Restraining Order Q & A

DISCLAIMER: This page, which attempts to answer frequently asked questions, 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.
  6. Consult this post for a basic defense orientation. See this page for definitions of terms that may be unfamiliar to you.

*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.

“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 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 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 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 drop the restraining order in lieu of litigation or with filing a lawsuit with the Superior Court alleging fraud, etc. 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 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 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).

“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 police, however, the plaintiff can return 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 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

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

“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

792 Responses “Restraining Order Q & A” →

  1. max blake

    February 27, 2015

    I’ll get it done… not a problem… thanks


  2. Max Blake

    February 26, 2015

    ill email it to you ,,,

    • Look for a low-cost copy shop, Max. There’s one where I live that charges a quarter for the first scan and three cents for every one after the first. Don’t go to Kinko’s! You’ll pay as much as a cheap scanner would cost.


  3. Max Blake

    February 26, 2015

    give me an address to mail you the all the info.


  4. Max Blake

    February 26, 2015

    I have no problem being posted,,, my story being posted… then more that read about it the better


  5. Max Blake

    February 26, 2015

    Well maybe combat was the wrong word… in your response to her you pointed out of the harm false PFA can do to accused …. I think my case can easily support the harm it can cause….

    • I’m sure of it. I just reread her comment and noticed she wanted me to write a post and not host one that she wrote. Wanna be a post?


  6. Max Blake

    February 26, 2015

    If you give me your mailing address I’ll send you my court transcript that goes straight to combat Dr. Balwin /Bolwin …whatever her name was… This is Max Blake…

    • I don’t follow. Combat what?

      If you want to email, just convert the transcript to a PDF (use a scanner or look for a low-cost print shop).

  7. Hi, my name is Dr. Regina M, Baldwin. I am in the process of launching a nonprofit ministry that deals with domestic violence. As a counselor I do a lot of work in high conflict divorce, parental alienation, custody evaluations and am also a survivor (I think to think in terms of thriving not surviving) of extreme domestic violence, child abuse, etc. and abuse by the system. Your website is AWESOME and with your permission I would like to provide a direct link to this site on my menu. Take a look at and You can reach me via email or phone posted on the website.

    Thank you for all the information you have provided and all the work you have done putting this site together. I’m not a tech savvy person but now personally know how much work is involved putting a site together. I would love you to guest write a blog on my blog site.

    The old one crashed with over 57,000 visitors so I am just reposting everything.

    Dr. Gia

    I would also like to post a link to this site on a few forums I am involved with.

    • You’re very welcome in both senses, Dr. Gia. I’ll try to familiarize myself with your endeavors later today and reply to you less hurriedly tomorrow.

    • Apologies, Dr. Gia. Responses here always necessarily lag a little. It looks like you’ve put your websites together from scratch. I feel your pain! The cherry blossoms are lovely, though. You’ve done a beautiful job.

      You’re absolutely welcome to post links to this site, and I’d be glad to post copy you send. I don’t think we’re at cross-purposes. I’m sympathetic to all forms of torment, and I don’t have any illusions about what people are capable of doing to one other.

      The main stress here is that falsely alleging abuse is abuse, and it can be extremely abusive. Sympathy for victims of fists is broad and expected, but sympathy for (or even awareness of) victims of falsehoods is almost none. That’s why those victims’ travails are emphasized.

      Often they’re victimized once by the people who accuse them (including, in cases, violently), and then they’re victimized a second time by the courts; and the latter form of abuse is always said to be worse. It runs totally contrary to PC dogma, which holds that blows are always worse than words. But I’ve heard from people who’ve been abused by both, and it’s always the wounds of legal frauds and bullying that gnaw more. Those wounds can’t heal; they’re branded on.

      I’m certain that if you’re dealing with parties to high-conflict divorces and targets of parental alienation, then you’re very aware of what I’m talking about. Probably painfully aware. I just wanted to clarify that the orientation of the blog is against procedural abuses and that its position is that procedural abuses are a lot more common than many want to admit. So the phrase domestic violence is always a somewhat suspect term, or, to put it a different way, always a more inclusive one. Aaron’s story here, for example, is a case that exemplifies why (and he’s someone you may be interested in talking with):

      A common topic here is character disorders, and that’s one that probably also falls in your area of experience and expertise.

      I’m not a member of a religious denomination, but my feeling is that mediation and counseling of the kinds you offer is infinitely preferable to court combat, which is never healing or constructive. I think yours isn’t only a valuable service; I think it’s the only valuable service. Court procedures are always contests, and I’ve never (ever) heard of one resolving anything. I believe they break much more than they mend.

      I think, in short, that they’re conceptually (and dangerously) flawed.

      I know from reading many people’s accounts that actual violence and false allegations of violence often go together. Interpersonal conflict is messy; people lash out with whatever means are at their disposal. So pretty much any subject on that spectrum you wanted to write about would be a welcomed commentary.

      What I would do is lightly proofread your text and put an introductory paragraph on it if one is needed.

      P.S. There’s a very warm and dedicated woman named Melissa Harvey whom I’ve corresponded and talked with who’s also just launched a nonprofit to provide legal aid to people who’ve been violated either by family violence or by false accusations of violence. She’s someone you might want to connect with. She’s in Georgia. I think you’d like her—you’d have a hard time not to—and you may have a lot in common. Her 501(c) is here:

    • I just responded to someone else about your comment and noticed you were inviting writing.

      Sure, I could do that with some guidance.

  8. The temporary restraining order was extended for 6 months, except, I have never been served, the order was lost on a clerks desk. It has been 4 months. Is it nullified?

    • There’s no telling. You’re talking about bureaucracy. I would speculate it was vacated, but I’d consider finding out more if I were you. Get a confirmation in print that you can hand to someone in a uniform if the need arises.

    • How did you know the order was extend by 6 months, if you were not served?

      If someone just says they have an order against you it is one thing, if you were actually in a Court Room in front of a Judge it is a different thing. You could probably go to the court house and ask, or even the local police department.

  9. When my order expired does the cout send any thing out to me and my ex? What’s the procedure?

    • None, as far as I know. There may be a protocol for notifying certain people when violent offenders are released from prison, but nothing special happens when a court injunction expires. These court orders are just admonitions (warnings).

  10. So i have a restraining order against my ex. I moved up to Washington and he’s still in Arizona. I found a box of his stuff; If i mail him back his stuff with a note can I get in trouble? The order is not up until august of this year.

    • I don’t see any problems with returning his possessions. I would leave out the note.

      If they are not important (i.e. passport, legal documents, etc) I would wait. Not because you could get in trouble, but it might cause him to respond. If he responds it could get him in trouble.

      Or just send it to him anonymously, no return address, no note.

      • How could he get in trouble? I mean we are in two different states. If i included a note could he take it into the court and try to get the order dismissed? I know my attorney said ‘formally’ I couldn’t get in trouble it would just look bad.

        • Every situation is different. There was a case were a woman invited a person she had a restraining order against to a party. He accepted, and they got into an argument. She had him arrested. She was arrested as well, but her case was dismissed.

          Even if you initiate the contact, and he replies, he would be violating the order. It really depends on the Judge as to how it is seen. I don’t know what else to say. If he replies to a note, he violates the order.

          No one can say what will happen. If you are sincere and just want to send him a note, you are correct he can’t get in trouble, but if he replies and you do not like the reply, you can say he violated the order.

          Once an order is enforced, figure the relationship is over. Yes people do reconcile, but for one party there is a weight over their head. He is Several States away, if you want to send him his stuff back that is nice, but why lure him in?

          And a note will mean nothing. How do they know you wrote it? Even if they believed him, you would have to be present to have an order dismissed.

    • I don’t know what the grounds would be for getting in trouble, Kristin, but I hesitate to say anything conclusive when it comes to this business. A lawyer might be able to give you a categorical answer. Otherwise I suppose you could consider mailing back the stuff without a note, like Walter suggests.

      Bear in mind, though, that if you send your ex a parcel, it will have a postmark on it that identifies where you are. If that’s no biggie, you could consider going to a UPS Store and saying you’d just like the return address to say “UPS Store,” and send it that way. You could probably insure the package, too, if there are valuables.

      You decided against vacating the order?

      • I had contemplated for a long time if dropping the order was the right thing to do, seeing as how we are in two different states now. The only way he would come back to Washington anytime soon would be with the army.

        However, considering he was suppose to go to drill sergeant school in January and leave Arizona this month I have a feeling he’s not 100% over it and if he were contact me I don’t think i”m ready for what he would say. From what I found out his military career took a big hit and delay.

  11. Please help me with an answer! 2 years ago I got a permanent protection order against someone but I lied about them and said they were abusive (I was 18 years old). A few months ago I had the protection order removed but I did not confess that I lied. Now I want to go to the court to confess that I lied so that the “victim’s” record can be cleared. What will happen to me? Will I go to jail–how long?

    • It’s touching that you’d do this in spite of fearing a prison term. For starters, I’ve personally never heard of perjury charges being brought against someone who lied on a protection order petition. I’m not saying it’s never happened, but I’ve never heard of it.

      What did you say to have the protection order removed, and how did the procedure work, Jex?

    • I don’t think you will do any time in jail, but without a lawyer I am not sure how you could get a hearing since the order was removed. It is possible to have the record sealed or expunged, it would really depend on the Judge, from what I have read both parties would need to be present (with lawyers) if possible.

      Here is the thing, and why this is a difficult subject. The court and the Judge look at it like this, even if you lied, the person you filed the order against had to be evil to make you lie to get the order. It is kind of a circular reasoning.

      I would look up lawyers that specialize in these matters, you never know if you tell them what you posted here, one might be willing to help you for free (it is an unusual turn of events).

    • Here’s how things get tricky, Jex. Court procedure is a game. Reason, justice, and sense take a back seat to rules. If you lie about someone and frame him for a crime, even for rape or murder, and then later on you say, “Hey, I lied!,” your confession may or may not be admissible. In other words, some guy could go to jail for 20 years or even be executed while the victim or key witness is saying, “Hey, assh*les, I lied!” There are legal beagles who’ll shake their heads all regretful while an innocent is killed because this game we made has “rules.”

      So even though you want to do the right thing, the court has already formed its rulings. Having those rulings “erased” isn’t as easy as confessing.

      I’m not an attorney and have no legal qualifications whatever, so I can’t give you legal counsel, but you could talk to an attorney about (1) filing a motion for a new trial or filing a motion for vacation/expungement of the order based on new evidence (namely, your confession), or (2) filing a nunc pro tunc motion requesting that the court’s rulings in this matter be vacated/expunged. To the best of my understanding, this would be relatively simple since the matter was dismissed and you (the “victim”) are cooperative. A lawyer would know best, though, and may know of a simpler way to go. Laws and methods, to complicate matters more, are different in every state.

      Vacated, by the way, means “voided out”; expunged means purged from public record; and a motion is just a request to the court that it do something (like the motion to dismiss you filed a couple of months ago).

      It’s possible you could move the court to vacate/expunge the order without a lawyer’s help, but with a lawyer’s help would be much easier.

      I could only conjecture on what would happen if you called the prosecutor’s office and admitted you lied. In my experience, that office is useless. My guess would be they would turn you away or tell you to get a lawyer.

      It’s possible you could go to the courthouse, as you did recently, and file a motion to vacate/expunge the protection order. You could tell the judge you made the whole thing up and that you want to remove the traces of your lie from the defendant’s record. That’s not what a lawyer would recommend, I don’t think, and I’m not recommending you do that, either, but it may be possible.

      The truth is no one anywhere tells you how to own up to having lied in court. There’s a whole lot of lying in the law, and the rule is: Admit nothing.

      The advice of lawyers and criminals is the same: “Shut up, dummy, and be glad you weren’t caught.” I’ve found that lawyers and criminals are often indistinguishable.


  12. Barry Bone Rubin

    February 12, 2015

    I am a victim of domestic violence and I have a temporary restraining order in effect until my court date to permintaly put it in for a ex girlfriend is choosing to break our which still has 11 she still legally bound to the lease n her portion of the rent? She is refusing to pay it due to the fact her current living situation is at her friends house n she has to pay rent there also

    • I would imagine if the genders were reversed, you would absolutely be required to provide maintenance and support (financial). How you can “force” your ex to pay her rent is something you may have to consult an attorney about or return to the judge for help with. I know these kinds of anticipated money issues are often part of rulings. She can’t properly communicate with you, so you can’t properly communicate with her, and plainly she’s not going to have an urgent motive to shell out for someplace she doesn’t live.

      • In a perfect world, since she is on the lease, she is responsible for her share of the rent, but I doubt many landlords would look at it that way (they do not know what agreement you may have had with her, they only care about getting the rent money). If the roles were reversed, I would bet a Judge would look at breaking the lease as spiteful or further abuse (meaning you would have to pay the rent), I would be interested to see the outcome of your case. If you can’t afford the rent on your own, (and were evicted) both of you legally would be liable, it would affect both of your credit scores and would show up on a background check. (if evicted, it could make it that much harder to rent another apartment and might require a larger security deposit, if they would rent to you at all)

        As Mod said, no one can force her to pay, A lawyer is definitely a good idea, he could point out the ramifications of her breaking the lease.

  13. Does an order of protection still come up on a background check if it was dropped before the expiration date? If i don’t drop it how long does it show for?

    If i decide to drop the order against my ex what does the court send him?

    • From what I understand and depending on the State, even a Temporary Order can show up on a background check. A final Order will always show up on a check (in NJ). Now in NJ if a temporary order is dismissed you are given 2 copies of the dismissal and you need to bring one to the local police department so they can keep it on file, the court keeps a copy on file, and the person keeps a copy.

      I imagine if you want to rescind the order against him it will most likely show up on a background check (based on NJ law a final order requires the defendant to be fingerprinted and it is put in a permanent file). My bet is if you go ahead and have the order dismissed he would be notified by the court and have to do something similar insofar as keeping a copy on him and giving a copy to authorities.

      What is a shame, is that many people think a protection/restraining order only keeps that person from contacting them, but it is a quasi criminal offense. A lot of employers won’t hire people that had or have a restraining order, it could be an issue in trying to rent an apartment, etc.

      It is a difficult subject because in some cases protective orders are needed, in others they are spurious. The ramifications are the same whether the party is guilty or not. A few years ago I would have said you must have done something, even 6 months ago, but when it happens to you and you see the circus, you realize wow, this law is messed up!!

      At first I thought I could represent myself, but the more I read, the more I realized that was a bad idea. (I ramble). I think what I said is mostly accurate, chances are it will still show up on a background check. State Laws do vary, but with a final order it usually goes in a Federal database, so even if you moved the order is valid at your new location.

    • ok so this is where I get frustrated. I just went to the court house in Arizona and could not get the same answer twice. They told me because I have to see a judge I cannot drop it once I am out of state, which is different then what I got last week. Then one person tells me if I go before the judge to get it dismissed my ex has to be there, then someone else tells me no he does not. Which one is correct? If I go in to drop it and the judge says no, is my ex still notified that I went in?

      • In the justice system (to borrow a line from Robert B. Parker), people are often wrong but never uncertain.

        As I wrote before, you do have to see a judge (or at least submit your motion for his or her review and approval). That’s not a legal opinion; it’s just what the law says.

        The thing about your ex’s having to be there is wrong. There is a mention in the rules of the petitioner and defendant appearing “jointly” but this is wrongly applied to your case, and it is not necessary according to the law.

        Read Rule 7 here, Kristin (click below), and print out the PDF for the court staff to consult:


        • thank you. but if I go in and the judge denies it will my ex be notified that I went in or will he not be since nothing changed? Im going to be moving out of state, is that reason enough for the judge? when i told the clerk the reason why she kinda gave me this reaction that she was surprised that moving was the reason why, and a dumb one at that.

          • You should have been advised by legal advocates and instructed about the cycle of Domestic Violence. Even when both parties have Lawyers, the court is not always willing to dismiss orders. The Law is vague and gives Judges a lot of leeway.

            You should be able to get a dismissal, but you will probably spend an hour or so with legal advocates. Just file the paperwork and go before the Judge.

            There are no details, if there are predicate acts, it could be harder. They want to protect you. If there is an assault or battery charge, numerous calls to the police, then who knows?

            If not the dismissal should happen.


  14. Anonymous

    February 2, 2015

    What happens if I try to contact someone after their injunction against harassment expires? They have no evidence of harassment since the first one started. Am I free to contact them, or am I risking another injunction? It expired two months ago – can that one still be extended?

    • It depends, if they are not okay with you contacting them, they can file for another order/injunction. If they are okay with the contact it is still iffy. It is like a sword over your head. Technically, when an order expires all it means is it is no longer illegal for you to contact the other person, but, alleged victims are counselled on the cycle of domestic violence. It basically means even if the initial allegations are false and you reconcile, at anytime they can drop the hammer on you.

      A recent sequence of posts revealed that even if a person willingly invites a person they filed a Protective order against to a party or into their home, that person can still be jailed and the plantiff can not be charged. For example, a person files an order against you and it is granted. Months later they call you and say come on by we are having a party! You say cool and show up. You piss them off they call the cops and YOU are going to Jail.

      Nobody will care that you were invited.

      It is playing with fire. If anything they will prove their case by saying you waited for the injunction to expire before you made contact. Think about it, they say you harassed or stalked them, they get an order against you, and after it expires you contact them. A judge sees there was already an order against you and you are back in court.

      Throw the rule book out the window. If a person goes to the lengths to file an order against you for any reason, they are the Victim, it does not matter if their claims are true or not, if they get a court to rule in their favor, you are screwed. They can apologize, say they love you, whatever, but the minute they change their mind, you are done. They can go back to the court and say you manipulated them, that they only reconciled out of fear, finances, or whatever.

      I hired a very expensive Lawyer, his advice to me was to say nothing and to let it go. We settled on a civil agreement that excludes contact by either party. If we do run into each other (which is unlikely to happen) it is not a criminal offense. But, she could always lie and say otherwise.


      • Anonymous

        February 2, 2015

        What if I have a median go in and talk to the person who put the injunction on me? Have them go in and say we should finally talk and work things over. Am I still at risk? Or is there nothing she can do, because I never had contact with her?

        • I need to make this clear, I am not a Lawyer, I am not giving you legal advice, only practical advice. Technically, if the order has expired, I know in some States it is 6 months, you can contact the person, but it is not like a case being dismissed with Prejudice, that person can simply refile for another order.

          If you need to resolve property issues, or things of that nature, it is one thing. If it is a relationship issue, it is another thing. Using a third party to communicate with the person, is still Harassment in the eyes of the court. While the laws may vary between States, they are pretty much the same in practice.

          The Victim (despite truth or evidence), is in charge. They can call you up, invite you over, and 2 minutes later call the police while you are in the bathroom and say you forced your way in. The Police will arrest you. They will ask questions later.

          I would call a Lawyer, but I doubt you will get a good answer for the situation you are describing. When you initiate contact, even through a third person, it is viewed the same way. If they contact you, and you reply, YOU are wrong.

          Let me ask you a question. This person filed an injunction against you, it was enforced. There is nothing to work out. Seriously, some people reconcile their differences, but you have this hanging over your head. Just because the order expired does not mean it was not there.

          I am rambling and maybe the Mod will have a better answer, but overall I would say no to contacting the person unless you have a Lawyer and a valid reason to do so.

        • I answered with the below before realizing I was responding to the same “Anonymous” commenter. It would be the correct answer to someone whose restraining order was current. Since yours is expired, you have more legal latitude. Again, though, be very circumspect. A good rule of thumb would be to put yourself in the perspective of a judge. The problem with this BS is the conceit that because someone applied (five minutes) for a court order, you’re a horrible person s/he never wants to see again. So it’s easy for any judge to conclude that any further attempt at contact is the sign of a “sick fixation.”

          That’s something you’d have to run past the attorney. Be very careful before proceeding. In some cases and jurisdictions, this might be completely feasible. In others, especially if “no third-party contact” is a stipulation of the order, a judge may find contact even by an attorney working on your behalf to be a “violation.”

          I’ve heard from a man who was jailed recently because it was ruled he “intended” to contact the plaintiff through a third party (not even an American citizen) and because his attorney did act as a go-between. The fault should fall to the attorney, but it’s anything goes in these procedures.

          And, no, there was certainly nothing “malign” or “sinister” about this man’s “contacts.” This game, that someone who’s been issued an “order,” is therefore necessarily the big, bad wolf is a disgrace on our system of justice.

          This arena is a judicial playpen.

        • Walter’s advice sounds pretty good to me. Just appreciate this area is a minefield. It’s never a bad idea to consult with an attorney, explain your concerns and what you hope to achieve, and get some feedback.

          A mediator is a good choice, because these people are often more “therapeutic” in their approach.

          They won’t make you sorry you asked, in other words, or treat you like the judge did.

    • You’ve worked out the angles accurately, I think. Your actions aren’t restrained if you’re under no current restraining order, i.e., if the one you were under lapses/expires. But if the plaintiff of that order is hostile or vindictive, then some attempt at renewed relations could start the cycle over again. You could try to be circumspect, and you could prepare to deny the contact if it were used against you again according to your conscience…but often if an accuser is given reason to apply to the court again, a judge isn’t going to take a great deal of convincing.

  15. ok so I have a couple of questions:

    1) I have an order of protection against my ex-boyfriend in the state of arizona. I’m going to be moving to Washington state and will probably drop it. Will the court let me drop it once I move out of state or do I have to drop it before I leave the state of arizona?

    2) I know in order to drop it I have to submit it in writing to the judge explaining why I no longer need it. will my ex see the letter?

    3) can the judge deny my request?

    • Plaintiffs who move can register an existing restraining order with the courthouse in the place where they move.

      Plaintiffs who want to vacate orders, however, may have to do it in the jurisdiction where the orders were petitioned.

      I’m not an attorney, and an attorney could confirm this suspicion, but generally the “venue” in which procedures are performed is important.

      To the extent that the reasons you provide the court may be written on a motion form, they would likely be visible to the defendant, yes.

      If you’re concerned about what explanation is preserved in the record, my thought would be to phrase it simply and elaborate upon it as a judge requires when you speak to him or her. There may be an oral record, too, but I don’t think a digital recording would be sent to the defendant.


  16. Bill Schmalfeldt

    January 20, 2015

    I wrote to you back in 2013 about an individual who had taken out (at that time) over 200 criminal charges against me for allegedly violating a peace order. That number grew to almost 400 before the State’s Attorney finally shut this abusive person down. Unable to stop wreaking havoc in my life, he filed a copyright suit claiming I had copied material from his blog without posting a link. After much ado and his seeking $640,000 we ended up in a settlement conference where he settled for $0. Prior to the settlement conference, he went to the district court (not in the county where I live) and applied for another peace order. The court denied it for a lack of statutory basis for relief. He appealed and a hearing date was set. Back to the lawsuit settlement. Afterwards, this man shook my hand, looked me in the eye and said he would not follow through with his appeal. I took him at his word, and I was relieved as I am in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease and traveling from my county to his county (where he filed the appeal) presents me with real difficulties. However, without informing me he had changed his mind, he appeared at the Circuit Court hearing and got an uncontested peace order. Bad enough, right? Now, he has secured a “show cause” hearing as to why I should not be held in contempt because in November I posted a link to a blog entry of his in which he posted something he screencapped from my blog. I was not thinking about the fact that WordPress would automatically send an e-mail to this person, who approved the ping back, posted it on his blog, then filed his “show cause” petition, claiming I am in violation of the “no contact” provision of the peace order. I’m a 60-year old man, unable to walk unassisted, can barely raise my arms above chest level. And the hearing is set for January 30 in a the Circuit Court in a county adjoining mine. Maryland law states a civil action shall be brought in a county where the DEFENDANT resides. I know this sounds too bizarre to be true, but this man has been fixated on me for nearly three years now, and I just want him to leave me alone. Any non-official words of advice would be appreciated.

