A Primer on Restraining Orders

Before I say anything, I want to be clear that I am not a lawyer and nothing in this post should be considered any sort of legal advice. That said, I know a little bit about restraining orders and what they are and aren’t good for and I thought I might write a bit about it.

What Restraining Orders Won’t Do

First and most importantly, restraining orders aren’t going to protect you from outright psychotics. People who want to cause you serious harm aren’t likely to be dissuaded by a piece of paper telling him (or her) to stay away from you. The best thing to do there is hide, arm yourself, or contact the police if they manage to do anything illegal.

Secondly, if you’re looking for something to keep someone from contacting you, except when you contact them, restraining orders won’t help you. Restraining orders clearly state that no contact is allowed. If you get a restraining order against someone and then you call and invite them over, they are violating the restraining order. Restraining orders aren’t for dealing with people on your own terms. They’re for no longer having to deal with people at all.

What Restraining Orders Do

Some people don’t get the hint and won’t leave you alone. They’ll harass you with texts, phone calls, and emails. They may threaten you. They may just refuse to go away. If you’ve tried everything else, then perhaps a restraining order might help.

The best thing that a restraining order does is put a final nail in the coffin of a relationship. Sometimes you know it’s over and your formerly significant other refuses to believe it. A restraining order says it’s over in a big way. This isn’t for just someone who wants you back. It’s for the kind or person who wants you, no one else, and/or doesn’t want anyone else to have you. Ever. It’s for that person you’ll likely refer to as ‘my crazy ex’ when you tell stories about them later.

What a restraining order does is restrict any form of contact directly or through others. Technically if you see the other person and you feel fearful, they’ve just violated the restraining order. It makes it illegal for this person to contact you for a certain amount of time.

What To Do If You’re Served With A Restraining Order

Not everyone who gets served with a restraining order is a violent sociopath. Paranoid people will often request restraining orders and get them. It just depends on the circumstances. So let’s say you’ve been served with a restraining order. Not good, but you can deal with it. Here’s how.

Assuming you’re not going to talk to a lawyer (which you probably should), when you go to the hearing, ask that the restraining order be made mutual. This means that you’ve effectively got one against them too. This eliminates the possibility of the situation described above where you’re invited over and then you’ve violated the restraining order. Making the restraining order mutual is just common sense, but it’s something you have to ask for.

Georgia Gunzer

Georgia Gunzer was killed almost a week ago. She had asked for a restraining order and was denied. She felt the only thing to do at that point was try to get along with the guy. Unfortunately, it was this decision that would allow her killer access to her. If the restraining order had been in place, would Georgia Gunzer be alive today? Maybe. I don’t know. I’m not sure if her killer was the sort to take a hint or perhaps he would have gone after her anyway. Regardless of whether or not it would have stopped her death, it’s very clear that she should have been able to get the restraining order. If only because it’s the safer thing to do.

If you have someone in your life who won’t leave you alone and might be dangerous to you or your family, you should probably look at getting a restraining order. It might not stop everyone, but it makes it that much harder for them to get to you.

 

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2 responses to “A Primer on Restraining Orders

  1. Well I hope the judge is happy about his decision denying the restraining order. I mean really what does it take I know people that have been granted a restraining order because their ex has called and harassed them and they have not even been in jail! Sometimes single people try to keep peace with the enemy so they will not bother them! Or if you have kids with them! Whatever the reason NO One in this day and age should be denied a restraining order! I hope the judge is happy!! Georgia was a beautiful person!!!

  2. What about a man who gets a restraining order against his same sex partner of twenty two years who has spent the last three years of his life cleaning that man’s uncle’s feces up to six times per day? What about the fact that he got the restraining order using the uncles power of attorney who happens to be a litigator? Now, here’s the umph in the story, what if that person got a restraining order so that I would not tell his uncle’s power of attorney that he had been forging his uncle’s checks to buy pills on the street to fuel his opiate addiction. Now what? My life is ruined. I probably will wind up sleeping in my car and I’ve not done anything but the right thing. So, fast forward a few months; for that’s what it took for me to file a small claims case to get the rest of my belongings conveniently given to me by the lawyer one day prior to the court date, when I inform the uncle’s attorney of the allegations of elder abuse and she does NOTHING. Now, I’ve had to contact the District Attorney of Plymouth County in Massachusetts to intervene. What about people who manipulate the system to their own end? The granting of restraining orders are illegal. They circumvent our rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and those of the states in which we live. Their has to be some way to protect innocent people from abuse while protecting innocent people who are accused of abuse. Period, end of story.

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