduled. The judge and my attorney both agreed that the two petitions should be heard together, so they gave him his service papers right outside the courtroom. It is now continued until another date.

        My order is not as strong, but my attorney said it does help to hopefully get this dropped. I am more than prepared if it isn’t. The petitioner had filed that I was his “ex”…. Ironically, when I told him we were never a couple in the past, he was beyond pissed.


        • Good!

          It’s fascinating how differently these things play out when it’s not a woman accusing a man.

          Yeah, you have the right idea. Even a “lawsuit” might only be a way of coercing this guy to negotiate. You see why this process is so maddening. Anyone can stroll in off the street, file some accusations for free, and the accused has to consider appeals, lawsuits, etc. just to make a liar or an attention-seeker reconsider.


  24. I think it’s okay- it didn’t turn up when I searched; thanks so much for fixing that for me; I only set up that blog as a companion piece to an article I wrote and never looked back. If you read it I’m sure you noticed that I went to law school. I am non-practicing though due to severe illness of an indeterminate length (chronic pancreatitis), and my specialty was intellectual property. I have had a hard time with this situation with my brother because I can’t advise him except as his sister. Plus, I am not familiar with his state’s laws or practices. I have found your blog very enlightening. I had no idea that POs were so easy to abuse. When discussing your blog with my husband he said he wasn’t surprised; that there have been numerous social experiments conducted concerning the misconceptions around gender-based notions and domestic abuse. He told me about videos that can be googled where a fake fight ensues on a busy street- when the guy puffs up and shouts lots of people try to “rescue” the girl; when the girl slaps the guy in the face lookers cheer, jeer, and say stuff like “you go girl.” It’s so messed up; I was taught that it was never okay to be violent (gender didn’t figure into it).


    • I hope you’re on the road to recovery. I’m sorry this has interfered with your realizing your ambitions. Have you investigated dietary therapies?

      If your husband has any links to those social experiments, I’d be curious to read them, though I’m sure I’d just nod.

      Here’s another thought from something I read today: “Although it is not all that common I have seen it done where an issue with a particular public defender is brought to the attention of the supervisor or head PD and a new PD is assigned to the case” (?).

      Consider this, too, E.:


      • Yeah, nix that. I guess a “non-lawyer agent” only flies in Canada.

        Getting the PD changed, though, is still an option.


    • You (or another) could incidentally fill out or type up a Motion to Continue and deliver it to the court. All your brother would need to do is sign it.


  25. Thanks for your replies. It’s confusing, but he did not violate an existing PO. It arose from an unwitnessed accusation and criminal charges were filed at the same time, based SOLELY on the alleged victims statements and the two questions officers posed to the person who now sits in jail. It turns out, that all he had to do was write a letter himself to the court house, stating he wanted to appeal. By the time a new date is scheduled he should have representation.


    • This still links to your blog, E. Is that cool? I don’t think it’s detectable by search bots.


    • I just came across this comment by the California courts, which might be something to bear in mind:

      “IMPORTANT! If you also have a criminal case related to the abuse or violence in this case, it is very important you talk to a lawyer. Anything you say or write in the domestic violence restraining order case can be used against you in your criminal case.”



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