    • I think that’s a new record. I’m not a psychologist, but I wonder if this man isn’t an obsessive-compulsive. One thought, Bill, is that you get in touch with a friend of mine, Matthew Chan, who can advise you how to fend off this prosecution and maybe put you in touch with some legal professionals who could help. A pingback isn’t “contact,” nor is linking to a website.

      Matt’s own website is here: He currently has a case under deliberation by the Georgia Supreme Court in which he was represented pro bono (for free). He can tell you everything about defending against a restraining order based on no actual (or present) relationship with the accuser, no party-to-party communication with him, and no threat. I’ll forward your comment to him.

      Other thoughts—and these are merely the inept musings of a non-attorney and not “legal counsel”—are that you might file (1) a motion to dismiss (in limine, i.e., pretrial) based on the state’s attorney’s conclusions and/or your believing the case to be filed in the wrong venue, and (2) a continuance (a motion to continue) based on your condition and the difficulties it poses (which could be substantiated with a note from a doctor, if actually necessary). A motion to continue, if granted, would extend the time you had to prepare a defense. So far as I know, you could request as much time as you wanted; the judge would decide how much, if any, to grant you. Some extra time (even a week) might make it possible to get some expert help, which could be free. I’m thinking about this myself.

      I was issued a “show cause” order in 2013, and I was granted an extra 10 days—and don’t have a motor disorder. I’m sure your condition would move a judge to grant you an extension. Also, if you filed a motion before you had counsel, you could legitimately say you’re representing yourself. In a trial (and a show cause hearing is conducted like a trial; it’s much more elaborate than a restraining order hearing), having to represent yourself is hard. It’s a very big deal.

      Let me see if I can put you in touch with Matthew. I would expect a judge to toss this case based on what you’ve said and based on the flimsiness of the claim against you, but I have no faith in reasonable expectations. Meanwhile, you should probably start pulling your evidence together and look into “how to respond to an order to show cause.” I can’t say for sure whether it’s essential or even important, but protocol might be to submit an answer memorandum (admitting or denying the allegations), which I remember from my own case (I got a summons to the same kind of hearing in 2013) was due about 10 days prior. I was sued, though, and wasn’t under an injunction at the time. Procedure may be different.


      • Bill Schmalfeldt

        January 21, 2015

        I’m certain the man has a mental issue. He feeds off of the adulation he gets from his readers who believe him like North Koreans follow the Dear Leader. Feel free to get my particulars to your friend. And I appreciate the thoughts.

      • About 8 years ago a collections company filed a civil suit against me, I filed my own answer, and went to court. They did not show up, they refiled the complaint, I answered and went to court, they did not show up. Before the Judge ruled I stood up and said your honor I request this matter to be dismissed with Prejudice (If a matter is dismissed with prejudice, the court will never consider it again). Even if their claim is true it is outside of the Statute of Limitations, this is the second time they have brought me to court without showing up, my answer should have been sufficient to dissolve the matter, etc. It was not dismissed with prejudice, but the Judge made a note to the record that if they re filed a complaint and did not show up it would be. I never heard from that company again.

        The moral of the story is, you need to use the legal system against him. You can’t keep suing the same person over and over. At the same time, do not even look at his website. We all know how it works, when I was an admin, I could see people who viewed the site and other sites they viewed, etc.

        His prior actions do seem like abuse of the legal system, I am sure you have them documented. Bring everything to court and stick by your guns.

        A Judge will be swayed when they see the number of complaints and actions against you. How it got this far is beyond me, but as I have said several times on this forum, when this happens just let it go, forget the person, dream about their untimely demise, or whatever, but never contact them again. Stay away!!

        Anyway, good luck and keep us updated.

    • Bill, here’s a new forum that Matthew Chan, the man I mentioned to you, just launched. I don’t know how it will work, exactly, and I’m running a fever, besides, so it’ll probably be a few days before I know what’s what. This forum, though, might elicit some more ideas, whether “official” or un-.


  17. Anonymous

    January 19, 2015

    why wouldn’t he be doing well? wouldn’t you be doing doing well in jail?


  18. Carrie Ann

    January 17, 2015

    I haven’t been around her enough to “know’ if she’s borderline, but based on what’s been filed both now and in the past, she’s either feeding off the ex who is, or she also may be borderline. I was around her at a few parties prior to my separation and observed drinking and driving, so most likely an alky– would fit with the crowd they run in. Definitely projection– it amazes me how what they accuse me of is exactly their own past behaviors. I’m dialed in to Bill Eddy’s books (San Diego High Conflict Personality Institute) and they’ve been tremendously helpful to see the world through the lens of a narcissist/borderline. I’m well familiar with the behaviors, but that part was eye opening. His BIFF book on how to respond and communicate with them is also invaluable. (He’s expanding now to those same disorders in the workplace and not just the divorce context) I’ll call a couple of folks to ask about expungement. If you happen to find anything, would appreciate any update; I’m fairly savvy and would rather file it myself– also been hit with a ton of attorney fees this past year…. I was a bit shocked that the whole filing is available for public purview! While I think it helps that the temp and permanent were denied, I still don’t want the accusations out there if I can help it. Huge kudos to you for this blog– it’s amazing. Your ability to so quickly respond and keep on top of it is just such a public service- beyond words! If we could all serve our communities so well in our areas of expertise!!

    • I know from my own family that people like this can actually end up as couples. I also believe people like this gravitate toward one another in friendship circles and that certain fields of study attract them so that there are endemic “pockets” (like pustules—the simile is apt!).

      I suspect you’re “fairly savvy” like a fox is “fairly savvy”!

      I will peck around, Carrie Ann. Thanks for the supportive words, and I’m really relieved you dodged this bullet.


    • Carrie Ann

      January 21, 2015

      Reporting Update: I have been unsuccessful finding any statute or legal basis for trying to expunge the outrageously defamatory civil restraining order declaration that was filed against me by my ex-husband’s wife for which the temp and permanent orders were denied by the court. I am trying a different route: to see if I can get the family law court judge to seal it on the basis that it’s against my children’s best interests as it is in the public domain and any potential employer or client (I am seeking employment and/or trying to get my business going at the same time) could refuse to hire me. I’m trying to find a family law attorney who specializes (truly understands) high conflict personality divorces to help. Will keep you posted, and if you have any other ideas, please share.

      • Fairly savvy…uh-huh.

        Good for you, Carrie Ann. I’ll keep poking around, too. Please do let me know how things go.

      • Here are some answers to your question drawn from the Net, Carrie Ann, none very encouraging:

        “When the TRO goes, it will be removed from the (California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System), and will simply be gone. It will not be on any of your records, and no background search will find it” (Family law attorney Andrew J. Cook, San Jose, California).

        “The order will be vacated, and the matter dismissed. If the ex-spouse raises new allegations, [he] can, of course, re-file. The record will not be sealed, nor is there any practical way to seal it” (Family law attorney Richard Gould-Saltman, Los Angeles, California).

        “The case records will be kept for however many years required—however these court records will/should reflect that the TRO was dismissed against you on X date. You might want to get a court-certified copy of the dismissal or the minute order to keep on you in case you ever have to address this issue with a future potential employer” (Immigration attorney Janna I. Jamil, San Diego, California).

        Here is an excellent resource on high-conflict family law.

        Here is “Sealing Court Records and Proceedings: A Pocket Guide” by Robert Timothy Reagan. Whether it’s as applicable to state procedure as it is to federal procedure, I’m not sure. Also, again, not very encouraging.

        I think, though, that invoking the interests of your kids sounds good. I have heard of this argument influencing judicial rulings. Also, there’s clearly no legitimate reason to preserve this record other than bureaucratic “protocol.” The court determined the allegations lacked merit; the only “value” that preserving them can have is to possibly injure you, the person the court determined was blameless.

        Of course, the relationship between the law and sense is often adversarial.

      • The Digital Media Law Project tells it differently:

        In a civil case, a court may seal documents if it determines that one or both of the parties have a legitimate interest in keeping the documents confidential and that interest outweighs the public interest in accessing the documents.


  19. Cristina

    January 17, 2015

    I was involved in a DV case, I wrote an affidavit, the case was dismissed. My bf was previously on parole for a 1 year for a different issue. He had to go to prison to see the parole board, they let him out he is not on the IDOC website but said he was given parole paperwork saying he will be on parole until June 2015. He told me even though the case was dismissed that he had a no contact order against me. I was able to see him in prison. I have never gotten any paperwork saying that he has an order of protection against me and I should not have any contact with him. Does this sound right?
    Thanks – confused in Illinois

    • If a no-contact order were procured against you in civil court, Cristina, you should have been served with the order and apprised of your opportunity to defend. If you weren’t served, the order should be “void” (for non-service). An attorney would be the best person to consult. To my knowledge, if the order is “void,” you can request that the judgment against you (the no-contact order) be vacated (that is, “dropped”). I believe you would file a motion to vacate with the court (again, best done with the help of a pro).

      If you were charged with a crime, it’s possible a no-contact order was issued against you by the criminal court. Again, though, I don’t see how this could have happened without your knowing about it. I’m also confused about how you would have been able to visit him in prison in violation of a court order. Also why he wouldn’t have said something then and why he’s talking to you now.

      Unless, that is, the order wasn’t something he requested but something that was issued sua sponte by a criminal court judge. If you were charged with a crime, the judge could have issued a no-contact order without your “victim’s” requesting it. Judges have the authority in these cases to just issue orders automatically—or at the request of the prosecutor.

      If you are under a court injunction that you don’t know about, you’d be smart to find out, whether with an attorney’s help or by visiting the courthouse. Talking to the petitioner/“victim” to get more information would be a violation of the order (if there is one).


  20. Catherine

    January 16, 2015

    My ex husbands now wife (girlfriend when she took the warrant out)had me arrested for reckless endangerment which I did not commit. Nothing in her statement was malious and nothing to cause an arrest. She never stated time or place it supposed took place and no evidence showing I did it. Long story short I had my ex husband arrested for assaulting our son. The now wife tried to go to the gym days after having him arrested where I go and get me for harassment which did not work. So, her only option due to me avoiding her at all costs out in public was to have me falsely arrested. I went to court the prosecutor wouldn’t prosecute my ex on the charges due to dhr nor the detectives would say it was abuse. His wife wanted to drop the charges against me due to his dropping. The prosecutor told me if I persued the charges against my ex I would be convicted of the charges. My pro bono atty basically didn’t do her job t get the case thrown out. Now, the temporary judge who issued a no contact order saying I could not contact her or her family. The temporary judge was my atty for the divorce and represented her in an assault case in another county. The main judge at the arraignment told her to stay in the vehicle and not to talk to me at the exchanges of the children with my ex. She argued with him saying she had to have contact. I told the judge she’s stalked me he told me to tell the prosecutor. Now, months after the ruling I am being charged and the case is reopened. She has been showing up at the exchanges and speaking to me telling me I need to leave when I’m talking to my ex about the children. I told her there is a no contact order in place and she is interfering with mine and his children. I also told her that she needed to be in the vehicle. When I stated this I was under the impression that the no contact was to go both ways. Is she not trying to get me in trouble for violating the order when she initiated the contact?

    On a side note my ex is a city employee his brother is a former police officer and his atty is a guardian ad litem for DHR. His wife has threatened to beat me up on Facebook under a fake account even told my ex’s sister that she wants me to hit her so she can beat my ass. His family bro and step niece have harassed me as well on Facebook.

    Back 3 years ago I had my ex arrested for harassment when we were separated. He was dating her then and she had me arrested for harassment. The cases where dismissed. She is mad that he came back to me.

    • Sorry, Catherine, a bunch of comments came in at once, and I must have overlooked yours.

      That’s a whole lot of litigation. Do I understand that you are presently under an injunction and you’re asking whether the other woman should be prohibited from confronting/taunting you?

      Saying anything categorically would be irresponsible of me, because these processes are so accelerated and superficial that there’s an “anything goes” element to them. A woman wrote the other day who’s been charged with “complicity” in the violation of a protection order because her husband (the defendant) called in violation of the order against him and asked her to let him stay with her. She consented, then he got abusive, then she called the police, and the police said she was culpable in the violation because she let him in her house.

      I’m just a layman, and my interpretations aren’t qualified by legal training, but I’ve never seen any statutory prohibition placed on anyone’s actions except the restraining order defendant’s. The law I’ve looked at (which does vary state to state) only prescribes penalties for when defendants violate orders. No-contact orders can be “mutual” (two-way), but when they’re only one-way, I think the strict interpretation is that the defendant is the only person whose actions are “restrained” by the court’s order.

      This is all speculative, and an attorney might be able to better tell you whether the other woman is acting in violation of the law. Perhaps you would have grounds for petitioning the court to make the restraining order two-way so that this woman couldn’t legally try to “bait” you into violating the order against you.

      Something that bothers me is that (I think) you’ve said one of your judges represented both you and the other woman as an attorney. This seems to be a conflict of interest, and I’m not sure this person should have had a role in the case. That’s something else you might run past a lawyer. Again, if I’m grasping you correctly, that would seem to have corrupted the whole business. That’s just an impression, but it might merit investigation (and an appeal).

      I hate, hate, hate legal “interventions,” because they just seem to exacerbate the kind of warfare you’ve described: payback for payback for payback. It’s possible, I suppose, that if you wanted to apply for an injunction based on the Facebook sniping, you might succeed. A police officer, if you showed him or her the “anonymous” post, would probably say, “How can you prove [X] sent it?” A judge may not require the same convincing. If you said, “[X] sent me this, and her family members sent me these,” that might be conclusive enough. I can’t say whether a judge would deem the threats sufficient to justify a restraining order or against whom. All of this (I’m guessing) could incline a judge to make the injunction you’ve mentioned “mutual” just to quell all the mischief.

      Talk to an attorney if it’s possible. Otherwise, you could find out from the courthouse what recourse you have against the bullying. Sometimes it’s not possible to piggyback your petition on the earlier one (that is, to have both under the same case number). You could, though, open a separate case, which would at least give you an opportunity to talk with a judge and find out if you can shut down the abuse. Only an officer of the court could tell you whether you can “merge” the cases. If you had a no-contact order, too, though, maybe it would keep everyone civil.

      I wish there were a process that would let everyone press a “reset” button and clean the slate.


  21. Carrie Ann

    January 16, 2015

    The wife of my (narcissistic borderline) ex-husband filed for a restraining order against me including an 8 page declaration that is almost completely false and full of assumptions based on partial truths. The wife is a nurse. The declaration makes false accusations of me abusing prescriptions, being on psychiatric medication without a doctor’s care, lurking, stalking, owning an unregistered gun, etc. The temporary was denied. I was never served. She did not show up at the hearing; I did not know of the hearing. The permanent was denied for no show. Can I get her declaration, or better yet the whole application, expunged? Though I would love to file for malicious prosecution/abuse of process, defamation, false light, intentional infliction of emotional distress, privacy, and call Kaiser, who she works for and who my insurance is with to ensure she has not, nor will be able to access my records– I do not want to do that because this will just rile up my ex to keep fighting me, to continue telling my young children ugly and untrue things despite a court order not to– causing them even more emotional trouble than they are already experiencing. I just want it expunged. How do I do that? What grounds– in California. Are there samples I can obtain? Thank you in advance for any help you may provide.

    • I’ve known a woman like this. She’s was very appealing when it was important to her that I like her; now she hates me because of a conflict she had with my mother that I wasn’t involved in. I live around horses, and a goodly proportion of the women who are drawn to them are disturbed. Some are truly awesome—don’t get me wrong. But some seriously suck. Does the woman in your story have any addiction issues (alcohol)? The woman I knew was an alky. It’s common for people like this to project. I’ve read (and been told), too, that falsely accusing people of drug abuse is common with borderlines. “Partial truths” in the hands of these people are the worst. If she’d reigned herself in and just made one vague but damning allegation, she might have succeeded. The “eight pages” probably didn’t help her credibility.

      I’ll see what I can find out, Carrie Ann. You could also call a local attorney and ask what trace records might be preserved. (There may not be any if the temporary order was denied. In Massachusetts, for example, even to have a temporary order approved against you can mean you’re registered as a “domestic abuser”—permanently. That’s even if the cased is dismissed.) There’s usually no charge for a phone chat with a lawyer—and you can always call from a payphone and just use your first name if you’re concerned about being billed (or just ask). There might even be a firm that specializes in “expungement.” Google will tell you. That kind of query you can usually do by email.

      Possibly it would just be a matter of filing a motion with the court (to seal or expunge).

      You’re right not to trust that this just “evaporated.” Bureaucracy doesn’t work that way. Government offices love their files, which are the kind of thing that can seriously trip a person up.

      You’re also right, I believe, to let this die. You concerns about exacerbating conflict are wise ones. What you describe is exactly what happens. I’ve heard it over and over. People like your accuser, what’s more, hold a grudge like nobody does. Know, too, that she can do this all over again (and again and again). Your best hope is that this will never occur to her. Some people make a hobby of it. Monitor what you say and do—anything that could get back to her. Also keep anything you get from her to defend yourself down the road if you have to. These people are human landmines.


  22. Jennifer Cervantes

    January 16, 2015

    I have a DVO against my husband, but he contacted me on Christmas eve and said he needed a place to stay the night, due to his mother kicked him out of the house and I told him he could stay one night, sleep on the couch but had to leave in the morning. And he wasn’t allowed to come over until my kids left to go to their dads that afternoon… I ended up having to call the sheriff’s office the following day cause he got drunk and he’s mean when he drinks so thats why I called the cops. When they got here, they arrested him for violating the order but I also got arrested for aiding and abetting/violating the order also.
    I didn’t even know I could get in trouble for that.. I thought it was just him to get in trouble for violating the order. Now I have to go to court and I dunno what is gonna happen to me. I’ve never been arrested before or have anything on my record.
    What can I be charged with?
    I plead not guilty because I didn’t know I’d get in trouble. So im really scared of what may happen when I go to court.. I live in NC.
    Any idea on what i can do or advice?

    • I’ve never heard of this, either, Jennifer. I’ll look into North Carolina’s laws and mention this to a man I know who lives there. Did the court ever tell you what you must or mustn’t do vis-à-vis your husband? And have you been informed what law you’re being charged with breaking? Cops can’t make up the rules. Apparently you’re being blamed for abetting your husband in violating a restraining order, and violating a restraining order is a crime. Don’t hesitate to call the police and ask them for more information. Also call and talk with an attorney to find out if there’s something you can be charged with.

    • This is from Ohio:

      September 25, 2003, Columbus — In a ruling heralded as precedent-setting by domestic violence lawyers, the Ohio Supreme Court yesterday said people who seek protective orders barring others from contacting them can’t then be charged with violating those orders.
      The justices unanimously ruled that Betty Lucas did not violate a restraining order by inviting her ex-husband into her home for a party. Court records show Lucas got the protective order against her ex-husband, Joseph, for previous domestic violence. The two got into a fight at the party, and both were charged with domestic violence.
      Betty Lucas, 35, also was charged and later convicted of complicity to violate a protective order.
      The Supreme Court overturned a lower court’s ruling and threw out that conviction.
      Justice Paul Pfeifer, writing for the court, said the legislature intended for only one party — the person who the protective order is issued against — to be criminally responsible for violating such orders.
      “The statute is devoid of any penalty for a petitioner who invites contact with a respondent,” Pfeifer said.
      “To find appellant guilty of complicity would be to criminalize an irrelevancy,” Pfeifer wrote. “We hold that an individual who is the protected subject of a temporary protection order may not be prosecuted for aiding and abetting the restrainee under the protection order.”

      This may not be the case in NC, but usually with a precedent from another court it should be sufficient to have the case dismissed. I can’t find much else on this particular situation.

      To be honest you knew he could get in trouble for violating the order. He called, he showed up, you let him in. I get confused, especially if he showed up drunk, why did you let him in?

      Contacting you should have violated the order, you should not have answered. Showing up at your residence violated the order. I think you should have called the Police when he called.

      I hope this works out for you, I don’t know the details, but maybe this will help.

      On another note, if the person who filed the order against you calls (or vice versa) you, DO NOT ANSWER.

      I am not saying Jennifer is wrong for trying to be nice, but if you are in the house all it takes is one phone call to put you in jail.

      • Wow, nice find, Walter. FYI, I found an email in my box last night from Max. He was jailed. I haven’t had a chance yet to absorb the details, but maybe you’ll hear from him again now.

      • The key sentence in the story Walter posted is this one, Jennifer: “The statute is devoid of any penalty for a petitioner who invites contact with a respondent.” That means Ohio’s statute doesn’t say anything about punishing the petitioner for “complicity.” If you’re represented in the matter, your attorney could confirm that this is similarly true of North Carolina’s statute—and I’d bet it is. If you have to speak for yourself, you could print out the source story and present it to a judge with the essential point highlighted (literally underline it or use a highlighter pen), and let the judge draw his or her own conclusion. You could also consult the North Carolina statute that prescribes penalties for violating a protection order yourself. I can’t be sure, but again I’d bet it doesn’t say anything about petitioners. You could also print out a copy of the statute and submit it to the judge.

        “Statute” means “law,” and the reason you’d check North Carolina’s law is that laws are different in each state. For example, in some states violation of a restraining order might be a felony offense; in others, a mere misdemeanor. There will be a website you can consult online to read your state’s statutes. Cops make judgment calls; judges make the actual judgments, and they have to act according to the letter of the law. If North Carolina’s laws don’t say a petitioner can be complicit (which means also guilty) in the violation of a protection order, the judge may be disposed to dismiss the case against you.

        Your husband, however, is probably in for it. [Scroll down to the story about Ohio by Adam Liptak of The New York Times (2003)]

        Wendy J. Murphy, a visiting scholar at Harvard Law School, said only Mr. Lucas should have been prosecuted.

        “He’s a grown-up,” Ms. Murphy said. “He knows the law. He’s no more empowered to violate the protective order because she invited him than he is empowered to kill someone.”

        Mr. Sanderson agreed, adding that the victims of domestic violence could not always be trusted to make the right decisions and should not be penalized for making the wrong ones.

        “Women in abusive relationships are not always in a position where they’re going to act in their own best interest,” he said. “The analogy I continually draw is between girls who get involved with older men. We don’t prosecute them for aiding and abetting in statutory rape, no matter how worldly and solicitous they may be.”

        Mr. Sanderson acknowledged that his argument relied on stereotypes. When the Ohio Supreme Court heard the case in March, he said, “some justices took exception to my argument based on that.”

        “Their point of view,” he said, “was that these are grown-up people who should be able to make these decisions on their own.”

      • Reply
      • The North Carolina statute uses the phrase “person who is subject to a valid protection order.” You’re not such a person; your husband is. There’s no evident provision in the law criminalizing “complicity to violate a protection order.” The “person” repeatedly mentioned is the defendant, the person who was restrained by the the order.

    • Reply
  23. Can one sue or file a complaint for someone loudly telling them to shut up bitch and throwing 2 fingers up and yelling take a picture of this in public? The man (a lawyer) overheard my friends conversation regarding flat soda water in her drink. He advised the staff to slap us both. I sipped the soda and agreed. I was calm and kind.
    He was loud and rude, saying he would’ve slapped them both. So I said you would have slapped 2 ladies for having flat soda water? That’s when he yelled shut up bitch. Yeah I said shut up bitch. I had my phone in my hand and he assumed I was taking a picture so he threw up his middle fingers and yelled take a picture of these. I, knowing how to flip my phone camera on quickly, took the picture. He held them up waiting for me anyway. Probably because I said sure I’ll take a pic. Patrons were gasping around us and it was just creepy and uncomfortable. We left and had dinner elsewhere. Wondering, if I can post his picture with recourse and if I can file a complaint against him in anyway. Slander would be nice but I don’t think it falls into the legalalities of defamation of character or slander.

    • I just don’t see it, is this someone you know and have encountered before? If not I really do not know what the complaint would be. Did he continued the confrontation, was it was racially based, etc. There is just not enough information to give you any advice.

      If you are in a public place there is no expectation of privacy so I don’t see a problem with posting his pictures, but that also is contingent on a few things. In the long run assuming this is a random stranger, I would just let it go.

      That being said, you can file whatever you want in a civil court. It doesn’t mean you will win and chances are based on what you have stated, it will be a greater inconvenience to you.

    • You couldn’t sue him on that basis, no. You can give a cop the bird, he didn’t threaten you directly, and speech is free. (An exception might be if this guy regularly accosted you and called you names despite repeatedly being told to leave you alone, or he public proclaimed you’re a prostitute—that kind of thing—or said he was going to slap you.) There’s nothing to stop you, though, from reporting this conduct to your state’s bar association. Officers of the court are expected to conduct themselves better (both judges and lawyers are “officers of the court”). You could find out how to file a complaint against a licensed attorney on the bar association website, probably. I believe attorneys also qualify as “public figures.” If that’s the case, your publishing a picture of this man flipping you off in a diner would be lawful, i.e., not an invasion of his privacy and not actionable. If you decide to tangle with an attorney, though, confirm this is true (which you could do by calling a female attorney and asking—pretend you’re wondering if you could sue). The reason attorneys walk all over people is because they expect to be feared—and you do want to make sure you’re on solid legal ground before putting yourself in one’s crosshairs. FYI, there are often review/testimonial sites that rate attorneys. You could probably give a review and possibly post the picture there without even identifying yourself by (your real) name—or have a friend post it for you if you’re an honest person and want to preserve deniability. HTML typically works in comment boxes, and it can be linked to a photo upload site like Photobucket. Google HTML + image to find the code.

      Imagine if a devious person were to get ahold of that picture of yours and (anonymously) send copies of it to various judges at local courthouses (whose addresses are in the phone book), to various public officials (like officers of the bar association, for instance—or some senators), and/or to the editors of your local newspaper with the printed caption “Attorney [X] says hi!” I could, of course, never conscionably condone such an underhanded action myself. It is fun to imagine, though.


  24. Concerned & Desperate!!!

    December 18, 2014

    My son-n-law has a problem he incountered in the last couple days. Long story short, First off not married, has child 1 yrs. old with girl friend he lived with up until 12-13-2014. They got in an argument and she moved out taking child with her. She then texted him saying she was taking child and moving to oregon and he will never see daughter again. Well she made a mistake and came back to house to get her things and when she went down stairs he went out door with child. She freaked out, 2 days later she filed a protection order saying all these lies about him and stuff and he had to give daughter back. During arguement she punched a fish tank and shattered it and cops came she tried to say he pushed her but cops plainly seen she punched it and no arrest no nothing. But now in order to get protection order she lied about the whole thing. Now he wants to fight the protection order with witnesses and cop story and all this. Any suggestions on what or how to go about this and win daughter back.

    • Start calling some attorneys right away. Considering the circumstances, a family attorney might be a good choice, and how much your son-in-law would be charged upfront might be less. With what’s at stake, you guys should really do whatever it takes to get an attorney on board. A good one whom you’ve talked to and have confidence in. There’s no cost for talking to some on the phone or even having some brief chats at their offices (though time may be short). Don’t be afraid to ask attorneys what their expectations are: “Would I be billed for that?”

      Meanwhile, assemble what evidence there is that would corroborate what your son-in-law says. The police report could be gotten (and the responding officer or officers can be subpoenaed to testify, also). If there’s a text or a phone message from the girlfriend like “You’ll never see your daughter again,” that would be big obviously.

      It’s a good thing you’re doing for your son-in-law. Sounds like there’s a whole other story.

      • If the original text from the girlfriend was deleted, it may still be preserved on the servers of the cell phone providers (your son-in-law’s and his girlfriend’s). The girlfriend’s phone records, if they were subpoenaed, can also I’m told tell you where she was during a specific period if she placed a call or sent a text during that time. Act as fast as you can with information collection, because windows for responding to court actions like this are narrow.

        You can ask the court to grant you more time by filing for a continuance, which is also a good idea and can be done anytime.

    • He has to hire a Lawyer. She is considered the Victim and he is presumed guilty. She will speak with a Legal Advocate, she will get advice and instructions from that person when she goes to the Court House. He will be pointed to a room. If he is lucky someone will tell him to sign in or they will never call his name. Save and print out every text and email. Like the moderator says, all a person has to do is say they were afraid of you or scared. Technically there should be mitigating factors, a history of violence, a threat, abusive behaviour, etc. But the Temporary Order does not require that. A Final Order does need those mitigating factors (in NJ, since here the orders are permanent). I would not fight it without a Lawyer, even in my case, where I probably could have won without a lawyer, it is not advisable.

      For an example, in my case, we were having a text discussion, she was replying to me. She stopped replying. Now, she could have blocked me from her phone. She could have said stop texting me, she never did, instead she filed a TRO. When I walked into the Court Room, you would have thought I beat her with a baseball bat, she also lied and said I had a previous restraining order in another State (which was not even remotely true) (and it is something that could easily be looked up). Everyone in that Court House, is going to believe whatever the Victim says. He will be treated like he tortured an animal.

      She could tell some guy to punch her and tell the Judge your son in law did it. She was already getting advice from someone, if he had filed a TRO against her when she punched the fish tank, he would have custody of the child right now. It is a crazy world we live in. To get a cop to testify will usually require a subpeona (sp). He isn’t just going to show up and potentially stand around for hours.

      The Domestic Violence Laws heavily favor the Victim (especially if it is a female) since it is in a Civil Court, the burden of proof is neglible and the Defendant does not have access to a Public defender, even though the ruling can have criminal results.


      • Concerned & Desperate!!!

        December 19, 2014

        I appologize, my bad, my mistake, he is not my son-n-law, i’m not sure what I was thinking. He is my step son. Sorry, wasn’t thinking at moment. Anyway, she (the mom) also has conjested heart failure and has been in and out of the hospital several times over the last 9 months. At one point the Dr. had stated that if she didn’t get a Heart transplant in next X amount of days she would not be leaving the hospital. Well for some darn reason, act of god or what ever she made a huge recovery and came home. This was about 4 months ago, she has been back in twice since then and always coming home. But for some reason we have been told that this condition cause absolute pure lazyness. I’ll tell ya, she is about the most laziest person I have ever met. To the point that son gets up 5 a.m. feeds daughter, changes diaper, makes his lunch, and heads to work. Gets home around 4 – 4:30 and she is still in bed, baby is still in same diaper from that morning. Pretty sad, this happens 3 – 5 times a week. He cleans, cooks, dishes, laundry, baths child and heads to bed and she bitches cause he rolls over and goes to sleep. Go figure…..
        Anyway, we still do have all texts on phones. It is my understanding that all cops around the area wear them little cam video recorders on their chest now. Is there a way to get a copy of them videos that were taken when they were there about the broken fish tank.
        We now understand that right after serving the protection order and getting daughter back, her dad came down from Oregan and picked her and daughter up and they are gone now to Oregan. Not sure if there is anything we can do now. I really dought they will extradite her back from there. Its a sad day around here.


      • Concerned & Desperate!!!

        December 19, 2014

        4 yrs. they have lived together and not one report of cops being called to residence. However she said in the PO that it has been an ongoing battle all 4 yrs. I’m like wow, really. anyway, when she broke the fish tank he wanted to press charges but the cops asked him if he seen her punch the tank and break it, he said no he had just turned around to walk away from her and BASH!!!! turned around and ya broken all over the place, the cop said then if you didn’t see it we can’t do anything about it. I was FERIOUS.. I have never heard of such a thing. So basically it was like noone seen it happen so I guess it never happened, RIGHT….. Ya… I’m still pissed about that part. Nuckles all cut up and blood everywhere but it didn’t happen.
        Thats another thing, in the PO she said son pushed her into it knocking it off onto the floor and it broke giving her some small cuts on her upper arm. If that would have been the case, son would be in jail. The cop could clearly see the tank was broke up on the shelf cause there was still glass on the shelf where it was. If it had feel onto the floor and broke,, no glass on shelf. Ya it is another sad case of ABUSE OF THE PROTECTION ORDER, AND THE SYSTEM. I have told son we will do what ever it takes but not to get his hopes up, espically since she is gone to oregan…
        Thanks Guys for words of things to help. I’m still open for more and anything else you might think of.
        P.S. can he sue her for false PO/ lieing…??

        • If she doesn’t show up to the courthouse, they will most likely adjourn the case and make an attempt to locate her. What they automatically assume is that he may be the reason she isn’t there, they will probably ask him if he is involved etc. Let’s say he didn’t show up and she did, chances are they would grant the permanent order. I have heard of ‘Victim’s’ not showing several times and they will continue to adjourn the case.

          What I have read and understand from my lawyers, a falsely obtained restraining order is hard to prove, even when the victim is lying. Once again, all she has to say she was scared. There is little to be gained, very few Prosecutors would even consider a perjury case against an alleged Domestic Violence victim.

          In an extreme case, where a person files repeated orders against another unjustly, a judge might find them in contempt, but that would be an extreme situation.

          As for the daughter, you really need to speak to a Lawyer. That is a custody issue, and even with the temporary order it is best he, you, or anyone (aside from a Lawyer) not try to contact her. Even having a mutual friend contact her, could be construed as violating the order.

          I know it all seems like a bunch of BS because it is, but heck she could have kicked him out of the residence. My lawyer was representing a guy (he was well off). The guy met this girl they had a casual relationship, they got into an argument, the girl stabbed herself with a kitchen knife. She calls the cops, has him arrested and files an order against him, told a Judge she lived with the guy (she never did). They kicked him out of his house for 9 months.

          Best of Luck with everything,

        • Some more thoughts in reply to your follow-ups:

          1. Besides the phone records, your stepson could probably subpoena any medical records pertinent to the case (such as the record of the hand injury). He can do this himself, but as Walter says, it should be done by an attorney—and a continuance would almost surely be necessary (extra time to respond).

          2. Also as Walter says, if the girlfriend doesn’t show for the appeals hearing, the order should be dismissed. Your stepson must appear, however, for this to happen. Even if this is the case, though, your stepson should properly have an attorney to counsel him on how to recover access to or custody of his daughter. You can imagine what driving to Oregon and banging on the door might lead to, and how these cursed processes work is, even if your son were to call the police and say his girlfriend just left the state with his child, the police might not act because of the temporary restraining order, even if no final order is entered. A past commenter related a case where the mom got an injunction against the dad, the court awarded custody of the infant child to the maternal grandmother (I think because the mom was institutionalized), the court dismissed the restraining order against the dad, and the grandma refused to give the baby back. The cops looked in their system, mumbled something about a record of abuse, and refused to do anything. The paternal grandmother (like you, the dad’s mom) shared the story, and she was going nuts. Last we talked, she’d called every authority she could think to. The judge couldn’t be reached, and even the dad’s attorney was pulling out his hair.

          3. The person who’s scrupulously honest regrets it. I can’t counsel anyone to report anything but the truth, but between you and me, if I had to defend myself against lies again, knowing what I know now, I might well lie without compunction myself. Compared to the thoughts that watching my life and lives dear to me drain away have inspired since, a few colorful lies to counteract lies would certainly have had a gentler effect on my conscience and emotions. If it’s true that your stepson didn’t “see” his girlfriend hit the tank, might it be true that he saw her draw back her arm from over his shoulder, that he sensed she was going to hit him and started to turn his head, or that he heard her smack the tank and scream? Did he hear her shout in rage before he heard the crash? Impressions win in court, not facts (unless they’re totally incontrovertible, like photos). There’s almost no evidence that can’t be fabricated. No one does computer forensics, for example, to confirm whether an email submitted in evidence was really written and sent by the person who allegedly wrote and sent it. What accusers claim to have had done to them, claim to have had said to them, etc. is just that: a claim. Litigants are in and out of these procedures in half an hour. Nothing is confirmed, but nothing has to be confirmed for it to “work.”

          4. There may be some statute that says a four-year relationship comes with some entitlements. This is something to ask a family attorney about. Maybe your stepson and his girlfriend would be called “common law” spouses, that kind of thing, in which case mutual properties might be legally entailed to offset attorney costs. Please absolutely call an attorney. Even if it turns out the cost of a lawyer’s services is prohibitive, be sure to talk with one (or better yet, several).

          5. There may be grounds for legal actions, but suing for abuse of process rarely pays off. The best result I’ve heard of (and this has only been reported twice) was the judge’s dismissing the order. No one has reported getting money for damages. Even cases I’ve read about only awarded costs, and one such case was against a woman who falsely claimed she was conked on the head, raped, had her arm broken, and was burned with matches. She staged the whole thing. It was proved later than she broke her arm diving into the shallow end of the swimming pool. Stories about the case appeared in at least two newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, but the district attorney declined to prosecute. One of the investigating cops—honest to god—told the man that he reckoned he did it and said he thought the reason why there was no evidence was that the man had watched CSI on TV and knew how to cover his trail.

    • Reply
  25. can a stranger file a restraining order against me

  26. If i go into the court and drop my order of protection, would it come up in a background check?

    • An attorney could tell you if it’s a categorical certainty one way or the other, but a record of a vacated order may linger on. A lawyer could inform you, too, what if any remedies exist (motion to expunge, that kind of thing) if that’s the case. Explain you want the paper trail erased. You could also Google expungement + restraining order + your state and email an attorney who specializes in this.

  27. If i go into the court and drop my order of protection, does it still stay on exes record and would it come up in a background check?

    • A record of the dismissed order may continue to exist, yes. This may be something you could file a motion to have sealed/expunged.

  28. Your apology is absolutely accepted… As for me maybe having a criminal record prior to the PFA .. that answer is a resounding NO… never been in trouble with the law before..I’m interested in your PFA as you mention that a third party Adult was included incorrectly (can you tell me the relation on this third party adult.. because in my PFA my wife’s ex-husband was listed and a person I could not contact (he lives in Mexico, had / has no idea that he is listed on the PFA as wife & him don’t speak to each I have never met or spoken with him) I believe his being listed on my PFA as a person I can not contact is a an error in PFA Law.. and it was my “intent to contact” him that the judge found to be a violation and gave me 2 weeks in jail…. As to the advise your lawyer gave you .. I understand and a smarter person than I would follow but I can at this time.. it’s a matter of principle the PFA was complete BS as much as I hated agreeing to accept the PFA I did because I got the same advise from my lawyer as you did.. “you can’t beat the PFA ” he told me judges will 99.9% approve them because they don’t want to be the judge that ruled against a PFA and then have something happen to the petitioner .. (7 years ago there was a case in our county when a judge ruled against issuing a PFA and then the woman was killed by her husband.. so all judges in our county uphold PFA request.) So that is why I accepted the PFA .. I had Zero chance of it being excused / not issued even though it was based on BS.. But now that I have been found guilty of violating the PFA on two counts on what are in my opinion complete fabrication or interpretations of PFA law.. (intent to contact and letter give to my lawyer) I find that I have to fight it.. you are probably correct that I will not win… but as somebody once said ” The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” I believe applies here…I have many faults after all I’m of Irish heritage and to a degree fit the stereotype … plus I’m an idealist and do believe in right & wrong and believe fighting for the truth .. as silly & studied as that sounds..
    I spent 30 days in jail (I have a 12 year old girl & 14 years old boy) and my fight is for them in a way.. they know Daddy did nothing wrong but that is because I told them that and they believe me… but somewhere in their head they may have a little doubt after all the judge sent me to jail for 30 days.. I lost my job do to it.. (insurance sales).. Simply put I was “WRONGED” by the system and specifically F ed over by the Judge… is it possible that my actions have some footing in me wanting to seek some vengeance on wife, her lawyer, my lawyer & judge .. yes… but it not that I want cause them any physical harm .. my vengeance is more to have them suffer just a fraction of the humiliation they caused me.. but the only difference will be that their humiliation will be based on a WRONG they actually committed against another human being, how the judge abuse this power on me… I find the whole thing despicable and my reputation tainted by his ruling.. I know I’m on a soap box…now… I have to fight it for my own self-respect… I did not violate the PFA order “period” and I should have never been sent to jail for 30 days and fined $1,000. plus court cost… That to me is Judicial Tyranny !!!

    • In NJ, a temporary restraining order can only be filed between two people, children can be included, but adults can’t (unless there are extreme circumstances). So when she added her Mother, Sister, and adult niece, to the order, she would need some basis in law, her complaint against me was that I harassed her at a specific time on a specific day. One text message, that had no threats, no intent to harm, or anything. Her brother in law works for the town, he was supposed to inspect my apartment for something. I told the property manager about the situation and said he can not enter my apartment under any circumstances.

      I digress, someone can not add an adult to a restraining order. But Third party contact becomes a trap. If you had a friendship with her ex husband and you called him to talk about soccer or whatever that would be okay. If you attempt to contact him in regards to your ex, it is wrong. I had no intention of contacting her sister or niece(outside of her, I had no contact with them), mom is a different story because we had a family type relationship, and I was a partial caretaker/handyman, so some contact was implied.

      I was with this woman for almost 10 years, 7 months ago she told me to leave. I did. She kept me on her insurance and stayed in regular contact with me. I figured out she started a relationship with another guy 2 years ago. She denied it, told me there wasn’t anyone else, you know people just break up. Ahhh but I know the guy, and he posts a picture of her kissing him…..How is that possible? She got caught in her lie. I called her out. She says yes, she is with him now.

      She says, I f@@ked him, I am dropping you from the insurance, and everything here you will never get back. The next day she files the TRO. We texted back and forth called each other. Prior to the order. She didn’t tell her family about this guy, that is why she added them to the tro. They contacted a Judge they knew, the judge represented her Brother in Law in a municipal suit, and while in the County, wasn’t in the town and should have recused himself.

      It hurt to know she lied but it hurt more to know she would do this to protect her lie. I spent 2800 and lost 2 days, she probably spent 400, and lost 2 days. I remember everything (it is crazy) . I could get her fired. half of her family arrested, but it is not worth it

    • Here is the situation, there is no way to win. I can’t even get my own lawyer to reply about my property, that was in the order. It takes less than a minute to reply to an email, but after a month, I am supposed to believe no one replied? I am going to call her lawyer this week, if they refuse to relinquish my stuff I will show up with the cops.

    • I was wondering how you were doing? The more I read and talk to people, the more I see how this law has to be changed. I was emailed a date and time that I could retrieve my stuff from the house, I was talking to an old friend that was put in a similar situation as you (he has kids), and while we were talking it dawned on me, I was telling him the same things my ex told me years ago ‘whenever you involve another person in a relationship, there is no going back’. Everything I have to pick up could be left outside and placed in bags, there is no need for us to have any interaction, but she wants to be there. It is a control issue, she wants to be there to see me come back for my stuff, hell she will probably ask me if I want a sandwich. I want to write her a letter, I want to say what the heck is wrong with you??? But I can’t.

      In a different place and at a different time, it might be worth going after her legally, I have grounds, I have dirt on her and her family. It just is not worth it. I could spend 10k to have a court say she is wrong. I would be out 10k, and nothing would change. So sit back and relax, let it go. We all have decisions to make, I could probably get her and most of her family fired, 2 of them probably could be put in jail. With a few phone calls and emails.

      Anyway, if you are still around I will donate to your defense. I can’t promise much, but I will come through. My last chapter is about to end. My law firm sent me an email with a date and time, I replied are you high? I need something I can print out. I show up without any paperwork, she can refile a TRO against me. I am rambling, but my offer stands. I know this law sucks, I know woman can screw guys over by abusing it. There is a penalty for it, but no judge will ever, ever apply it to a woman.

  29. To file an appeal in PA it must be done in 30 days.. so I missed that time frame because I was in jail and didn’t know about the time frame.. ( I know ignorance of the law is no excuse) but I know I’m under not such time consternates to file a professional liability claim against my ex-attorney for sending the letter to her attorney (he should have known that the “letter” was third party contact) As for the other violation (intent to contact) I have to speak with my new attorney and see what I can do to win that legally … Once I do these two things and if I win .. I hold hope that I can got to PFA court and have the violation erased…. if that happened I would no longer have a PFA against me.. because the 6 months would have expired, I know the judge can extent the PFA for any reason and he may do that.. but if that happens I will fight that as well… because there is no real reason to extend the PFA… ..

    • I do want to apologize, I understand the Judges do things that make no sense. Normally they will put you in jail for 3 days for a non violent contact. I don’t know if you have a criminal record, or if you just caught a judge on a bad day. To be honest I spent a lot of money on a Lawyer, because I knew the order against me was a bunch of BS, she filled the order out wrong, included adult third parties, and it was still approved. I knew at that point the deck was stacked against me. My point I guess, is once the order is approved, you are guilty in the eyes of the court. When a woman needs protection I understand, but if she is going to lie to do so, there is no point in trying to salvage the relationship. What my lawyer told me is that (I am) angry, I want to lash out and do whatever I can to retialite, reconcile, whatever, but it never works.

      I will be honest, I fell down the other day, I hit my head against the sidewalk, looks like someone beat the crap out of me. I could go to a police station and say it was her brother and get a restraining order against him, and probably have him put in jail. They would have to do it, because of the Domestic Violence Act, at the end of the day, I could just say someone pushed me I thought it was him. I put the guy through a ton of BS, he gets arrested I get the TRO against him, based on a lie. You have to be the bigger person. Definitely go after the lawyer for delivering the letter. Leave her reading your email alone. She may have seen more than you want the court to know. I do sincerely apologize I should have had more sympathy for your plight.

  30. You write the following

    “So pardon me when I say you are lying. You did not spend 30 days in jail, because of intent to contact. There is no basis in law for that. If your lawyer delivered the letter that is also bullshit, My lawyer can deliver messages, in a specific frame, if I go outside of that frame, he will tell me to piss off. ”

    Well I can not attach the legal paper work today (don’t have it currently — I gave it to a lawyer to review and start the process of fighting my false conviction … as you say “there is no basis in law for that” That is exactly my point.. I was jailed for 15 days because I asked a friend to contact her ex-husband and 15 days for my lawyer sending “my” letter to her lawyer who in-turn would have given it to my ex-wife.. which her lawyer never did… This was third party contact per the judge… This absolutely happened … I was 30 times more shocked than you could ever be when the handcuffs were placed on me..right in the court room… so please do tell me what you know to be true…. I’m not going to fight the PFA because as you said it a no win situation … but I will fight the “violation or the PFA” for which I spent 30 days in jail… for the exact reason you state… there is no basis in law for convicting me for “intent to contact and for giving my lawyer a letter to give her attorney !!!! The whole trial was a complete sham a F ing travesty and kangaroo court, a lynching.. the only thing missing was a tree, a horse and a rope…


  31. Max Blake

    November 14, 2014

    I’m sorry you are under the impression that I have not told the truth.. I have told the truth 100% of it.. what maybe I left out was that I fired my attorney once I was charged with violating the PFA because of letter I composed for my ex-wife and handed it to him and then he sent it to her attorney .. who later spoke with my attorney and said that it was a violation of the PFA (third party contact) I represented myself at the final hearing and was indeed found guilty of violating the PFA because of this letter (the judge said it was third party contact) I am preparing to sue my once Attorney (Prof. Liability Claim) but as you must know lawyers don’t like to sue lawyers and I need to find the correct lawyer.. plus I need to find the money to pay such lawyer.. I will win my case against him (well I say that but you never know) I got two weeks for that violation and got another two weeks for my ex-reading my private email in which I ask a friend/lawyer to contact her ex-husband for me… the next day I emailed this same friend and told him not to contact ex-husband and he never did contact ex-husband.. I was found guilty of this email ..which the judge said was an “intent to contact ” .. if you would like I will email you proof of what I say is 100% true…

    • If you upload images to any photo storage site and send along a URL, I could post them in this thread (FYI). If you make public any documents, redacting the plaintiff’s name would be smart.

      • I will send you copies Monday as I gave all the paper work to a new lawyer to review… no lawyer I have spoken with (only 2) can believe that I was sent to jail for those so called violations…they just shake their head and say that is Lackawanna County justice for you.

    • The TRO/PFA may as well be a death sentence. You can walk away and be free, or stay involved and be trapped. 30 days in jail, is just the beginning. If a judge even hinted at me going to jail, I would immediately adjourn the case. They can not put you in jail unless you violated the order. A judge would never put you in jail for your lawyer delivering a letter, if anything the Lawyer would be held in contempt, and his/her actions could not weigh upon you.

      That is why you have lawyers.

      So pardon me when I say you are lying. You did not spend 30 days in jail, because of intent to contact. There is no basis in law for that. If your lawyer delivered the letter that is also bullshit, My lawyer can deliver messages, in a specific frame, if I go outside of that frame, he will tell me to piss off.

      If he knowingly tells me it is okay, it does not matter. The order no matter how invalid you believe it to be, is valid. I am not saying you are wrong, I am just saying that unless you want to spend a lot of money it is not worth it. if you don’t, she can keep filing and you will keep losing. Because you won’t walk away. You want to strike back, you want to prove you are right, but you can’t You can’t win. You already have predicate acts that included incarceration,

      Think about this, if you walked away would you have done 30 days in jail?

      Was it worth it for some bitch that could care less about you? Maybe to you it is, but walk away.

      I could pay a lawyer 20k tomorrow and he would take my money and call me a dumb fuck. It is a civil case, she says she was scared, the judge has to believer her, there can be no prejudice.

      • There’s no degree of anger, distrust, or hostility arising from these games that I can’t understand and sympathize with, but let me assert categorically that two 15-day stints in jail for what a judge chooses to recognize as violations is hardly beyond comprehension. The “violations” people are jailed for sometimes have no basis in fact at all.

        In this process, allegations are treated as facts, and judges do whatever they want to do.

    • I don’t doubt you for a moment.

      Discouraging to me is that you can pour your lifeblood into writing about this stuff until you’re drained and limp, and you can do it with care and consideration, and even people who’ve been abused by process don’t fathom that there are no rules. This arena is the Wild West, and cases are decided by hanging judges who don’t have to account for their rulings to anyone. They can do and say what they want provided they don’t call people dirty names. Judges don’t dislike punishing and humiliating; it’s the opposite. They’re instructed to do it, they’re expected to do it, they’re paid to do it, and it gives them a warm, righteous flush.

      We’ve all been so brainwashed that no one says, look, there are people in Somalia who are gang-raped and hacked up or tossed still living onto blazing pyres. In what possible sniveling little universe is derailing someone’s life justified by the (non-)receipt of a letter? A l-e-t-t-e-r. America the Brave? Please. “But…it’s the law” isn’t an answer; it’s a whimper, and it’s a disgrace. That a plaintiff would even go to such lengths to have someone jailed on the basis of “intent to contact” tells you everything you need to know about that person’s motives.

      If you’re not able to manage anything more hopeful, Max, definitely file an appeal with the next highest court (the courthouse will give you the forms and instructions to apply). In my district, anyway, there’s no charge for this. If you could at least consult with an attorney before preparing your memorandum, that might be worth a lot. Otherwise, to the best of my knowledge, you’d want to cite law to the judge that says the prior judge abused his discretion and/or acted outside of his jurisdiction.


  32. Max Blake

    November 14, 2014

    As I mention several times.. I was found guilty of violating the PFA because I sent an email to a friend asking him to contact a protected person on the PFA (which he never did) I was found guilty because my “intent was to contact her ex-husband… but the PFA order doesn’t not say anything about intent.. it say no contact… so I found this case in Main about ambiguity that could help me..

    Connolly v Connolly, 2006 ME 17, ¶ 6, 892 A.2d 465, 466. In analyzing the meaning of a
    statutory provision, we first consider the plain language of the statute. Id. ¶ 6,
    892 A.2d at 466-67. Only if that language is ambiguous do we consider any other
    indicia of the Legislature’s intent in enacting the provision. L’Heureux v.
    Michaud, 2007 ME 149, ¶ 7, 938 A.2d 801, 803. Language is ambiguous if it can
    be subjected to multiple reasonable meanings. Id.

    The language of the PFA order in my opinion is not ambiguous at all… it states very clearly no contact…. it does not mention anything about intent… so according to this ruling in Maine .. the language was clear and I did not violate it by emailing a friend/lawyer to contact ex-husband because no contact was ever made.. so the PFA (statutory Provision is very clear as to what it prohibits me from doing… no ambiguity exists and the judge erred in fining me guilty of “intent to contact” .. if the authors of the PFA law wanted to included Intent to Contact as wrong they would have included it … what do you think

    • Check the circuit of appeals courts your state’s in, and see if it includes Maine. You can find this info on Wikipedia. For law you cite to a local judge, applicable sources will be rulings from your state (particularly ones from your state’s supreme court and court of appeals) and from other states in your appellate circuit. The Maine ruling doesn’t seem to do a lot for you. Better would be a ruling that says something like the trial judge should favor a literal interpretation of the statutes or that a defendant isn’t liable for unacted “intentions” to violate them. Try to get on Westlaw. It’s a prescription research service that used to be available in law libraries but disappeared from some (like my local university’s) after the economic downslide. If you can’t get access to Westlaw, Google Scholar also has a case law search engine (click “Case law”). I haven’t tried it, but it’s something. You should also try searches like “no-contact orders” + “case law,” that kind of thing. Every once in a while, you’ll come across some page assembled by an enterprising person that’s really thorough (I’ve found this kind of thing about “void” rulings and “pro se” litigations. There’s also good information out there about defense against libel suits.) Too, you might find a “domestic violence benchbook” for Pennsylvania or a “civil rules handbook.” These are references judges use themselves, and they have relevant quotations and citations in them, so you don’t have to read through cases or try to figure out the correct way to cite them (this is all a serious headache—it’s what lawyers go to law school to learn how to do).

      Make sure you meet the deadline, too, Max, to apply for the opportunity to appeal. There’s some paperwork you’ll have to file before you actually submit your appeals memorandum. A clerk at the courthouse can help you out with that.


  33. Max Blake

    November 14, 2014

    The system is completely one-sided.. Imagine if you had been convicted and spent 30 days in jail how much more difficult it will be for me to get any favorable ruling in the future..I lost my job because of it. I would like to find some legal case that speaks to “intent” I was found guilty of violating the order on “intent” only.. as no contact was ever made but have been unable to find any..In court I stated what the PFA said (read) “no contact” with ex-husband.. I told the judge and he had already read my lawyers brief that stated that there was no contact but the fix was in…. he didn’t care .. The judge found me guilty of ” intent to contact ” and that was enough for him… adding insult to injury.. My Ex-Wife only found out about me asking a friend to contact her ex-husband by reading my private email.. to which the judge said she new the password so she was entitled to read anything she wanted.. ( not true.. I never gave her the password she guessed it because I did share password for bank account with her .. that unfortunately I used that same password on other web site sign-in so she guessed it and read my emails… I think the judge is absolutely wrong in his thinking … would it be OK if she knew i kept my spare house key under the front door matt would that give her the right to enter my house and read my mail.. I don’t think so.. I need to find a case that deals with intent.. or that actual contact must be made to violate a no contact order… I did say to the judge that if there was any ambiguity in the language of the PFA it should favor the defendant as I believe it does in all other legal cases… Obviously the judge didn’t see any ambiguity in the language of the PFA (which stated no contact only ) in his opinion “intent to contact” alone is the same as contact (in his world)…
    I guess he doesn’t believe I have any First Amendment rights… plus he friend I sent the email to was acting as my lawyer.. my lawyers brief made reference to this fact and included signed copy of this contract with me…. and as this was communication between client and lawyer to should also be protected.. Judge didn’t care…. There are so many reason that I should have been found Not guilty ..
    1) No Contact was made
    2) She read my private email (cybercrime)
    3) Email was to my Attorney
    4) Ex-Husband lives in Mexico … (jurisdiction authority of USA court to include him in PFA)
    5) Ex-Husband is over 18 .. Should life his own PFA against me

    Still the judge found me guilty and off to jail I went….

    Can I say I have nothing but hate for these people as a result … the only thing that keeps me going is that I’m an idealist (as stupid as that is) and I believe that the truth does prevail that is what my father taught me and I’m teaching my children.. always tell the truth no matter what consequences… maybe I should be teaching them that lying is Ok.. I truly hate people that lie.. lies are not so easily disproven…


  34. max blake

    November 13, 2014

    Thanks again… that is what I thought but then again I could not find anything in the law that stated that.. judges jurisdiction … (A judge, furthermore, has no jurisdiction to order you not to talk to a resident of another country who’s not even an American) the only thing I could find is that a PFA can follow me all over the word… Q: I live in good old USA.. are you sure that he can not order me not to speak with somebody in another country… that is listed on the PFA.. I’m not 100% sure the judge is aware that he lives in Mexico.. and truthfully I don’t think he would care… I’m going to appeal my case and I’m trying to get as much ammunition as possible.. The crazy part is that “no contact was ever made with anybody named on the PFA even the Ex-husband in Mexico was not contacted… I did ask a friend to contact the ex-husband in Mexico but he never did… the judge said I had “intent to contact” ..her ex-husband and because of the intent he found me to have violated the PFA and sent me to jail for two weeks for that violation and to weeks for giving a letter to my lawyer to give to her lawyer that then would give it to my ex…. my ex never got the letter because her lawyer never gave it to her… but again the judge found my “intent to contact” to be a violation and gave me two weeks for that… .. What a country !!!! or what a legal system we have…

    • There should be yes-or-no answers to questions of jurisdiction, but restraining order statutes (which typically stem from state domestic violence acts legislated 20+ years ago) grant judges the latitude to play it fast and loose. If everyone could apply for a second opinion to the state court of appeals or state supreme court, this wouldn’t be the case, but most people can’t even afford a lawyer in the first place.

      For the latter reason, there are very few published appellate court rulings in this area of law, so judicial failings and excesses are invisible even to the higher courts. This is something Loyola Law School Prof. Aaron Caplan, a former staff attorney for the ACLU, has pointed out.

      Pennsylvania law (which comes from its Protection from Abuse Act) says judges may prohibit a defendant from “harassing the…plaintiff’s relatives or minor children.” Were you told you couldn’t contact anyone but the plaintiff? Does giving a letter to someone qualify as harassment? Does an ex-husband who’s a foreign national qualify as a “relative”? There’s no blood relationship, no legal relationship, and he isn’t even a U.S. citizen. Strictly speaking, the ruling seems to exceed what the law permits. What you’ve seen, though, is there’s no one looking over the judge’s shoulder (and s/he knows it). If s/he prohibited you from using the word peanuts on Thursdays, that would be absurd, but who are you going to take your plaint to if you’re arrested? You’d have to appeal. For most people, appeals are out of the question, so whatever the judge says goes.

      I’m being silly for emphasis. Most judges, obviously, aren’t going to issue an order that absurd, because that kind of thing could get them ridiculed and fired. Restraining order procedures, though, are so accelerated (and scripted) that details aren’t paid any attention. I think you’re right that the judge had no idea the ex-husband is Mexican.

      My own case exemplifies the same thing yours does. It began with some women hanging around outside of my house and whispering and giggling at work together. The restraining order was petitioned by the leader, who had hung around outside of my house for months in the dark up to and past midnight, “talking” to me for hours at a stretch. (She just appeared there one day.) The order was approved by a judge pro tem (a judicial temp), and it was later ruled “improperly issued,” because it had two plaintiffs on it. The order was meant to prohibit me from speaking to the female plaintiff’s husband (one she didn’t tell me she had), so the female plaintiff had indicated I was a “danger” to her husband and shouldn’t be allowed to approach or speak to him (or possess firearms). The judge pro tem who approved the order probably flipped through it and signed it, figuring the husband was a minor child. That’s how these quickie processes go. The next judge just took the husband (and the firearms restriction) off and let the rest of the testimony stand, which included imputations like stalking, sexual harassment, violent threat (“Will I be attacked?”), etc., all of this from someone who was outside of my residence at night and who had apparently misplaced her wedding ring—and her husband. There were repeated allegations to the police, too. The cop I interviewed with said when she tried to find me in her system, there was “nothing,” which she said was “really rare.” That didn’t matter, either. (Other people routinely report the same thing: they’d never had any conflict with the law in their lives.)

      Once one ruling sticks, everything else is pretty much a foregone conclusion unless you get a good attorney working for you. I was last in court in 2013 (self-represented) and was prohibited from publishing anything about the plaintiff or her husband. You see how this stuff stays neatly under wraps. Verdicts that rule you can’t say this or you can’t say that ensure that the process is insulated from scrutiny and criticism. And there’s no protection from a judge’s ruling any which way s/he wants except money. A judge can finesse any detail to suit his or her purposes and make the history of a “dispute” synch up neatly with prior rulings.

      And judges don’t worry about consequences to themselves for what they rule, because they know damn well it’s anything goes, and no one in authority cares. They’re absolutely immune from prosecution for misfeasance, and they’re deeply invested in appeasing the constituency that’s represented by VAWA, a $10 billion outrage to civil justice. The ACLU is identically invested (it’s a point of pride); so, too, the popular press.

      They call it “social progress.”

    • You need some perspective, a judge signed the TRO, if they tried to arrest me, I would be out in 3 hours (make a phone call get the right person). Now there is more going on here than you are saying. NO CONTACT means NO CONTACT. Screw what the law says, you read and think you know, but you don’t. This is a quasi aspect of the law. A civil court that can hand down criminal penalties, It is never going to work in your favor, because they would have to admit the whole process and the foundation of the Law is wrong. That being said, you don’t have to tell me, but you did not get 2 weeks in jail because your lawyer tried to hand another lawyer a letter. You can’t get a public defender in civil cases, and if you are paying a lawyer and he/she did that, it is on them. You are not telling the whole story. Your best argument would be, hey I am paying this guy to represent me, if he knew this was a violation why did he do it? Something is wrong here.


  35. max blake

    November 13, 2014

    I feel the pain of the poor man in CA….. there is a term for this in my opinion.. it may be a little rough for some but I think it hits the nail in the head… Cultural Prostitution !!!!


  36. max blake

    November 13, 2014

    Thank you.. and I have already experienced lies accepted as truth by the court.. It’s a Kangaroo Court.. has to your snooping into PA. law.. petitioner doesn’t have to be a member of the household (understood) but her ex-husband how lives in Mexico was not a co-petitioner on the PFA.. (I never even met or talked to him) Ex-Husband #2 was added as a person I could not have contact with…(that is what I don’t know if “he” can be added in the PFA) I understand that her place of work and children and the such… but her ex-husband who lives in Mexico… He is an adult and I would think he would have to file his own PFA against me.. just as a side note he wouldn’t do that because he doesn’t even know me and I have never given him any reason to fear me at all…. My Ex-Wife only added him to the PFA so that she could keep our up-coming divorce from him.. she did not want to risk him asking to get his children back with him in Mexico……. I don’t think you can add another adult to a PFA as a person I may not contact… if you can that person I would think must be a co-petitioner on the PFA … or something like that…

    • Yeah, that’s right. And you can’t have grown up “co-plaintiffs” (except under exceptional circumstances, e.g., the other adult is mentally or physically incapacitated). A judge, furthermore, has no jurisdiction to order you not to talk to a resident of another country who’s not even an American.

      By the way, Max, you understand that third-party contact means this, right?:

      First party (#1) = YOU
      Second party (#2) = YOUR ACCUSER
      Third party (#3) = ANYONE ELSE

      “No third-party contact” means #1 can’t contact #2 by using #3 as a go-between.

      “No third-party contact” does not mean #1 can’t contact #3.

      • In her initial order, she added 3 (adult) members of her family, and you are correct. She can’t arbitrarily add others, which is a sign the judge did not read the order. All you can really do is out spend her on legal representation. I still have recourse, but, it is not worth it. You may want to get back at her for what she did, you may want Justice, but it is not going to happen. It is a civil court, like moderator says, all she has to do is say I was scared.

        I can see why this forum was created. Unless you get a sympathetic judge, you will not get a case dismissed, even if every aspect of the law points in your favor. Search the databases, talk to people, and you will find almost everyone you know, had or knows someone with a TRO filed against them.


  37. max blake

    November 13, 2014

    Question: The PFA order that was issued on me included that I could not have contact with my soon to be ex-wife’s 2nd. husband.. who lives and has always lived in Mexico. .. I would think that a US court (judge) has no legal right to prevent me from speaking to somebody that doesn’t even live in this country.. further more he is an Ex-husband … I don’t see the legal connection that a PFA demands 9as to who is protected under PFA) to extend to ex-husbands.. when the PFA was files by my wife against me… ?

    • I’ll look into this and reply to your comments soon, Max. Generally (that is, legally), restraining orders can only forbid a defendant from talking to one adult (the plaintiff). Kids are exceptions to this rule, but to prohibit an adult from contacting another adult, the other adult would have to apply to the court for protection himself. The case that’s before the Georgia Supreme Court right now (Chan v. Ellis) concerns this at its core: Judges do whatever they want in this arena, and there’s no accountability.

    • FYI, the same day you commented about your case, a California man added this to the e-petition “End Restraining Order Abuses”:

      My “wife” said she loved me, but it turns out she only married me for a green card. When she no longer had any use for me, she filed for a TRO making outlandish and laughable claims. I was forced to move out of my home and leave all my belongings behind. Over my objections, and in violation of my Due Process rights, the judge continued the hearing for nearly 45 days since I was served.


  38. max blake

    November 12, 2014

    I would certainly welcome your help in putting an article on my case..and the abuse of power by the judge & Assistant District Attorney .. There is more to this sorry that I would be more than willing to share with you.. Before I met my ex-wife a PA Senators office got involved in trying to help her get her visa.. (Q: why does a US Senator or his office get involved in helping a woman that lied on her immigration visa (she said that she and children were entering the country as Tourist .. NOT TRUE : her children had already been enrolled in our local high school and she was working and getting paid under the table).. is a question that no Senator wants to be asked at a press conference..or read about in a news paper… I live in a area were judicial and political misconduct is the norm (my you have heard of the Case coined Kids for Cash… that was in Luzern County which is our neighing county.. I will have not look getting my local paper to print anything about my case.. They will not rock the boat..but I would love my case to be read by as many people as possible.. I can and will provide documentation ….

    • I did read about that case, yeah. I think there’s a link to it here.

      A newspaper could name your accuser and would interview her and others. To limit my own liability, I couldn’t name your accuser, and my resources are such that all I could do is tell your story.

      I snooped around Pennsylvania’s statutes a little today. A PFA doesn’t require that the petitioner share a household with the accused at the time the petition is filed.

      If you’re curious what authorizes the court to act on bullsh*t, here’s an example of the Pennsylvania case law that’s used:

      Karch v. Karch, 885 A.2d 535 (Pa. Super. 2005).

      The court determines a witness’s credibility and may infer fear based on the witness’s testimony describing the defendant’s actions. The court will not infer that the failure of police to act on a report of domestic violence means that the victim is not credible.

      In other words, the court determines what’s true or false based on what it wants to believe. It doesn’t have to know that what’s described really happened. It gets to “decide” what the truth is—literally based on nothing but the fact that accusations were made. This is all in accordance with the law.

      For example, I lie to the court: “Max hit me in the face, and I’m afraid of him.” The court parrots: “You hit him in the face, and we infer a reasonable basis for him to be afraid of you.” If I’m someone the court wants to find “credible,” it’s like I’m a ventriloquist. I say it, and it comes out of the mouth of the man or woman in the black robe. If the court wants to abuse you, and I want it to, all I have to do is provide it with some words to quote: “Max kicked me in the [X],” “Max told me he wished I were dead,” “Max slashed my tires while I watched helplessly,” “Max pinched my daughter’s bottom.” No injury has to be substantiated, no statements or events have to be recorded or witnessed, and I can destroy my own property and pin it on you. The police may investigate and find no evidence of anything. That doesn’t matter, either. This is all in accordance with the law.

      A judge can’t make up allegations, but s/he can presto turn any allegation someone else makes into “the truth” and take your identity and even your life from you. What’s true is whatever a judge chooses to infer.

      And as you’ve probably guessed, s/he’s been told what s/he’s supposed to infer.


  39. Max Blake

    November 11, 2014

    I have a question and I hope you can help.. I married a Mexican woman that I met on in March and married her in April (30 days) .. After I paid for their immigration papers and they received them November of same year (2013) she told be the marriage was over on January 6 2014, (by the way we never lived together) but she suggested we could stay married for the next 2 years so that she could apply and get her permanent visa … from January to March I tried to see if we could save the marriage.. she wanted no part.. so at that point I told her that if there was no hope in saving the marriage I would look to get a divorces .. The next thing I know April 30th 2014 (our anniversary) rolls along and she filed a PFA against me.. (Immigration law will only grant a permanent visa in a divorce is if there is abuse.. … So the PFA was filed against me and I hired a lawyer to defend me.. my attorney advised me to accept the 6 month PFA.. and just call it a day.. (I really did not want to but I did) .. The PFA included her, her three children and her ex-husband #2 that lives in Mexico.. it also included no third party contact… …In June 25th I sent a message via Facebook message to a friend to contact her ex-husband in Mexico and let him know what was going on between Her & I… The next day I contacted this same friend and told him not to contact her ex-husband in Mexico because I could go to jail… Long and short …. the ex-husband was “never contacted” by anybody…
    In July I wrote a letter to my soon to be ex-wife which said basically that I did not want to give up on the marriage and thought we should try and save it… I gave this letter to my attorney who then gave it to her attorney….
    Unbeknown to be my soon to be ex-wife had been hacking to my facebook password protected account and was reading all my messages and making photocopies of them (I never gave her my facebook password .. I did give her other password / bank account and such.. that unfortunately I used the same password on facebook.. so she guessed it).. she In May, June and July she logged into my facebook password over 620 times… SHe then proceeded to give copies of my private messages to her attorney and the District Attorney…

    The District Attorney charged me with violating the PFA.. two account.. 1) asking my friend to contact her ex-husband in Mexico (which he was never contacted) and 2) the letter I gave my attorney to give to her attorney.. (her attorney never gave my letter to my ex-wife) but ex-wife knew of this “letter” because she was reading my private text message with my friend .

    I fired my attorney because I could no longer afford to pay him plus I was not happy with his legal skills or advise …. I So I represented myself in court… The judge found me guilty of both violation and sentenced me to 15 days for each violation .. and off to jail I went…

    I must add that this occurred in Scranton , Lackawanna Country PA.. (a county with questionable legal process)

    I know I have a legal case against my Attorney (he should have know that sending my letter to her attorney was third party contact and a violation) …
    1) Q: should I be but in jail for his mistake?
    2) Q: My ex-wife reading my private message .. not sent to her and nobody contact her ex-husband .. should not be a PFA violation…. (I think I should be protected by the First Amendment and I thought the to violate a PFA .. there had to be contact.. just me asking somebody to do something is not actual violation or contact… ..

    I would welcome and thoughts you may have.. I just got out of jail 10/29/2014

    • The first thing to understand about this process is rulings are answerable to no standard except judicial discretion. This means a judge can decide whatever s/he wants, and she’s not accountable for his or her decision unless it’s way out of bounds. So saying anything that a judge rules is categorically right or categorically wrong under the law is impossible, because the law grants a judge the freedom to decide what s/he thinks is “appropriate”—up to the point, that is, that his or her decision contradicts the law or violates it.

      Here’s how you might have a case: Reading the law literally, “third-party contact” must be actual contact (not mere “intent” to contact). That means if you ask someone to contact the plaintiff AND that person does contact the plaintiff as your representative, you’ve committed a violation of the order. It’s not enough to satisfy a literal interpretation of the law, however, if you simply ask someone to do something, and no contact is made. The point of the order was to prohibit contact. If there was no contact, then the judge may well have exceeded his or her discretion (and possibly his or her jurisdiction) in sanctioning you.

      A judge in these cases has complete freedom to act within the letter of the law but no freedom to act against it. Orders (and presumably sanctions arising from them) can be reversed upon a showing of “clear abuse of discretion.”

      You’d have to appeal or move for a new trial on that basis, and to do that successfully, you’d assuredly need a lawyer’s help. Also, you’d have to find out what this could possibly gain you since you’ve already done the time for the so-called violations. It might only mean you could get the violations wiped.

      Again you’d have to talk to a lawyer qualified in this area of law, but perhaps a new trial or appeal using “abuse of discretion” as its basis could also be used to (belatedly) attack the order itself, which was obviously exploited by its petitioner to gain citizenship. (This is reportedly done often, incidentally. See “Domestic Violence-Related Immigration Fraud.” You’re, I think, the fourth man who’s reported it here.) That you never even lived together makes the whole thing absurd. It may also mean the PFA is “void.” Consult Pennsylvania’s PFA laws and see if “cohabitation” is a requirement for qualification (laws vary state to state).

      A judgment that’s “void” can be vacated (cancelled out) at any time. “Void” means the judge had no jurisdiction (no legal authority) to rule as s/he did in the first place.

      You could also ask the attorney if there’s some reasonable means to recover from your previous attorney for malpractice (dereliction) or if that malpractice could alternatively be grounds for a new trial or an appeal.

      I wonder if the matchmaking website you mention is used intentionally as a honeypot to snare the unsuspecting (the whole thing could have been plotted from the start). It would make a good journalistic exposé.

      If that’s something you’d be interested in pursuing down the line, let me know. I’d be glad to work up a piece to post here about your case that you could show a local writer. This is such a gray area and such a political hot potato that journalists tend to shy away, which is why this stuff is tolerated. There’s lot of heat from feminists and their loyalists and sympathizers, and the defiant get burned.

  40. my ex boyfriend is military (we live in Arizona) and I got an order of protection granted against him a couple of months ago. My questions are: when he has a background check on him (for military schools or in general) will the order always come up even if he lives in another state? and two: will it come up on his background check forever or just while the order is active?

    • Because the order is preserved in the FBI’s NCIC (National Crime Information Center) database, it will pop up on background checks, regardless of what state he resides in, and record of it won’t be removed from the database unless the court orders it to be removed.

      • so when the order expires next year and he gets a bc done will it not show because the order has expired -or- will it come up but show that it is no longer active?

        • It will come up and show as no longer active.


          • kirkronald1

            November 11, 2014

            how to get a response from a question i have?

            • There aren’t live operators standing by. You have to check back by looking at the post or page you replied to. You can also reply to replies, creating a topical “thread.” Too, you can attach an email address to a comment so you’ll know if someone responds to it.

          • thank you! this is the weird thing about Arizona. he had two week to contest it but he can call a hearing at anytime while the order is active. I plan on moving back home which is in another state. if he finds this out can he try and fight the order by saying im out of state so I don’t need it anymore?

            • No, not really, but if he knew you moved, I guess he could time the hearing so that you’d have to drive or fly back to Arizona for the hearing. The way these orders work, if you take a copy to a courthouse in the state you move to, the clerk will enter it in their system just as if it had been come from that state.

  41. unsure if you still read replies, I am going to pose this question to my attorney as well. I hired a lawyer to fight the Restraining order, my lawyer spoke to my ex about a civil agreement, during that time she told him that I had a restraining order issued against me in another State, which is not true, I believe she may have told the Court and Legal Advocate the same thing. In a reasonable system, I would think this would obviously be slander, but from what I saw in the courtroom, I don’t know.

    • Lies, if they’re screamingly obvious and offensive, may move a judge to frown. Nothing on the record preserved for posterity will say the plaintiff lied. She won’t be sanctioned or prosecuted. And if you litigated (sued her), sympathy from a judge, even one so exceptional s/he would admit recognizing lies, would be skeletal or none.

      On the other hand, suing can sometimes be rewarding even when the judge is useless. “Slander” is a civil tort you would allege in a lawsuit.

      • I am starting to believe I overpaid for my legal representation, she initially agreed to a civil agreement, the judge talked her out of it, the lawyer the firm sent suggested she talk to a legal advocate. That back fired, I do believe he believed I lied to him. Why would he believe the Plantiff? I have really come to believe this process is so biased it is almost not worth fighting. What I do know is the order as it stands is invalid, but from what I understand, she can just go and refile another order. Keeping the slander aspect in my pocket so I can sue her if she mentions it in court. In theory, I am right, but in practice, like you (and many others) have stated she just has to say she was scared. We had a decade long relationship, no violence, I have no criminal record, never a call to the police for any reason. I have read almost all of the laws pertaining to this and it is basically a bunch of nonsense, that has no impact on the outcome.

        • When you start tweezing at the corners, it all reveals itself to be an elaborate rhetorical net. The surface is slickly glazed with forbidding images of violence and brutality to women, so people quickly look away, and nobody probes beneath. Cathy Young is the only journalist out there who’s doggedly tried to expose the depths. Most writers mouth the programmed rhetoric: “Restraining orders enable victims to redress violations committed by abusers.

          The net will never catch you if no one points a finger in your direction. Judges can’t act without instigation. Once upon a time, this instigation required some degree of investigation by state agents. Allegations of crimes were vetted by police officers and public attorneys. Restraining orders allow this instigation to come from a private litigant (any adult citizen). All that’s required to furnish the court with motive and authority to act is pointing that finger (an act realized by filling out a form or two and having a brief tête-à-tête with a judge).

          Sentiment has so been conditioned over the past three or four decades that whenever someone points a finger (especially a woman), it’s assumed there’s a valid reason.

          Judges, moreover, are licensed to act according to their (conditioned) feelings, that is, according to their “discretion,” which literally means “freedom to choose.” They can do what they want, legally. Judges are “trained” how to rule under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), so their “freedom to choose” isn’t really free; they’re coerced. The “National Institute of Justice” (an agency of the federal government) awards money to researchers (feminist academics) to compile statistics to influence judges with. This is all done transparently, but no one ever questions the corruption; it’s all official.

          The whole thing’s a cat’s cradle. You follow one turn of the string, thinking there’s an end to be found, and it just leads you in a circle.

          It all looks plausibly fair, though, to the casual observer: defendants are allowed a hearing (minutes long in the same court that approved the order in the first place based on a brief chat), defendants can appeal to a higher court for free (typically with a single memorandum reviewed by a judge who doesn’t consider the case from scratch), and defendants can go on appealing to the highest court in the state (provided they have infinite resources to invest in contesting some idle allegations made in five minutes).

          The reality is there’s no accountability whatever and every motive to railroad defendants through. Reinforcing the established dogma is politically and financially rewarding for everyone who “matters.”

          If someone with the means to buck the system gets caught in the net, like David Letterman, s/he’s set free—and s/he’s usually just glad to have dodged the bullet. Then the popular press swoops in and paints the case as a bizarre anomaly.

          • She did hire a Lawyer, I think she realizes the merit of her application is weak (thanks to the legal advocate). Now my lawyer is talking to her lawyer about a civil restraint. I have no rights, it is a joke. Doesn’t matter if she is lying, slandering, or libeling me, let it go, or she will just keep filing. I probably could have walked in on my own to get the same result. I have completely lost faith in the system.

            • I have read a lot more, my lawyer is a moron, here is what I have to say. Read the entire Law for your state. The court itself violated the Law (as written). In NJ you cannot mediate Domestic Violence issues, so basically any agreement we make is not valid. The case can not be dismissed with prejudice. The court was so supposed to provide me with some form of counsel, to at least identify me and my concerns. So I am not going to accept the civil restraint. I am not going to just back off. I will in regards to any contact, but legally, I am going to hire another lawyer or pursue the issue on my own. Lawyer either lied to me, or does not know the law

              • More power to you, Walter. I’m glad this is an option for you—for most, it isn’t—and I hope it rewards you.

                • My case was dismissed with a civil agreement/restraint. I was pretty much informed any action I take, no matter how legitimate it is, could be construed as harrassment. A judge that saw nothing but the (invalid TRO) chastised me and told me how lucky I was. I wanted to say okay, let’s take this to trial, but that was pride. I have no intention of interacting with the woman again, and as much as I would love to see her lie her ass off in court, I know chances are they would believe her.

                  It doesn’t matter what you know, I could get her fired, but if I do that it is harrassment. I could get 2 of her nephews investigated/arrested for illegally transferring and delivering fire arms, but you know what? It would be harrassment. The judge that signed the TRO, is a friend of her family, slitting my own throat if I mention it. And the best part, everyone involved, really does not have a clue. Our agreement can not be accepted by the court, but it was.

                  Her burden of proof is to say she was scared. No violence, no abuse, no calls to the police, no history of anything. Her Brother in Law knows a judge, (out of the area) she calls, and 2 minutes later gets the TRO. Then you are guilty until proven innocent.

                  I want to impart some information. In NJ, the woman enters the building, she is told where to go, she speaks with a legal advocate. She is the put in a ‘safe’ area. When the male arrives, he is told to wait by a door, no one tells him he has to check in. When you figure out you have to check in, you go to another area, you give them your name, they look it up, at this point, they are supposed to advise you of your rights and ask of your intentions and give you advice relating to your case. Which they do not do.

                  They eventually come over to where you are waiting and call you (usually in small groups). You get to the courtroom, if you have a lawyer and she doesn’t forget it, your day is shot. They send her back down to the legal advocate, for a good hour to 90 minutes. When she returns, the judge will not allow her to defend herself. Especially if no violence or predicate acts are alleged. They adjourn the case for one week.

                  She gets a lawyer, her lawyer tells her she has no case. Tells her a civil agreement is the best resolution. The 2 Lawyers talk and everything is agreed upon when you get back to court. But, I am already guilty of something (who knows what?). The Judge sends her back to the legal advocate, even though she has a lawyer well known to the court, this time for 2 hours. Her Lawyer has already explained (to her) she has no case, if it goes to trial she will lose, and her only option will be to refile, and chances are she will lose that as well, because the original order was flawed, and her complaint is invalid.

                  They call you up. Swear you in. I have to keep my mouth shut, because once you are involved with this, you are best served not saying a damned thing, no matter how right you are, no matter how wrong she is, You say the wrong thing the judge can put you in jail. Civil court my ass. It is a criminal proceeding with a different burden of proof.

                  The Judge did not see any evidence, heard no testimony, and went off on me like I was a child abuser that got off on a technicallity. All you can do is sit there and say yes Maam

                  In NJ Restraining orders are permanent. You are fingerprinted and entered into a criminal database. While the law does provide for recourse against spurious orders, it is NJ you better know someone higher up than they do.

                  The moral of the story, read the law, see a lawyer and quiz him/her on it, forget what you think you know, because the Judge does not care about the law, they have an obligation to defend the alleged victim. Even if the victim is obviously lying, they get the benefit of the doubt.

                  Retribution cases will be seen as harrassment, even if justified.

                  Reporting criminal actions by her family, will be seen as harrassment

                  Reporting stalking by her or her family, you better have video and witnesses

                  do not take any phone calls if she tries to contact you, (phone calls are traps and even if you record them you are screwed)

                  In my case I need to retrieve items from the place, only use a lawyer or the police, no matter how long it takes. Never break down and contact her.

                  You will end up in jail and just prove her invalid point.


  42. kirkronald1

    October 26, 2014

    why is it next to impossible for a man to obtain a elder restraining order and a woman can get one like they were passing out free candy bars?

    • This search term brought someone here today: “how to beat lies on a restraining order.” The honest answer is this: by lying better than the accuser.

      To put it a different way, judges aren’t paid to think or be wise or anything like that. They’re paid to do a job according to a set of (sometimes complex) rules. With respect to restraining orders, the rule is NOT that they can only be awarded to the truthful. The rule is that if someone says, “I’m afraid for my safety,” a judge may award a restraining order.

      It doesn’t matter if the person is lying; the law doesn’t care and doesn’t say anything about awarding restraining orders only to the honest or the sane.

      It says judges can use their discretion. That discretion has been conditioned (and hired) to accept allegations of danger (especially from women) as fact.



    October 26, 2014



  44. Distressed

    October 11, 2014

    My son’s ex-girlfriend filed a civil stalking protection order against me. She told my son that if he had never left her and moved out of their apartment she wouldn’t have filed. They don’t have children or pets. He just wanted to move on with his life. She is a text book narcissist and I have been her “target” for the past year. With the CPO in hand she shows up at places she knows I will be and calls the police to try to get me arrested. Luckily, so far the police can see what she is doing and haven’t arrested me. When the court date comes up she doesn’t show and the case is dismissed. She then goes and files a new CPO to keep the cycle going. I tried to get a CPO protection order against her but the magistrate denied it because I helped him move out of his apartment. I drove my van to transport his stuff. This was before any allegations or the cpo. I’m not sure how to present evidence to stop the cycle if she doesn’t show up to court. I feel like I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. She knows everywhere I go.


    • Distressed

      October 11, 2014

      cont… my son’s girlfriend also filed a domestic abuse cpo against my son, again telling him that he shouldn’t have left her. He hasn’t been served yet, They keep missing him. She calls my son constantly, stringing him along with the idea that she “might” let it go. He’s taking her out to eat, giving her money, staying the night with her. Hoping that she’ll let it go. All that and yet two hearing dates for him have come and gone with her showing up at both his hearings asking for a continuance because he hasn’t been served. And in case I didn’t mention it, on the newest cpo she filed against me 3 days ago, she stated my son and I continue to stalk her and she fears for her life. Incredible. My son is still holding out some misguided hope that she’ll let everything go. I don’t see a good end to this. When she’s tired of playing this game she’s either going to bury my son with a solid protection order or up the ante with a criminal case. My son is shell shocked and confused. I’m staying away from my son at this point because his actions could damage my defense. If I didn’t mention it before, I’m my son’s mother. My son is 23 and his girlfriend is 20.

      My original question was, how can I present my evidence if the petitioner doesn’t show up for court? If I don’t show up, since I was served I will by default, get a 1-5 year protection order. If she doesn’t show up the case is dismissed without prejudice and she is allowed to refile a cpo. This has happened twice. Sorry for the long rant…

      • There’s often no way of saying these things succinctly, which is much of the difficulty of making them clear to other people. (I just published something like my 203rd post.)

        The nutters are the worst when they comprehend how easily these processes are abused. Accusers don’t even have to be that plausible (judges meet with them for about five minutes), but these people often are very persuasive and organized. Count on your accuser to have everything she’s accused you of tidily filed away, stapled, and copied in triplicate. And even though someone like her knows she’s lying, her lies seem to her a reasonable facsimile of the “real” truth, so she sounds truthful. Judges don’t even bat an eye.

        No offense to you as a member of the same sex, but “women scorned” are the most determined nutters of all. I think of their shenanigans as estrogen road rage. Some victims report that they’re ousted from their homes based on false allegations after saying they want to break up. While they’re out of the house, the accuser destroys everything they own. The law doesn’t care. The statutes don’t acknowledge that this kind of thing happens. Tell a cop and s/he may sympathize but won’t do anything about it. (This even goes on between sisters and moms and daughters: “the female is much deadlier than the male.”) Once that order’s in place, brains shut down and everyone averts his eyes.

        What you’re seeing is that whoever’s first up the courthouse steps is believed. To me, you should be able to prove stalking, because this woman pops up everywhere you go. Her reports to the police are actually confirmations that she’s hounding you. But it’s a simple matter for her to say that the opposite is true. She was there; you showed up.

        I would tell the judge the truth, anyhow. I don’t see why your helping your son move would invalidate your allegations of stalking. If someone’s following you around, so what if you helped your son get away from that person?

        Document everything. Your son should get records of every phone call, especially the ones subsequent to the restraining order’s being petitioned. There’s absolutely no legitimate reason a petitioner should be calling a defendant. If he’s “dating” her besides, find receipts, chart a timeline, etc. Build a case like a cop would.

        You’re right to be anxious, because the truth is no matter how compelling your case is, these things are ruled on by coin toss (and the coin often has two faces). You have to hope you get a self-respecting judge.

        Hire an attorney if it’s possible. Attorneys are instant credibility boosters, and they know their way around courtrooms. Otherwise be very forthright and assertive as you have been here would be my thought. I can tell you a lot of times people are so unnerved by false allegations that they go into court stammering and bewildered—and the court’s happy to perceive this as proof of guilt. I’ve even talked on the phone with a very mild-mannered guy who was all but reduced to tears. People like him try to explain things reasonably, and judges gleefully torch them to cinders.

        Your puzzlement makes sense. Definitely you should show for the hearing. If she doesn’t show, the order probably will just be dismissed. The judge won’t be interested in your testimony, because to his or her way of thinking, it won’t matter. S/he’s not going to appreciate that this woman can just start the whole thing over again (and again and again). You could try to impress this concern upon him or her, I guess, and trot out all of this person’s allegations and just say she’s guided by malice not fear.

        It might be possible, alternatively, to file a “motion to dismiss” with the court in which you lay this evidence out. The judge might read it.

        To elucidate some of this for you, judges are told things like stalking often starts when couples break up. Then they’re quoted some alarming statistics and maybe even shown some pictures of bruised and battered women or informed of the events of actual cases in which women were attacked or killed. So when this person told a judge that she was being stalked after “breaking up” (she may even have said she told your son to clear out), a little cog fell into place in the judge’s brain. That’s how robotic this business is.

        Most of the battle is urging judges to override their conditioning. As a woman, you stand a much better chance of getting clear of this than your son.

        You really need to apply for a restraining order yourself (again). Following someone is harassment. Filing false reports with the police is harassment. Threats are harassment. Keeping someone in a constant state of anxiety is harassment.

        In fact, it’s terrorism.

        And what this woman is doing with your son (the yo-yo game) may even qualify as criminal coercion (extorting someone to do something you want).

        All of this gets overlooked when court process is the tool of threat—just as defamatory statements (public lies that attack someone’s character) are made “okay” when they’re called “testimony.” People sue for defamation and are told they can’t. People sue for perjury and are told they can’t. People sue to have the lies expunged from their records and are told they can’t.

        Any chance you could afford to at least consult with an attorney? That alone might be worth considering. Maybe you and your son could even get a two-fer.

      • I put up a post about your son’s case, FYI (“BLACKMAIL: Using Restraining Orders to Extort and Punish”).


        • Distressed

          October 16, 2014

          Thank you for your response. It feels like terrorism. My whole family is in shock behind this. Me and my son are meeting with an attorney today. This is the earliest appointment we could get. The court date is less than a week away. I’m not sure how much we’ll be able to prepare. This whole ordeal is unbelievable

  45. I have a restraining against me who filed it keeps coming to where i live at. What can i do?

    • I’ll reply at length later, Mel. Quick response, though: document everything. Take dated photos or video, and accumulate any other evidence you can (without, of course, confronting the plaintiff or violating the terms of the court’s order).

    • This isn’t an uncommon complaint, Mel. Some people are doggedly stalked by those who petition restraining orders against them.

      At least one person I’ve corresponded with was driven to move someplace his accuser couldn’t find him to avoid her endlessly petitioning for new restraining orders. She bounced around from shelter to shelter, living off the state’s dime, and never had an address he could use to request an order against her. She was an invisible sniper.

      This costs an accuser nothing to do, while if the accused lets his guard down even once, the order sticks with him forever.

      In your case, a complaint you filed with the police would probably lead to nothing. If it’s within your means, consider talking to an attorney and getting his or her advice. Otherwise you might consider applying for a restraining order of your own. You’d probably have to have some proof of the person’s looming around your residence (photos, video, that kind of thing, preferably with a time stamp). Because of VAWA, many states make it very difficult for a restraining order defendant to get a restraining order against his or her accuser (if they don’t disallow “cross-petitions,” they don’t get any money from Uncle Sam). If you open a separate case (don’t try to piggyback the orders), it may be possible, though.

      See this post:

      “Can I Get a Restraining Order against the Same Person Who Got One on Me?”

      Take great care not to be baited into responding to your accuser, incidentally. The restraining order against you doesn’t prohibit him or her from doing anything. The brunt of the blame for a violation of the order (contact) would fall on you (even if the contact were in the vicinity of your house). People are baited with emails, phone calls, and texts, too. I’ve even been told they answer the phone to hear their accusers say, “Gotcha!”

      Because the process is free and caters to people with malicious intentions, they treat it like a game.

  46. if it does not specify in an order of protection, how far away does someone have to stay from you?

    • There’s no specific distance according to the law. A judge may include a minimum distance limitation if there’s a reason, but the law itself just uses phrases like “stay away” and “not approach.”

      A resource that will tell you everything about Arizona restraining orders is here.

      • Thank you. Now with the order will it always show on a background check or just show while the order is active?

        • So far as I know, indefinitely. You should know, too, that employers may specifically ask employees or prospective employees if they have “ever been the subject of a restraining order,” that kind of thing. This means even if traces of a restraining order were invisible, the honest person is still going to get tripped up.

          • So when my ex gets a check run they will just see that one is issued but no longer active?

            With the military can they request a copy of the order if they want to?

            • That sounds right, yes. I would imagine the military could access this information. It has its own courts and even its own protection orders, but I’d be surprised if it weren’t deemed important for the military to know if its servicemen and -women are issued restraining orders.

            • Because of this law, the military would probably have to be informed of the protection order, at least during the term of its effectiveness (and once it knows, it knows):

              “There is an ‘official use exemption’ to the § 922(g)(8) prohibition that allows law enforcement and military personnel who are subject to a current protection order to possess their service weapon while on duty. For the exemption to apply, the personnel must be authorized or required to receive or possess a duty weapon to perform their official duties. The authorization must be pursuant to federal, state or local statute, regulation, or official departmental policy. 18 U.S.C. § 925(a)(1). The official use exemption does not apply to any personal firearms.”

  47. if an order or protection is public record how come I cannot find it on the court website?

    • I did public access to case history search and it was not on there

      • so the court said that orders of protection are not public access they are restricted. what is up with that?

        • Basically, Krystyna, you’re talking about people with limited info who may not know what you’re asking. Court staff have probably had some kind of training seminar about “protection orders and policy” They could think you’re asking if your personal information is publicly available. It shouldn’t be.

          What are you trying to find out? Also, what state are you in?

    • Policies are going to vary. Double-check that you’ve got the right courthouse website. Most places have multiple local courts (city, county, etc.).

      • when I called the clerk checked and she said that the order of protection is restricted not public access (but when my friend got a DUI that is public access).However, it WILL show up on background check that is run on him. I’m in Arizona

        • That sounds right. You’re concerned more about exposure to him than yourself? In Arizona, anything can be undone later on provided the person who brought the claim is willing to cooperate. Basically, if his employer is the United States government, there’s no “hiding” it. If you don’t broadcast the order, then you may be able to limit exposure.

          One of the misconceptions government has even when it thinks it protects the privacy of those accused on restraining orders is that accusers can still tell anyone, distribute copies of orders to anyone, etc., and some accusers are pathological attention-seekers (“Look at me! Listen to me! Fill my voids!”).

          You’re concerned about the reputation of the defendant. Some accusers, though, crave attention and tell friends, strangers, family, and others and even have their employers provide them with special protection. These people, who often lie pathologically, want everyone to know “what they’ve been through” so they’re on everyone’s mind and they get special recognition and sympathy.

          I know of a pathological liar who has actually used something like this to persuade a psychiatrist that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result. She’s used court process to gain attention for many, many years by lying chronically.

          • I was just confused because I was told at first the order IS public record and now I was told it’s not. His employer is the government. He is also in the army (like another girl posted on here) so the army can see everything, regardless if it is concealed or not? Some know about the order on a need to know basis and of course family. My job knows about it because he cannot be there at anytime, even if I’m not.

            Question though: I work at a financial institution and even though he banks there he would not go .5miles away to the other branch. when the judge asked if it would be in his best interest to go to the other branch he sat there for a minute straight and did not say anything. she asked him again and he did not respond; his CO was behind him and told my ex to say yes and he didn’t. When the judge finally asked him the last time would it be in his best interest to stay away from my branch he responded “I don’t believe that is a yes or no answer.” did the judge consider that stalking?

            I’ve had a few people call him a narcissist

            • I don’t know the details or the conduct complained of. It could be he felt indignant. Judges like rubbing men’s noses in it, and servicemen take that as hard or harder than anyone. It’s like being scolded by mommy.

              What is it you’ve considered “stalking” or “violence” or whatever the case is?

              • I figured stalking was showing up at ones work all the time, following them, being around their residence. More or less “watching” someone.

                I asked him not to come into my work because it made me uncomfortable and he refused to go to the other branch in town. When the judge asked him about not going in he wouldn’t respond. He was just silent then said it wasn’t a yes or no answer.

                so when you said there is no “hiding” it even though the public cant see it the military can?

            • I thought about it, Krystyna, and what your ex meant is that the judge wasn’t really asking him a yes-or-no question. She was using a rhetorical question to scold him. He was supposed to say yes (and hang his head in shame). Judges often enjoy shaming. Maybe your ex is a bad guy and had it coming to him, but I respect him for not taking the bait. The judge should have just said, “You’ll have to use the other branch.”

              Your ex is clearly an intelligent and dignified man, and intelligence and dignity could be traits of a narcissist, yes. Image is vital to a narcissist. This can mean s/he has high career ambitions. But I’ve also known one who didn’t. This person didn’t trot out her accomplishments to impress people; she fawned and doted and used her sexuality to entice. She played up other people’s accomplishments to get them to like her. I would imagine that if your ex were a narcissist, he would take great pride in his accomplishments and be very fond of tokens of accomplishment—ribbons, trophies, certificates, degrees, etc.

              Think about the narcissist as someone who’s empty and needs externals to feel complete, like attention and the good esteem of others (or their fear) or like things that speak to his or her importance or accomplishment. (A narcissist who doesn’t have these things, incidentally, will “dope” him- or herself with fiction. S/he’ll feed fantasies. S/he’ll lose herself in stories about heroes or superheroes or supernatural super-beings—or, in the case of women, especially, in stories about epic romance.)

              Narcissists are drawn to power (potency). This may be actual power to dominate or power in the form of talent, skill, charisma, or attractiveness (beauty/handsomeness). Since they’re political animals, and the military is very political (it’s about rank and authority), I can imagine a narcissist being drawn to the service, especially if he didn’t come from a background of privilege (or were following a role model).

              An across-the-board characteristic of someone with a (“Cluster-B”) personality disorder is blaming. I’ve known two narcissists personally, one all of my life. My experience—and you can use this as a checklist, maybe—is that the narcissist will be very enchanted with new people (talk about them, flirt with them, sometimes deify them) and will make you feel small by comparison. You’ll feel no sense of loyalty. You’ll feel slighted, even betrayed. Then, when the shine wears off, narcissists will criticize the people they formerly exalted, perhaps even talk about them like they’re disgusting, pathetic, treacherous, or the lowest of the low. They’ll find all sorts of reasons to blame them, all sorts of things that are wrong about them, name all sorts of ways they should be better than they are.

              (You see why they don’t make great spouses, parents, or siblings.)

              The narcissist may also do this to the person s/he’s in a “committed” relationship with, which is why there are so many websites about narcissism. I’ve never seen violence from a narcissist, because the ones I’ve known have been female, but I’ve heard it mentioned by others. I can imagine a male narcissist threatening violence, using his size to intimidate. Female narcissists’ preferred method is poison (and male narcissists poison, too). They poison others’ opinions, badmouth and disparage their targets, and enlist allies to their way of seeing things. These allies may also criticize or look down on the person whom the narcissist has badmouthed. This is a way to exercise power. My impression, based on my personal experience with female narcissists, is that the narcissist likes to see her power realized through the actions of others. The male version may be somewhat different, but he’ll still probably have “allies.”

              In relationships, narcissists will have a hard time giving. I don’t just mean in the touchy-feely sense; I mean they may have a hard time giving gifts, that kind of thing. When they do, it may be very moving or seem very inspired, so it will stand out, and you’ll feel special. In contrast, they’ll expect you to be constantly attentive to them.

              If the abuse you’ve experienced is anything like what I’ve described, the diagnosis might be right. Also, you’re smart to get this person out of your life.

              I’ve talked with you about vacating the restraining order down the road, because you’ve expressed concerns about its effects on your ex’s career prospects, etc. If he is a narcissist, take care how you proceed and be very deliberate (think things out like a chess player). Leverage will keep a person like this in check; no leverage means no power. And for the narcissist, it’s all about power (holding the high card).

              Narcissists are very magnetic. If you think you’re feeling conflicted because you have unresolved feelings, then hold firm. If your ex is a narcissist, he’s not going to be motivated to change if you buckle. He’ll just count it a triumph.

              Too, if he is a narcissist, chances are something like a restraining order isn’t going to faze him like it would you or me. The narcissist doesn’t get “slayed by shame.” S/he keeps on trucking to the end of the line. A narcissist would just say you’re crazy or lying, and since s/he’s usually a favorite of the influential people around him or her, it works.

              You see why narcissists can be on either side of legal process. They say whatever suits their interests.

              My thought would be to decide if the shoe fits, and if it does, don’t beat yourself up, because he won’t be beating himself up.

  48. I got a restraining order granted against my ex boyfriend and so far only family and Co workers knew about it. If I start telling my friends and he finds out can I get in trouble?

    • The restraining order is a public record and doesn’t place any restrictions on what you do or say. If the court hasn’t told you not to do something, then you’re under no prohibition. I don’t know the situation, so I can’t comment on whether your telling friends is a good idea or not. Whether it’s necessary or wise is something you’d have to decide yourself. Talking about the order in a very public way—for example, on social media—might not be wise, because besides being cruel it could be grounds for your ex-boyfriend to complain to the court himself. So might be badmouthing him to his superiors, that kind of thing. If your motives for talking about the order privately among people you know are safety or understanding, that’s one thing. Some people’s motives are vengeful. Those motives can be dangerous, because they can exacerbate the volatile emotions that court prosecutions always inspire. My thought would be to look out for yourself and anyone you’re concerned about but also to be decent.

  49. Does a restraining order ever come off a background check or is it on there permanently?

    • They never fall or fade away. The only way to remove one is through the court.

      • the order is up July of next year. If the order is not renewed does it still show up?

        • It will cease to be an “active” file, but it won’t be removed from whatever databases it was recorded in, and the public record will still be preserved at the courthouse where it originated (unless your state’s policies are exceptional).

          • but the brady indicator will come off after the year through right? My ex is also military and am wondering what can happen to his career. is there a way to find that out?

            • Yes, I would check with admin (“the brass”). State laws differ, but probably the firearms restriction would only apply for the duration of the order. What consequences that would spell a military person could tell you. If you didn’t want to talk to an administrator, you could probably talk to someone whose job is dealing with domestic violence/sexual assault.

      • the order is up July next year. If I do not renew it will it come off?

        • If you don’t renew it, it will no longer have to be obeyed after next July. BUT there will still be traces of the order. If you decide down the road that you don’t want there to be any traces, you can move the court to vacate the order (file a motion to dismiss), or you can have an attorney prepare some kind of motion to expunge that you and he could both sign after the order expires.

          These orders were conceived to bring domestic abusers to heel, which means that records of them go into statewide and even nationwide police databases.

          • Is there a time frame on how long one can request another hearing in California? I was not at the hearing for the retraining order, as I was not served, they did turn in a paper saying I was…..this was 2 months ago and I have yet been able to afford an attorney but will be able to in a couple weeks…

            • Probably, Glen, you’re going to have to work out a basis for requesting a hearing if you missed a mandatory one. If I were you, I’d talk to an attorney as soon as possible, even if you can’t afford to provide him or her with a retainer. There’s a good chance there’s an attorney in your city who specializes in restraining order defense. Google your city + restraining order defense (that kind of thing).

              • Defenses

                The good news is that a number of legal defenses apply to a PC 273.6 charge. Some of these include:

                the judge didn’t legally issue the protective order

                you didn’t know about the restraining order

                you didn’t intentionally violate the order

                you were falsely accused of violating the protective order

                • Click on “Defenses” in the reply above. There’s a box on the linked page called, “Get quick legal help.” This firm may be able to give you some info, or you could look for a similar information resource on the website of a firm in your city. Any lawyer in California can help you, but probably you’ll want one who practices in your hometown.


              • Anonymous

                September 14, 2014

                Thank you for the info,,, this girl, did a whole song and dance over a year period, and got me to respond to her abbusive ways tpvia texts, she the compiled and used these texts as her amo for a PO….I had a friend go to court and make copies of the complaint…she obviously has thought this out, as she states that on one occasion I assaulted her then proceeded to break my own laptop on the ground, when ipthe reality is , she destroyed my laptop, I didn’t file a police report as the cops are the last people I want involved, This was a year ago, I did however file a police report last month regarding this incident…as far as the “being served ” in May she had convinced me to drive a hr and a half to talk to her, she also has sent numerous texts requesting sexual favors etc during the past few months also, whitch I have copies of the texts, anyway, I go to her place, knock on her door…some guy answers the door, calls me a asshole throws something at me ( turns out to be a PO ) and slams the door allmost talking my finger off, I was in shock and went thru the door with one shoulder to the door, I run in, see her in the back of her apt, I run up to her saying -” wtf is going on” she’s on her phone dialing a number, right then I get tackled from behind, I pull back to hit this guy off me, and reframe myself from doing such, as she is screaming ” hold him there, hold him there” I break the tackle and leave….this was the day before the hearing it turns out, whitch I didn’t know about, so anyway I get a letter saying I have warRents for battery, vandalism and breaking court order from the date of this incident….obviously even If I did receive in my hand an order, it couldn’t have been read etc , this all happened in less than a min,,,,,a couple weeks go by, and a sherif shows up at my house to deliver a restraining order…on the order it says I have to pay her 2 grand for some bs damages she stated and also I have to attend 52 weeks of batters classes,, I’ve never battered anyone in my life! Wtf! How can this be happening, I never got to speak or say one word? I can prove with texts emailsmetc, the vindictive way this person has set this all up…does this count for anything?

                • It might if you could introduce your evidence in a prosecution of your own. I’m not an attorney, and your best defense would be getting the help you hope to be able to afford. You could consider applying for a restraining order of your own and providing the texts you describe (the ones requesting sexual favors) in evidence against your accuser. I can’t say, though, what kind of jeopardy you’d be placing yourself in with these outstanding warrants. It could be you could get the order and walk right out of the courthouse. I just don’t know. If they came up, maybe you could even appeal the warrants. You see how dicey all of this gets, though, when you don’t have legal representation.

                  Were you given a court date with the order to allow you a defense? If you were, and you didn’t show, then a default judgment was entered, which means the restraining order was finalized. You might check your state’s statutes. In some states (Michigan and Arizona are examples), a defendant must request a hearing. If the court didn’t automatically schedule a hearing (that you missed), you may still be able to request one. Otherwise you’d have to obtain the attorney’s aid that you hope to. An attorney might find grounds in what you’ve described to move for a new trial.

                  Please talk with a criminal attorney. There’s no charge for a brief phone consult, and you might at least learn what if anything you can be doing to counteract this mess between now and when you have some money to throw at it.

  50. Hello, I had a oop filled against me on June 1st, I have not been able to afford an attorney , but have been saving to do such, the restraining order was never served to me, but she says it was and has a signature of her friend that says he served me, they also had the police called and lied saying I came and harrowed her, and assaulted her, whitch is total lie, I got a letter in the mail 3 weeks later saying I have arrest warRents for vandalism, battery and knowingly breaking a court order……I ahold have enough money in the next few weeks to retain a lawyer, what can be done in this case? I plan on fighting the order, and deff fighting the lies that resulted in charges….I have not turned myself in yet but plan on doing so just as soon as a have a lawyer…….is there a time frame on appealing this? Also I am taking her to small claims for allmost 5 thousand dollars of damages she had done…in my county ( alameda ca ) the small claims court says first send a demand letter before filling n small claims, but I’m not allowed to contact her says the order, how can I get this demand letter to her under these conditions? Thanx

    • The timeframe will depend on California’s particular laws. Google California + order of protection, and look at the actual statute.

      From anecdotal reports I’ve gotten, the timeframe to respond to an order in California is brief. Check the law, though.

      Sometimes the impression orders give doesn’t accord with the actual law. I live in Arizona, for example, and the order I was issued didn’t inform me that I had a year to respond. Consultation with the law, however, says I could have waited 11 months. Had I waited and obtained an attorney, allegations that have voided 15 years of my life might have been swatted down. Court rhetoric is often minatory, and its object is to discourage defendants from objecting at all. No effort is made to apprise them of their rights. The priority is to intimidate them and railroad them through. (Correspondingly, false accusers are never threatened with sanctions that would discourage them from lying except in a phrase at the very end of forms that reads “Under penalty of perjury, I swear or affirm the above statements are true.” Plaintiffs never have it impressed upon them what the consequences of perjury are—which in practice are none.)

      Here’s Arizona’s law, for example (13-3602):

      At any time during the period during which the order is in effect, a party who is under an order of protection or who is restrained from contacting the other party is entitled to one hearing on written request. No fee may be charged for requesting a hearing. A hearing that is requested by a party who is under an order of protection or who is restrained from contacting the other party shall be held within ten days from the date requested unless the court finds good cause to continue the hearing.

      When you find your state’s OOP law, press Ctrl + F or ⌘ Cmd + F on your keyboard, and a search box will appear. Enter “hearing.” That may save you some time.

      I’d focus on getting that attorney and answering the assorted charges before I thought of suing for damages. Your attorney could draft the “demand letter” or apprise you how to do it yourself without violating the prohibitions of the order.

      Seriously, I wish you the best, Glen. I appreciate the anxiety you must be feeling moment to moment. Drive very cautiously and make sure all of your vehicle’s lights are in working order.

  51. we have 30 days to appeal will cost us $1000 and pro se appeals never win. i couldn’t find an attorney willing to go to court and i cannot find one willing to file the appeal. i don’t know what to do. we are innocent but the court doesn’t care. this violates our civil rights but only those here understand that and petition has 167 signatures…not much going to happen to change things:(

    • My own impulse would be to file the appeal anyhow, but I can’t advise you one way or the other, Julie. You’re right that the system is basically rigged. My advice would be to tap any resource you can if you think this is going to eat at you long into the future: friends, family, credit lines, whatever might be available. Could you get a title loan against a vehicle—or sell one? An attorney’s help would be your best shot at a successful defense, though even an attorney’s help isn’t a guarantee of success.

      It’s paralyzing, which is why the response you see is so disappointing.

      I’m just one person. Opposing megalithic institutions like this requires a lot of voices. The reason the mainstream feminist perspective is the dominant one is that it has received federal legitimation to the tune of $10 billion (police officers and judges have literally been “trained” with this money how to think), and proponents of the process have inundated the Internet with messages of danger, danger everywhere (which has conditioned how the public thinks). Exerting influence against this tidal wave with a blog or a petition is a tall order. Change can’t be realized fast.

      The roots of the tree you want to see fall have spread for 30 or 40 years, and it’s a money tree that a lot of people strive to keep fertilized and watered.

      For what it’s worth, I can tell you that I’ve seen some reverse momentum in the past year.

  52. I got an OOP against my ex boyfriend who is in the military. Will anything happen to his career? He also had a brady indicator on him so he cannot purchase a firearm for as long as the order is in place.


    • Anonymous

      September 8, 2014

      the order was filed on August 26th 2014. My attorney said he had until last Friday to contest it but the court said there is no deadline. who is correct?

      • Which state? Sometimes a defendant has the term of the restraining order during which to request a hearing.

        • Arizona. I got a copy of the contest papers and he has 2 weeks to contest it. The order was amended on the 29th and served to him on September 2nd. So he has 14 days from which date? Our court date or the date he was served with the amended order?

          • what can happen to his military career?

            • I don’t know if it would interfere with promotion or not. Obviously if he were a serviceman and he were prohibited from possessing weapons, that might prevent him from serving except in a quasi-civilian capacity. You could certainly call someone in administration and ask.

              • administration? the judge said he cannot have firearms except for work but never told him where and when he has to turn his firearms in. If he doesn’t comply with brady he could face charges. to me that does not make sense. you cannot buy or have them but we are not going to tell you where and when you have to turn them in.

                • If he’s permitted the use of firearms “for work,” it would seem he doesn’t have to “turn them in.”

                  My computer’s battery is low, but if you need more info, look for Arizona governmental explanations of how firearm restrictions work vis-à-vis protection orders.

          • 13-3602. Order of protection; procedure; contents; arrest for violation; penalty; protection order from another jurisdiction

            “At any time during the period during which the order is in effect, a party who is under an order of protection or who is restrained from contacting the other party is entitled to one hearing on written request. No fee may be charged for requesting a hearing. A hearing that is requested by a party who is under an order of protection or who is restrained from contacting the other party shall be held within ten days from the date requested unless the court finds good cause to continue the hearing. If exclusive use of the home is awarded, the hearing shall be held within five days from the date requested. The hearing shall be held at the earliest possible time. An ex parte order that is issued under this section shall state on its face that the defendant is entitled to a hearing on written request and shall include the name and address of the judicial office where the request may be filed. After the hearing, the court may modify, quash or continue the order.”

            • so how come the order he signed says he has two weeks to appeal. its a civil case.

              • I just checked. The law is the same for protection orders and injunctions against harassment.

                Your question is a good one. My reflex is to say that the court likes to dispose of these matters promptly.

                Contradicting the law isn’t something a courthouse should be doing, though.

            • I live in Arizona. The form the court issues gives the impression that the defendant must respond quickly (like within 10 days) if s/he wants to contest the order. The law, though, says a defendant can request a hearing any time.

              • so when he moves out of state (because hes going to be) he could request a hearing to have it dismissed even after the 14 dyas?


  53. derek smith

    September 3, 2014

    Me and my girlfriend were arguing on the side of the road. I was gently leaning up against the inside of the the drivers side door talking with her. She started screaming at me, put the vehicle in reverse and started backing up with no warning. I tried to move out of the way but I wasn’t quick enough. It damaged her door. She then filed an ex-parte and I have a hearing tomorrow for it. What would you suggest I do? How could I Contest this.

    • File for a continuance if you can (to get more time to prepare). Check with the courthouse. You may be able to file a motion by phone. Otherwise absorb what you can from this site and others and speak to whatever you’ve been accused of. If the allegations aren’t true, for example, say they’re not true. Take care not to go into too much detail about the relationship, history, drama, etc. unless you’re sure the details you’re providing are going to make what you’ve been accused of suspect.

      These orders don’t depend on evidence. The truth isn’t what’s important. You need to influence the judge in your favor (convince him or her that you’re being more honest or what you’re saying is more important or significant).


  54. kirkronald1

    September 1, 2014

    thank you so much for responding. this woman i believe has obtained a retraining order against me as a ploy to stop me from communicating with her so that she will not be bothered by me asking for her to pay me back i loaned to her $3500.00. she has cheated me for a $2305.00 judgement and now she is cheating me for a loan of $3500.00. that is $5605.00. this woman thinks she can do just about anything she wants to do!!! i am beginning to think animals are a much better choice than human beings. i am disabled and this woman is taking advantage of my disability. i thought she was my friend but as time passes i see she is not my friend, she is just a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”.i absolutely do not know what to do.
    thank you for any input you can offer.

  55. i am as puzzled about that myself, unless the “officer” talked to the other person. i think that would be the only way. and i was not asking the pastor to do anything about the other person.

    • Restraining orders don’t authorize the police to interfere with the lives of private citizens when no legitimate claim of violation has even been made. I don’t think it’s wise to press this unless you’re pressed further, but it exceeds the officer’s authority to harass you about something that isn’t prohibited either by the law or by the court’s order. You’re not forbidden to talk to people the court hasn’t said you’re forbidden to talk to, and you’re not prohibited from reading what someone’s accused you of by any law I’ve ever heard of.

  56. has anyone noticed that the whining party never has to present any evidence? in our case they’re just bullies…with all the questions about contacting I have to point out…they could “say” we were sitting in their driveway … a PERSON CANNOT UNPROVE something.

    honestly I hope someday I see them on the side of road broke down I will violate my order and wave as I keep driving.

    btw. after 1 year can I get it removed? does that require an attorney? I couldn’t find anyone to give me any information on “restraining orders” ours is “permanent” and for “talking about them”. I guess as long as I’m not talking (or breathing) they’re happy.

    • To the best of my knowledge, Julie, the only way remove a restraining order is to have it dismissed on appeal or vacated by its applicant (Colorado is an exception). In other words, restraining orders expire, but they never go away. A mutual agreement between petitioner/respondent to vacate/expunge an order after its expiration may be possible (by nunc pro tunc motion).


  57. Anonymous

    August 24, 2014

    If I contact the plaintiff after an Injunction Against Harassment has expired, can I still get in trouble?

    • You won’t be in violation of a court order in that case, but you could be setting yourself up for the plaintiff to return to court to petition another order. All s/he’d have to say is “I’m afraid of this person, and [s/he’s] contacting me again!” You may be fine if the plaintiff isn’t this kind of person, but many plaintiffs are this kind of person.

    • both of us have restraining orders against each other. today i went to the police station to obtain a police report but was given the run-a-round. shortly after i left the police station someone saying they work at the police station called me saying i violated her restraining order because i spoke to a pastor that is my friend, and to explain it to the judge, but i have NOT been arrested for this violation. this person that says he is a police person was conducting himself in a very threatening way.
      i read her restraining order and i DID NOT see anywhere that i cannot talk to my friend the pastor. and i think if this guy on the phone is a policeman it seems like he is stepping out of bounds.
      would you please respond about this issue?
      thank you

      • Briefly, unless the order of the court explicitly says you may not contact the pastor, then the officer is mistaken. Restraining orders aren’t gag orders or quarantine orders; they just prohibit one person from contacting another. If you explicitly asked the pastor to communicate some message for you and he did, that might qualify as a violation of the restraining order if it forbids “third-party communication.” Otherwise the officer is just sticking his nose in because he can. You can ask to speak to his superior officer about this if the interference escalates.

      • My experience of court staff and police officers has been this: some take their professionalism very seriously, and some are emotional nine-year-olds who like pointing fingers and puffing out their chests (“I have a badge, so what I say goes”). It takes considerably more training to qualify to cut hair than it does to be handed a badge and gun. There’s absolutely no legitimate reason that you should be refused a copy of a report sworn out against you.

        I’d be curious how the police knew you’d spoken to your friend.


  58. Anonymous

    August 24, 2014

    If I have an injunction against harassment filed AGAINST me and it expires after the one year period, can I still get in trouble for contacting the plaintiff?


  59. Anonymous

    August 24, 2014

    If my husband & I both consented to Mutual Stay Away Orders & the papers read as…husband & wife are prohibited from contacting each other directly or indirectly through any third parties related by blood, marriage and/or business clients of each other personally, by phone, in writing, electronically , including , but not limited to , text messages or social media , or through a third party. Notwithstanding this paragraph , the parties may maintain communications with mutual friends, relatives , business advisors, or other persons. Can I get into trouble for mailing a letter & apologizing for all of the unnecessary hurt that we have caused each other & saying that I’m sorry & basically calling a truce.

    • According to the strict legal wording you’ve quoted, any form of contact is punishable as a violation of the restraining orders’ prohibitions. An attorney could probably safely convey your message (and if you’re seeking peace, an attorney could probably help you get both orders removed). Please proceed very cautiously, because no judge will scruple about sanctioning you for any violation of the orders. People go to jail for sending flowers and cards.


      • Anonymous

        August 27, 2014

        Is this a normal standard agreement ? Or do u think it is extremely strict. When it came time for us to sign the papers I told my attorney that I was not comfortable at all with that paragraphs language as we live somewhere people are separated by two degrees & I felt like it would have been impossible to not end up violating the orders & my husbands attorney said my husband comfortable with that language as well. So they changed it adding the notwithstanding part to it. They also wanted us to do it for 18 months & I wouldn’t agree to that & said 6 months was more then enough & my husband agreed to that too. I just felt like that put too much pressure on us to live like that another year & a half. My husband was the one who filed the TRO against me but in the consent to mutual stay away papers my husband asks that they dismiss his Petition for Protection from Abuse that he filed against me. Does that mean it will go away or will it follow me around in the CLETS system? I feel like the attorneys are trying to manipulate us into fighting it out or one of us violating the orders by suggesting it go for 18 months & that the original language was so strict or am I reading to much into this.

        • Maybe I’m just cynical, but it’s striking that lawyers drafted the wording that only allows lawyers to be the go-betweens (@ $200+ an hour). See what I mean?

          The “notwithstanding” part just means you’re free to talk or hang out with your friends who are also your husband’s friends. You’re not allowed, though, to ask them to talk to your husband for you. If they did talk to your husband for you, you could be fined and/or jailed.

          It’s always to an attorney’s advantage if s/he has to be involved or if a matter is drawn out (more billable hours).

          You’d think a dismissed order would just vaporize, but I’ve been told the case may be otherwise. People report they’re denied jobs even years later for orders that were tossed out of court. You may have to make sure it’s gone. The urgency with restraining orders is to guarantee defendants are blamed and properly labeled bad guys and put in lots of databases. Feminists, who are behind the registry laws, want people humiliated and punished. Registries are promoted under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Nobody cares about peeling the labels back off except the people who’ve been blamed like you have.

          What’s the point of all of this, anyway? Six months or 18 months—is this supposed to be a “cooling off” period? If no one’s done anything criminal, and kids haven’t been claimed to be at risk, it seems like it’s entirely up to you and your husband to determine what’s in your interests. It sounds like your husband’s order involved the court in a domestic dispute, and all the rest of this has been to keep everyone in line. If the court has no reason to think you’re going to beat your husband or that he’s going to beat you, and there aren’t any kids who could get caught in the middle, you and your husband (separately, of course, through your attorneys) could probably request that the orders be dissolved.

          The court thinks it’s helping you pacify a bad situation. If it isn’t doing that, then I’m wondering what the point of the orders is.


          • Sunny Holliday

            August 29, 2014

            Since I left my husband it took him 10 days to file & have me served with divorce papers. I signed everything & walked away with next to nothing. It turns out after 16 years we barely knew each other. I found out he is evil & vindictive. My father in law died & I was told I was not welcome at the services. I respected their wishes. He knows how important it is to me having a clean record & great credit. I have moved on. We had a no fault no contest divorce but he put it on hold. I told him I would wait it out. I wouldn’t spend a penny on a divorce that was already paid for yet here I am having to retain a lawyer & costing me a lot of money & my reputation. I’m taking the high road. I love ur blog. It has been extremely helpful in knowing the process & not being charged. Thank u!

            • You’re welcome. I’m glad if it’s lightened a lousy time. I’m not sure how consoling it is to hear, but you are the better person.


              • Anonymous

                August 30, 2014

                Thank you. I would like to think I have taken “the high road”! 😊

  60. time for a book deal

    • I don’t know what it would take to attract interest. It’s desolating but probably it would have to be sensational violence. On a petition I follow, a vet who was falsely accused of violence and left homeless recently said he was considering ending his life. There’s a good chance even that would be an invisible blip on the social radar unless he sent a letter to the paper beforehand.

      If a woman who requested a restraining order and was refused is murdered, it’s national headline news. If a man who was falsely accused and stripped of everything he owned offs himself, it may not even make the local obituary page.

  61. I have question, I see that a job can see this information as it is free. How would you get the mark removed from the persons record that you put this on so that they can go on with their life? The person I have to put one on is not dangerous at all but it’s CPS who is forcing me to do so or I would lose my kids.Can the mark me removed off the records?

    • You’d have to move the court to dismiss the order. Depending on the jurisdiction, this can mean it’s sealed or set aside. Dismissal of an order is always at the discretion of the judge, though.

      See also here.


  62. Anonymous

    August 20, 2014

    Hi, I am a new single mom of a newborn. My ex abandoned me once I became pregnant. He is a physician and has plenty of money to make my life miserable. He filed a ppo against me I believe, in retaliation for seeking child support and for getting caught breaking HIPAA law and going through my medical records at his job. I have never threatened him in my life nor have I ever hurt him. Nine months ago, I sent him some voicemails calling him names.
    , but no threats. He submitted them to the court and was granted a restraining order for one year based on stuff I sent months ago. He had been over my house to see the baby three times since then also. I reported him to the Office of Civil Rights and to the state medical board along with a copy of the letter I have from the compliance officer stating he was going through my medical records unauthorized. HIPAA law prohibits retaliation from a covered entity (which he is). Can I go to jail for interfering with his career?

    • I wanted to add that he has been over to my home three times since the baby was born, but has not contacted me since the restraining order was awarded.

    • I also want to add that my ex is seeking full legal custody of our infant son. I believe he used the ppo as leverage. I know he is not afraid of me. Do you think he will get it. We never married.

    • Did you seek child support through an attorney? If you haven’t already, call a family attorney right away. Find a woman, ideally, who’s offended by this doctor’s misconduct.

      An attorney could probably clean this up for you and get you the support you need, besides.

      Otherwise you’re just going to be discounted and shuffled around. When someone like this gets a restraining order, it makes it child’s play for him to reassure ethics panels and such that the reporter of misconduct is erratic and volatile: “Poor woman…she’s not well. I’m embarrassed and sorry for the inconvenience she’s caused.”

      People believe false allegations, and people believe false restraining orders. Including judges, who aren’t even going to look twice at allegations from an M.D.

      It doesn’t sound like anything you’ve done is going to interest the district attorney, but don’t contact your baby’s father yourself. At all. You absolutely could be jailed for violating the prohibitions of the protection order. A violation could be anything this man could represent as further “harassment.”

      Was your baby’s dad your physician, incidentally?

      Money rules in these situations, and these orders, which are dispensed like handy wipes, are very effective tools for gaining custody of kids.

      I’ve been contacted by friends and relatives of women—very young women are the easiest to victimize—who were impregnated, abandoned, and then reported as harassers and abusers when they appealed to the dads for interest or help. They weren’t represented by attorneys, in some cases they were jailed (even more than once), and their babies were taken from them.

      Tell every feminist you know that this is how restraining order laws enacted to protect women may be used.

    • Don’t hesitate, incidentally, to call attorneys even if you’re penniless. You may find an attorney who’ll work on contingency seeing as how you’re pursuing legal action against a party who’s obviously monied. Family attorneys often work for less up front, because they represent people (divorcing spouses, for instance) who don’t have independent incomes.

  63. Thank you so much, I was told that it would cause the restraning order to automatically be dismissed. I appreciate you getting back to me I was losing sleep over it.

    • You’re welcome, Wendy. If something like that does happen, please report back. FYI, something that is within the realm of possibility is that your ex-boyfriend could obtain a restraining order against you by alleging you’re following him around. Nothing in this arena depends on facts. Also, it actually happens. Some women petition orders and then second-guess themselves (or the restraining orders were part of a campaign of revenge).

  64. I have to shared custody of my son with his father, just recently his father had charges pressed on him. His roommate pressed charges on him for putting his hands on her 7 year old daughter, My child is 6…I was given the means to obtain a copy of the sheriffs report. i read it and i dont know if anything will come out of it. considering the report was made 3 days AFTER the actual incident, there were no pictures taken of the child after the incident, when the child was asked if it scared her or hurt her she responded “no”. I was informed that there would be a warrant for my childs father concerning this. I know from experience that my sons father is violent, he has had restraining orders and repeat violence as well as domestic violence littering his court records. I have suspected him of child neglect for quite some time now, The local Department of Children and Families have been involved several times, and has proven my child was being exposed to family violence, but did nothing to help me with getting him away from the issues, I have tried going through the courts to change our arrangements because i fear for my child,to no avail, then this comes up. I am at a loss on how to protect my child. considering that his father lashed out at a child that was not his, can i do something about it. Can i file a restraining order on my childs father, because of the charges he received in this incident, he was given battery in the first degree and its a misdemeanor. will he get jail time? will he get out of it? i dont know but i do know i want my child away from all that. what are some of the proper steps i can follow?

    • I appreciate your worries. The blog mainly concerns abuse of restraining orders, because a lot of people lie. I know not all of them do, though. That’s the horror. Liars compromise the credibility of people with genuine fears.

      Liars (and the people who lie for them) in a very real sense hurt kids. Liars and their cohorts don’t just abuse the people they falsely accuse; they abuse real victims of abuse, whose allegations may be distrusted thanks to their games. And what a case like yours shows is that restraining orders are mainly eyewash. They total lots of people’s lives but often don’t accomplish what they’re supposed to.

      To the best of my knowledge, Margie, for you to apply for a restraining order you’d have to show that your child was abused.

      My thought would be to contact a family attorney and see if these allegations might improve your case for custody. If an attorney’s involvement is beyond your means, maybe investigate how to file a motion with the courts to change your custody arrangements like you tried before.

      Calling a family attorney and chatting on the phone is free, incidentally. (“Hi. I was calling to see if an attorney in your offices might be able to help me. May I speak with one?”) You might at least find out if you could use the incident to improve your custody arrangements (or even gain sole custody). If you learned you could, it would make further steps and expenses worthwhile.

      I really hope for the best for you and your son, Margie.

  65. can you appeal a restraining order if the plaintiff used a false name (not the same on paternity papers), gave testimony not consistent with affidavit and the judge lead the plaintiff through their testimony?

    • Possibly, Brenda. In my state, restraining orders typically issue from the lowest-tier courts and are appealed in superior court. Rulings by the Arizona Superior Court are based on whether appellants can demonstrate “clear abuse of discretion” by the lower court, that is, whether they can show the judge(s) “overstepped.”

      You’d want to find out what court you’d be appealing to and what its “standard” is for judging restraining order appeals—and you’d want to argue your appeal according to that standard. All of these things can vary state to state. Depending on the state and circumstances, restraining orders may issue from city, county, superior, or district courts.

      You see how daunting all of this is (to combat allegations that were made in a few minutes by someone who waltzed in off the street).

      If you want to appeal, file soon, because there may be a deadline. You wouldn’t have to submit your memorandum (brief to the court) until later.

      It sounds like you’d want to show the judge steered the petitioner and showed evident bias in his or her favor while ignoring inconsistencies (which may constitute “perjury” if the inconsistencies of fact were ones that would tend to influence a judge’s opinion). If someone lies about an inconsequential fact, that isn’t “perjury.” If someone misrepresents “material facts” (influential facts), that’s perjury (which a judge may or may not find moving).

      I won’t tell you that judges are well-disposed toward overruling other judges. Judges generally defer to the opinions of other judges. If you could enlist the help of an attorney, you’d stand a much better shot at making a persuasive case. I’ve never attempted an appeal to the state Court of Appeals, but it’s probably much less prejudicial (much more willing to listen). Its panel of judges’ job is essentially judging prior rulings. If you have the emotional and financial resource, you could take your appeal to that level. If you represented yourself, the costs might amount to less than $1,000. Again, though, you’d be looking at a taxing ordeal.

      The “false name” would probably be significant if it were used to defraud (trick) the court. If, for instance, someone named George Randall Wyoming called himself “Randy Wyoming” on the restraining order, that probably wouldn’t be significant. If he called himself “John Washington” (if, that is, he used an alias), it probably would be.

      The short answer to your question is that you can appeal. The trick is doing it successfully.


  66. Anonymous

    August 9, 2014

    I have a TRO against me in California. The hearing is in a few weeks and I have been out of the house for some time now. My wife and I lived in a home owned by a relative and, after I was kicked out, the home owner started the process of evicting my wife, which was just completed this week.

    According to the owner, I am welcome to move back into the home once my wife has moved out. Since the address stated on the restraining order will no longer be my wife’s residence, is there any reason I can not move back into the home once she is gone?

    • Sorry, I’ve been preoccupied, and it looks like I neglected to respond to you. If your hearing has already passed, and the order wasn’t quashed, and the old address is still on the order, my thought would be to go to the courthouse and file a motion to see a judge to have the order modified to remove the old address so that you were authorized to return home.

  67. The correct answer to the following question is “indigent person.”

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


  68. Krystal

    July 24, 2014

    I have a question my husband( I use that term loosely we have been together 10 yrs and i moved in with him and we have lived together 5 yrs but we “dont have that peice of paper at the courthouse” << his quote) in Feb of this year he knew I was waiting for our daughter to get out of school so i was going to waste time in a dept store. We had been at the park with our son and we left I told him where I was going which is about 2 mins away. I got there parked and was looking in my piurse for my wallet and 3 police pull up and say they got a call saying i was acting suspious the officer was very rude(details not important) told me to get out of car and turn around he handcuffed me took me ti jail. i stayed 3 days in padded cell with no shower or toothbrush (nothing) husband would not take my calls so i called a bail bondsman said i had the money to pay him in my purse so he came. Officers left my purse and keys in my car so i did not have the money. i called husband and told him to come pay, he did with debit cars but while i was in jail those days he had gone to his lawyer and got a restaining order on me. Since he paid me out and picked me up does it still stand? on the order he said i had relatives i could live with but i have never moved. Does it still stand?

    • The arrant treachery that so often goes hand in hand with this process is stomach-turning. I’m sorry, Krystal. That’s disgusting.

      To answer your question, there aren’t any restrictions on a plaintiff’s (petitioner’s) conduct, so as far as I know, your “husband’s” bailing you out doesn’t do anything to contradict the order. The judge would probably say that was nice of him, and he didn’t have to do it.

      What was this, a ploy to gain custody and kick you out? If you’ve been together 10 years and cohabited for five and have children together, the law still recognizes you as a spousal equivalent (“common law wife” might be the phrase). You should probably consider talking with a family/divorce attorney and seeing what s/he could do for you. You have entitlements based on the length and nature of your relationship. It might be the case, too, especially if there are some mutual assets that could be entailed, that an attorney won’t expect you to come up with a lot of money. They know this stuff happens and that many domestic partners don’t work or have independent incomes of their own.

      Some people who are framed this way end up losing everything. Some are left homeless. Your best defense is securing an attorney’s help by whatever means necessary. Family, friends—tap any resource you can.

      If you got an attorney on board, you might even realize some restitution from the state down the road for your stint in jail. This is no way to treat anyone, let alone someone’s mom.

  69. I am “restrained” from “talking about them” the court battle took 3 years, I was pro se because no attorney would touch this case. I can appeal in the next 10 days. I was not near the couple or their child (children), the petition filed accused my mother of visiting the child (my former foster daughter) during a public school event for 2 minutes. Same petition restrains us both from going about them or talking about them.
    Nothing in the petition was truth, yet their attorney continually filed permanent restraining orders that the judge signed. There was no trial or testimony, our summons had no court date or time, and mom’s was never served (she was out of the country) court was held before our answer period of 30 days expired and the attorney wrote a permanent instead of temporary at the beginning. In that permanent order the Judge signed it stated we could not ASK to see our file without penalty of jail. I filed again and again asking to dismiss or at least clarify.
    On the final hearing date, I testified and it was dismissed with the agreement there would be no contact between the parties. The attorney simply wrote up another permanent restraining order 30 DAYS LATER and the JUDGE SIGNED it. The attorney told the judge when she was losing if she didn’t get her fees she wanted a jury trial and we promptly agreed..the judge said no, but granted no fees…until the final order..we were charged $3400!!!!
    for an out right lie and I was fired from CASA because of their lies.

    WHO can help me file a brief and appeal? The attorneys won’t bother with it and I don’t know why. They all said a) too busy b) knew the someone involved c) not their area of law
    can you translate ? does that mean we’re not rich enough? we’re stalkers?
    This child called my mother nanny, this visit was 2 minutes max and nothing was said about anyone, no hysterics, no opinions just hello and goodbye.

    • You might try Googling restraining order defense + your hometown and seeing if there isn’t a local attorney who specializes. “Not their area of law” could mean exactly what it sounds like, or it could mean the attorneys don’t want to be involved. Many attorneys consider these matters picayune or impossible to unravel. They call them he said/she said cases. Try to find a restraining order specialist first. Then you might also call around to attorneys who specialize in preparing appeals.

      It’s hideous, but if someone has a deep enough pocket and a malicious will, s/he can keep this up indefinitely. She’s obviously invested in punishing you, probably for a reason that only exists in her head.

      It’s also hideous that the courts can bully defendants into submission. It’s a basic constitutional entitlement to know what someone has alleged against you.

      I don’t want to distract you from your immediate task, but there may also be grounds for recovering for your loss of employment down the road (lawsuit). The compound outrages of this kind of judicial mistreatment are glaring, yet there’s no reason for confidence that if a judge heard your case for wrongful termination based on fraudulent allegations to the court that s/he’d be moved. A jury might be, but who knows? And maybe, again, no lawyer would want to touch it. But FYI.

      That’s how these cases go. You’re railroaded through and then threatened against telling anyone. And people external to them sidle away from you uncomfortably.

      I’m really sorry, Julie, and I hope you can find an able advocate to defend you. If you have to, call every number in the book.

      • Thanks for your advice. This site was very helpful in that I thought I was alone, abused and voiceless. The “job” was volunteer, I was volunteer of the month over 2000 miles and 200 hours dedicated to kids in the “system” during my service. The bright side is I exposed this couple and their cohorts at DCS. It was worth the hassle and expense to stop the malfeasance even if only for a few months. Shame it will begin again, but I did my part.

        • There’s your motive, probably. The lowest and most cunning and persistent frauds I’ve seen and heard about originate from self-entitled people, not hoodlums. I’ve read studies on aggression, and it turns out the most common aggressors are self-important people who suffer “narcissistic injuries.” The shy loner stereotype is wrong.

          Best wishes with your appeal, Julie. Let me know how things turn out.


  70. Anonymous

    July 6, 2014

    Yea, I’m assuming they is a temp order that may have been in place, one that I don’t know about , nor was I served, I’m assuming the thing the guy threw at me right before he allmost took my finger off in the door slamming…I’m sure that’s what they have said to the court anyway…. If the guy was use by my ex to attempt to serve me, yet I wasn’t served nor did I touch whatever he threw at me, how can they get away w lying to the court,, it’s my word against there’s, I’m sure if this is the case, the police that were called I’m sure saw that there was whatever it was outside, on the ground?


  71. Kristyn

    July 4, 2014

    Hello, I don’t know if anyone would be able to answer this question. I’m in a rather ‘interesting’ position. My current boyfriend’s ex has put a restraining order against him. Which he wasn’t too worried about as he didn’t want to contact her in anyway. However, today he was arrested as they told him he sent her an email. He knows nothing about this and I asked if he had changed his password to his email after the split and he said no. We are thinking his ex hacked his email and wrote to herself in order to have grounds for calling the police on him. I know it may seem that I am being naive but I truly believe my boyfriend is telling the truth and I know his ex is unstable and on a few medications and it doesn`t seem too far fetched. Anyways the police aren`t being very helpful and I was wondering if there is a way to track what device the email came from? It doesn’t seem that the police are willing to look into this very far and I was wondering if he requested that if they would have to look into it? I feel so helpless and don’t understand legalities of these things. Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • A techie could tell you more, Kristyn, but I think you’d consult the IP address on the email the ex says she received. Easy thing to check tonight: Have your boyfriend log into his email account and check his “Sent” folder (and “Trash”). If there’s no sign of an email to the ex, then either she sent it through his email account and erased all traces, or the email is forged. Police don’t check. They just look at what the paper says (if they even do that). You can make a fake email in MS Word in two minutes. In fact you could make some fake emails from the ex to you and go down to the courthouse tomorrow and get a restraining order against her. Then you could forge some more emails, report the “violation,” and have her jailed. This stuff happens all the time.

  72. Thanks fo reply, so the incident was May 22, I got served by sherif June 14′, w restraining order, then last week I get a letter from superior court saying I have arrest warrants for vandalism, battery, and knowingly breaking a court order… The restraining order was stamped and signed y court may 30, the warrens says for breaking court order on May 22 Dates are mashed up?

    • Yeah, unless there’s a second order that predates the May 30 order, it’s a screw-up.

      Don’t expect any apologies, though.

  73. Hi, I have a restraining order against me, my ex gf convinced me to drive 2 hrs to talk to her, I did, when I knocked on her door, a man opened the door called me a name, threw something at me, ( at the time in didn’t know what it was and dodge it ) be the slams the door and allmost took my finger off, I did the wrong thing and kicked the door and it broke open….I went in and my ex gf was standing there calling 911, I ran up to her and asked what the hell are you doing ( as she tricked me into driving there ) as I ask her what she is doing,mi get tackled from behind, I pull back to hit this man off me, but resist, as I snap out of it, he also snaps out of it and I get up , he says you better go now…so I take off… This was on the 22nd of May, on June 14, a sherrif knocks on my door and hands me a restraining order that’s signed and stamped May 30…. Then on June 20 I get a letter in the mail from superior court saying I have Imidiatly warrens for my arrest, for vandalism, knowingly violating a court order and battery against a ex partner…. Ok I get the vandalism part, and I would of course pay for damages, but battery? Knowingly violating a order I was neer served. They are saying I was served the 22nd, as turns out whatever it was he threw was a order, how can I know it was an order or read it if it wasn’t served ? Also the restraining order stats I have to pay her money for damages that are totally bogus, and I have to attend 52 weeks of batterer classes……I’ve never battered anyone in my life, what can I do regarding this? I now have a warrant and just hired a attorney…..but I can’t sleep…thank you so much for any advice….

    • You’ve done the most important thing: hire an attorney.

      I guess you might look and see what evidence you have of your girlfriend’s request that you drive to meet her. If it was a phone call, she could represent that however she wanted since there’s no recording. If you have texts or emails, though, they might establish the truth of what you’ve said. Even a record of a call might be useful if it turned out she phoned after applying for the restraining order. There might be a time stamp on the order. Some record of the hour and minute should exist somewhere. If the order was applied for before the 22nd, and you have a record of her calling on the 22nd, that might be very useful. Why, in other words, would a restraining order plaintiff be calling the defendant within minutes, hours, or days of having applied for state protection? See?

      I’m not an attorney, Glen, and this isn’t legal advice. It’s just a thought you might weigh in coordination with your attorney. You were asked to drive two hours to see your girlfriend at her request. You knock on the door. A strange man opens the door, shouts at you, throws something at your head, and then tries to crush your hand in the door. This man you don’t know and who has acted violently without provocation is alone with your girlfriend in her residence. You’ve been caught completely off-guard, don’t understand what’s happening, only know that your girlfriend has summoned you, and there’s some volatile man alone with her. Is it reasonable to say that you were concerned for her immediate safety, that you were uncertain how to act and perceived that this stranger might be an urgent threat?

      Again, I’m not an attorney, but there may well be laws on the books that authorize forceful entry into a residence if the “vandal” has reasonable cause to suspect that the resident is in danger.

      You knew the resident and had been expressly summoned to her home at her request only to be attacked by a strange man when you arrived. You kicked in the door. You sought an explanation from the person who had summoned you and wanted to make sure she was okay. Her reactions confirmed that she wasn’t in fact in danger but had summoned you under false pretenses, apparently to be assaulted. You left.

      You were never served with the restraining order and had no idea one existed. You see now that your girlfriend applied for the restraining order and lured you to her house (the same day?) to provoke you into violating it.

      Can you think of a motive your girlfriend would have for wanting to set you up?

      Court cases are about impressions. Even word choices and how you describe things are big. I’m not suggesting you lie, but I think what you should consider is how to represent what happened in a way a third party (judge) can understand and condone. If it’s as fair to represent your actions as showing heroic concern as it is to represent them as showing vandalism, my thought is go with heroism.


  74. Anonymous

    June 28, 2014

    If someone took a order of protection out against me and they r violating it what can I do. And can I take one out on the other party even tho they have one on me.

    • If the order is against you (that is, if you’re the defendant/respondent), the only person who can violate the order is you. No restrictions are placed on the plaintiff’s/petitioner’s conduct at all.

      Michigan puts it this way: “The PPO is directed to the Respondent’s behavior, NOT the Petitioner’s.”

      The petitioner, in fact, could more easily engage in criminal activity with impunity, because restraining order defendants have no credibility with the authorities.

      You could apply for a restraining order, also, yes. Depending on the circumstances (your gender, your state’s laws, etc.), you might have to be very insistent or persistent (reapply). See this post:

      Can I Get a Restraining Order against the Same Person Who Got One on Me?

    • Hi, My ex boyfriend..who I have a restraing order against..called the cops saying I was following him. I don’t ever want to see him again so I sould never follow him. Anyway the police told me they would have to file a report saying that I was following him be cause of the restraining order. Would this be cause to lift the order on him, even tho he lied to police?

      • No, the accusation couldn’t be grounds for vacating the order unless your ex-boyfriend made it in an appeal to the court, and a judge found it compelling. Only the court can change or lift an injunction, and the prohibitions of a restraining order only apply to the defendant (only your ex-boyfriend can violate the order you have).


  75. angela

    June 25, 2014

    Hello –

    If someone has a restraining order against them and clicks “like” on a public blog or on a facebook fan page that belongs to the defendant, is that grounds for a violation of the order? Similarly, if a restrained person posts something on his/her own facebook page directed at the defendant but does not mention him/her by name or say anything threatening, is that grounds for a violation?

    • Possibly, Angela. Should clicking a button on a website be an occasion for someone’s arrest and detainment at taxpayer expense? No, obviously. But this is how the game is played. See this story about a man who was jailed because Google sent an automated email: “Man gets arrested after Google+ ‘sent an automatic invitation’ to his ex who had a restraining order against him.” It would probably depend on how big a deal the plaintiff wanted to make of the “like.” Restraining orders are supposed to be about protecting people, not providing them with means to realize their vengeance fantasies, but few people who exploit this process actually fear for their safety.

      Short answer: Yes, it’s possible if a “like” could be traced back to a restraining order defendant that a judge would deem this mouse click to be a violation of the prohibition against contact.

      A restrained person’s posting something on his or her page, though, is different and less likely to be deemed a violation. I’m not saying a judge isn’t capable of interpreting anything s/he wants as a violation, but posting something clearly isn’t an act of “contact.” Again, it might depend a lot on how eager the plaintiff was to have the defendant hurt and humiliated.

      If you’re the defendant, be very cautious if the plaintiff is malicious, because a judge could easily pronounce, “Defendant shows a continued interest in communicating with the plaintiff despite the injunction,” and then mess with you some more.

      If you’re the plaintiff, ask yourself honestly how concerned you are about a click. Also, ask yourself whether you wouldn’t be embarrassed to tell a woman in the third world with a dying infant that more money than her baby would need to keep him alive for a year was spent on having someone arrested for clicking “Like.”

    • This woman’s perspective is one everybody should share:

      As a real victim of domestic violence, I had to go thru the horrors of my trusted loved one doing harm to me. I am glad DV laws are in effect to protect those that are truly harmed both physically and emotionally. The funds to help those that have been truly displaced by DV are being sucked up by self serving people using law to punish the X.

      I am disgusted with the abuse of these laws using the legal system to “punish with jail time” the estranged husband/significant other and using these laws to steal all possessions that were accumulated in the relationship. I am a witness to such abuse of the system, and am horrified and angry that this is allowed to proceed.

      The courts expect jail time, probation, and fines for those accused, and look at the “accused” as a horrible person who is marked for life instead of looking at the one who is actually raping the system.

      Along with the laws protecting DV victims, there also needs to be a rigid screening for those who are crying wolf. In addition, for those who are falsely using the system and the funds there should be stringent jail time and fines.


  76. Mormont

    June 25, 2014

    I am suffering from the effects of a fraudulent protection order in Colorado, which was filed by my female roommate, and had me and my young daughter kicked out of our home.
    There appears to be no recourse for me, but I did contact 10 state representatives and senators, and I heard back from 3 of them. If more people report this abuse to their elected officials, maybe something will actually be done about this awful system.

    • I’m really sorry for you guys. Kudos, though, for not accepting this lying down. I’ll bring what you’ve said to the attention of others and suggest they do the same.

      Also, know that there is a recourse available to you. In Colorado (and in Colorado only, as far as I know), there’s a process for undoing a protection order after a certain period of time has elapsed (24 months, I think it is).

      JDF 395 Instructions for Restrained Person to Modify/Dismiss PO R3-12.”

      It’s invasive and requires a fingerprint-based criminal background check prior to application, but at least it’s a prospective reset.

  77. My wife and I were coming from a beer tasting event when we got into an argument and she pulled the car over. Some people saw us arguing, called the police and said we were fighting, and because I had a cut on my face both my wife and I were arrested and charged with domestic abuse. In three years together we have never had an incident like this and neither of us have a criminal record. We realized we had to much to drink and got ourselves in a difficult situation. Little did we know that even if we decline to press charges against each other the state will charge us anyway. Now we both have criminal restraining orders against each other that neither of us wanted. Can an attorney help us get these restraining orders overturned and the charges dismissed? My job requires travel for long periods of time and I won’t be able to work if I have to be back in town for court dates. On top of this my wife is still in school so if this happens we won’t have much of an income to cover a lawyer and court costs much less a place for one of us to stay until this is sorted out. I understand the goal of all this is to help insure the safety of battered women but in actuality neither of us needs protection from the other and this will only serve to cripple us financially.

    • This scenario almost exactly (exactly) mirrors one chronicled by journalist Cathy Young fully 15 years ago. Little or nothing, of course, has changed. In that case, only the male spouse was labeled an abuser (based exclusively on a bystander’s impressions of a verbal argument on the side of the road). You’ve got double the conundrum.

      Domestic Violations

      An attorney might be able to help you, yes, because your object is to move the court to dismiss the orders (“move” means file a motion, which is a request that a judge do something). Basically, you’re in a powerless position, because it’s the district prosecutor who’s put these orders in place. Most advice I’ve read on accomplishing what it is you want to accomplish urges the parties to go talk with the prosecutor who argued for the orders in the first place.

      What state are you in? I’ll try to hunt up some advice from attorneys in your region. If you happen to be in California, look at the previous comment string below. I posted some links there to attorney commentaries and counsel. The advice is probably pretty much relevant everywhere.

      Meanwhile, you’d do well to Google attorneys in your city who specialize in “domestic violence” defense/restraining order defense and call some. It’s nerve-wracking, but there’s nothing an attorney hasn’t heard before. They’re looking for clients and shouldn’t be judgmental. There’s no charge for finding out if an attorney thinks s/he could help you out. Whether the same attorney could represent you both, I’m not sure. There doesn’t seem to be a conflict of interest, but lawyers may have their own rules about that. Pick carefully, because legal practitioners are like any other tradespeople. Some are a lot better than others.


  78. rebecca

    June 13, 2014

    My boyfriend went to court and they put an order of protection on him to not contact me. Im a minor and he is not, if my parent agrees, can I get the order of protection removed?

    • If your parents petitioned the order on your behalf, Rebecca, it should be possible for them to move the court to dismiss the order, yes. It’s not a criminal order?


  79. Anonymous

    June 13, 2014

    I am the respondent of a harassment restraining order . Could I be in violation if the plantiff comes into my place of employment while I’m on duty?

    • Strictly speaking, yes, if you’re not authorized within a certain distance of the plaintiff. If it’s a place of business, and the plaintiff knows you work there, and s/he could go elsewhere to transact the same business but still comes to your place of employment during your shift, that’s going to influence a police officer’s assessment of an alleged violation, obviously. Also, if you were approached, you could say leave me alone and excuse yourself. If the proprietor of the business understands the situation, s/he could of course request that the plaintiff take his or her business elsewhere.

  80. I was talked into getting a restraining order against my son’s father for domestic violence.
    There has been a couple mild incidents where I had smacked him during an argument and he would push me away. Never happened around our son.
    I feel like I lied on the restraining order. I’m not scared of him at all.
    I have contacted him a few times and we’ve talked.
    I live in Oregon and was told (by the people that talked me into the RO) that I can go to jail for it, and I can have my son taken away. CPS is already involved because of an incident that landed my son’s father in the hospital. It didn’t directly involve me or my son, only emotionally and mentally.
    I’m unsure what to do. I was told because of the situation, I will not be able to get the order removed. I feel it’s unnecessary.
    Can I get in trouble for lying on the restraining order? The recent incident had been so fresh in my mind, and with people telling me what I had to do, I had it done without really thinking about it.
    I’m also told that I will get arrested and lose my son if I contact him myself, even if he doesn’t report it himself.

    • First thing, don’t beat yourself up about this, because everything about this process is coercive. Everyone from friends to women’s advocates to police officers may goad women to apply for restraining orders. People I’ve talked with report feeling shamed, guilted, or intimidated into doing what they’re told. (Some women are even threatened with consequences like you’ve described—CPS interference—if they don’t comply. It’s awful.)

      Second thing—and this is very important—you’re not in trouble for communicating with your son’s dad, per se, because you’re not under an order of the court yourself, but he could be held in contempt of court or subject to a related charge for communicating with you, which is a violation of the court’s injunction against him. So indicating to anyone in authority that you’ve initiated contact with the restraining order defendant and that he’s responded is dicey (as is telling anyone). Communication’s being consensual doesn’t authorize it in the eyes of the law. So take care what you let on.

      Counsel and assistance from an attorney who hears you and whom you have confidence in is always the safest and surest way to remedy any legal snarl. If this is financially prohibitive, though, it’s possible for you, as the plaintiff, to move the court to vacate/dismiss the order: “ORS 107.720(2) authorizes the court to terminate a Family Abuse Prevention Act Restraining Order upon the request of the Petitioner.”

      Packet: “Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) Forms

      Specific form: “Petitioner’s Motion and Affidavit for Dismissal and Order

      I’m not an attorney, and I can’t predict how any given judge will act, but “perjury” (lying to the court) is almost never prosecuted, and a judge can’t spearhead a prosecution even if s/he wanted to. The district attorney would have to single you out (and act in spite of the interests of your boyfriend). Furthermore, unless you gave testimony or evidence that was obviously fraudulent, the chances of making a criminal case against you are beyond remote. If you’re saying that you alleged you were afraid when in fact you weren’t, I wouldn’t sweat this. Again, I’m not an attorney, and I eagerly recommend that anyone who can consult with one should, but my strong suspicion is an attorney would wave away your concerns.

      If you consult the motion to dismiss form above, you’ll see all that’s required of you is that you make a statement that you might or might not have to defend in person to a judge.

      Reporting to a judge that you don’t feel the restraining order is necessary and places an undue strain on the father of your son would seem to be sufficient—and true, right? You’ve thought better of it. I don’t think you should say you “lied,” which probably isn’t accurate anyway. It sounds more like you feel you exaggerated or acted impulsively (“I had it done without really thinking about it”). If it’s accurate to say you feel you were coerced (manipulated, urged) into applying for a restraining order, that would displace the blame altogether. You got swept up. An attorney, even in a brief phone consultation, could probably advise you on what to say to allay any fears you have. S/he could probably also tell you if you had any reason to be concerned about interference from CPS. S/he might tell you an emotional appeal is better, I don’t know: “I feel like I acted in haste and regret taking this step.”

      Based on what you’ve said, the involvement of CPS is puzzling, anyhow.

      Just take your time and craft your statement carefully would be my thought. It could be we’re tiptoeing around something unnecessarily, but I totally understand your caution and concerns. State machines are scary. (Even the language in letters from court clerks is rude and harsh. I’d love to hear it suggested that some of the federal subsidies courts receive be devoted to politeness training. Seriously.)

      Something it does sound like it would be a good idea to factor in is whether you think the people who’ve been warning you of dire consequences would report a violation of the order to the police (possibly thinking they’re looking out for you or possibly feeling you’ve betrayed them by not listening). Are they associates of yours who know you’ve spoken to the order’s defendant? I can’t say whether this would be a cause for concern if the order were vacated, but that’s something else you could run past an attorney.

      Also, you might be wise to cut these people out of the loop and keep your investigations and whatever you decide to do to yourself.

      It’s probably unnecessary to tell you, but unless/until a judge approves a motion to dismiss a restraining order, it remains in effect, and its prohibitions must be observed. Don’t do anything differently, in other words, until you’re holding a signed, authorized document that says the order has been vacated (dismissed).

      My lay feeling is that if you feel the order is unjust and does nothing but place a painful burden on you, your boyfriend, and your son, then it’s only reasonable for you to seek relief from it. This word, relief, is one the court recognizes and one you could even consider using in your affidavit to the court (your statement). You feel sick about it, right? The point of orders of the court is to relieve that feeling, not cause it.

    • Answer to a related question from an attorney in Massachusetts:


  81. girlsparky

    May 22, 2014

    We, my husband and I, filed a tpo against someone after they issued a written threat.
    He filed a tpo against us based on lies and we can prove he lied.
    I filed a police report claiming he used the court and the sheriff to harass me by filing a top against me.
    We were talked into keeping mutual protective orders by an attorney.
    Once we had signed she told me the DA was looking at my police report and that if the adverse party gets arrested it just makes them madder. I think he may have gotten in trouble if we had fought the tpo.
    This is a small town and we know our attorney screwed us but there isn’t really anything we can do about that.
    We are worried this can ruin my husbands career because he routinely needs clearance from the ATF.

    We are in Nevada and I found a form for a “motion to modify, dissolve,…..a protective order” we are moving out of Nevada in a month.

    Do you think it would be possible for me to fill this out and request a hearing to get the order dissolved since it is based on lies and we are leaving anyways? If so should I represent myself or use the same lawyer who screwed me the first time?

    There are not a whole lot of lawyers around here and my adverse party is friends with two very well established lawyers here.


  82. Anonymous

    May 21, 2014

    can your brother file something against you saying that if you come to your mothers house you will be taken to court?

    • Possibly. If, for example, your brother lived with your mother, he could file a restraining order against you that prohibited you from nearing him or his place of residence (Mom’s house).


  83. Anonymous

    May 20, 2014

    Hi – I posted somewhere on this forum and cannot find that post, I apologize for this being disjointed as a result. My 17 YO Daughter has filed an Ex Parte Protective Order against me. I traveled to the state she resides and goes to school in within the last week to attend the hearing, and an agreement was reached with no actual hearing taking place. I hold a Security Clearance, which is essential to my work, and agreeing to extend the temporary order for a few months, after which time (if there are no violations on my part) it will be dismissed, seemed the least risky thing for me to do…in addition, my Attorney advised me that this “deal” would also eliminate her ability to introduce any additional false allegations to this particular temporary order. For clarity, I did check this out with the Facility Security Officer at my employer (there is a self-reporting requirement for potentially adverse information for anyone who holds a Security Clearance), and he agreed that this was the prudent thing to do, as even a seemingly “iron-clad” case that is heard before a Judge is not a guarantee of dismissal…there is some risk involved. The “deal” agreed to eliminated, at least in the short term, that risk. My question is this…when the temporary order is dismissed, is my record also expunged? I’ve read some of the things written on this blog about having records expunged, however it appears that all of these were “permanent” orders that had been dismissed or vacated…are a person’s records affected the same ways when the protective order is “merely” temporary?


    • Your adviser is right: no guarantee of dismissal. Avoiding the possibility of a ruling’s undoing life as you know it is smart, and I’m glad and relieved to hear you found a workaround. Your question’s a good one. Was a complaint filed with the PD? You see how easily records can accrue when someone starts pointing a finger, and every one of these is a tripwire.

      I’d imagine that because the police must be notified even of a temporary order, there’s a good chance that traces could linger that you’ll want to make sure are rubbed out. Expungement should necessarily accompany the vacation of a ruling but this reportedly isn’t always the case. The mere traces sometimes cost people jobs. Check with your attorney would be my advice, because sensitivity to the impact of “adverse information” may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


      • Anonymous

        May 22, 2014

        Thanks for the prompt response…I saw a couple of “techniques” on your pages that I might try, one being to try to see if a Gun/Weapon dealer would be willing to run a check on me…I also would not be shy about calling the local County Sherriff’s office and just ask them. My Attorney (in same State as Daughter, I live in a different State) says there is no need to worry about any record of this, but I am not convinced.

        At any rate, thanks for your advice. Once this is over, I will gladly share a more detailed accounting of this saga, in the hopes that it may assist someone else.

        • I would just go talk to a cop, yeah. They’re often decent people. Congratulations again. It sounds like you’re going to get this sorted so you can move past it. And absolutely do share whatever you’d be comfortable with down the road. I hope your relationship with your daughter isn’t affected.


          • Anonymous

            May 23, 2014

            Unfortunately, it appears that someone has persuaded her to lie, and file this Temporary Protective Order, and all of my kids appear to be involved. At the “hearing” (as noted above, no hearing was held, we arrived at an agreement), she was there, along with her older Sister whispering in her ear the entire time, her Attorney (Legal Aid), and someone I didn’t recognize but suspect was a counselor from the school she is attending. Neither of my Daughters would look at or speak to me, nor would I attempt any sort of contact with them. It is prudent, at this time and at least until the Temporary Order is dismissed this coming Fall, for me to have no contact with my kids. Yes, this hurts, so whomever is advising them to do this has “won”, if that was their goal…however, these are not little children…they are young Adults and near-young Adults, and are either over the age or fast approaching the age of majority, and emancipation. They are making up their own minds, at this point. My Wife (not their Mother, whom I suspect rather strongly is involved as well) is my FIRST PRIORITY, and I will not, ever again, allow ANYONE to expose her to such hurt and betrayal. If any of these ungrateful kids ever need anything, they know how to contact me, however until the Temporary Order is dismissed, I literally cannot afford to respond to them.

            Once the temporary order is dismissed, I definitely will share my experience with others on this blog…as you may imagine, I have some rather pointed things to say about the school as well.

            • I meant to say again that I’m truly sorry about all this. I know how gnawing treachery can be. It seems inexplicable, but when legal procedures are initiated, they create a momentum and moral vacuum that makes everyone obey, even against their own normal impulses. I’m reminded of a short story by Shirley Jackson called, “The Lottery.” It’s about a rite that requires nominated members of a social group to be ritually stoned to death at certain intervals and examines how people will act against their own ethical principles to appease “the group” (the dominant power). When law is invoked, no matter how unjustly, people tend to go along. It’s primal. Because they’re on the side of the prosecution, they feel they’re on the “right” or “righteous” side (and they avert their eyes from the “sacrifice”). Too, they tend not to perceive the ripples (like the effect this has had on your wife) at all. It’s amazing, desolating, horrific, and totally in keeping with pack/herd behavior. There’s another principle I’ve noted, too. It’s not nice to observe, but females (more so than males) seem to be guided by “solidarity” in things legal. They’re more malleable/manipulable. Whether false accusers are male or female, the “negative advocates” they enlist are often female. Put charitably, you could say girls and women may be more readily swayed toward sympathy with and loyalty to the parties they’re listening to. It’s one of the things that make them wonderful…when they’re on your side. You’re wise to bide your time—also to be forgiving of the girls, at least, if they later reconsider their roles in all of this. These processes are frightening (intentionally), advocates are persuasive, and being a kid (even if semi-grown-up) is a vulnerable status to occupy. I live with a great deal of rage, but objectivity is deeply engrained in me, and the impartial observer in me recognizes that the people who “go along” really don’t perceive the degree of harm they abet, which can of course be lethal. Best wishes, and share anything you feel comfortable sharing anytime. Tell your wife I think she’s a trouper and that it’s a blessing you had her to lean on through this.


              • Anonymous

                June 17, 2014

                Thank you, Moderator. I find myself questioning my own personal fortitude…my “manhood”, if you will, based on the effect this is having. I find it extremely hard to stay engaged at work, and I am alarmed at this. I have spent more time at home using sick leave for ailments (like a sore back, digestive problems, a persistent hacking cough) over the past couple of months than I have in the past couple of years, and I have to believe this is related to the “elephant in the room” which is this situation. Up until now, I considered myself a decently strong man, physically and emotionally…I am finding out differently.

                I do struggle with keeping “the door” open to these kids…and it is EARLY in the process!! I fear what my mental and emotional state might be like if/when they decide to change their points of view and reach out to me…will I even be open to recognizing their overtures? These kids are bastards by choice right now, true, but will I be able to accept them if they decide they want or need their Father again? I honestly don’t know.

                Oh well…one thing at a time…for now, the “one thing” is to watch…like a HAWK…the figurative sword they have dangled over my head by a thread.

                • About the third year I was going through this, I exhibited the same symptoms and went to several doctors for the first time in 15 years. Terrible insomnia, too, which is still chronic. And my back teeth are so worn down, I’d horrify a dentist. The first year, my hair starting fading in patches.

                  It’s not a reflection on your manhood; it means you have a soul.


  84. Deb McEwan

    May 16, 2014

    My son was served with an ex parte restraining order-as part of it the maternal grandmother received temporary custody. The petition was dismissed by the judge-and the grandmother will not return the child. My son is the undisputed natural father-and the mother is court ordered to a mental institution. How does my son get his son back? We assumed the dismissal of the petition would be enough.

    • If you’re sure the grandmother’s custody entitlement was dissolved with the dismissal of the order, Deb, I think you could go to the police precinct and ask an officer to help your son collect his boy. An officer’s presence, though it could shake up the child, would defuse the situation and make the transition “official.” Just be sure no one’s acting in violation of any court mandate. Obviously if you have or know an attorney, getting his or her advice couldn’t hurt. I’d only say take care that no situation arises that creates the opportunity for the grandmother to say she “felt threatened,” etc.—or you could find yourself going through the same thing all over again. A police officer’s help (you could probably even ask for a female officer) might be good insurance against this.


      • Deb McEwan

        May 17, 2014

        We called The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children–and we did make a report of a possible kidnapping. We told them local law enforcement will not respond to our pleas for help. The case number is 1232345 (the call was recorded). We also called the State Clearing House-to report that we had a possible kidnapping and that local law enforcement would not respond-(they documented the calls). We also called the Denver branch of the FBI–they spoke to me and then transferred me to the Lander field office-where I left a message-I was told an agent would call back Monday. We called the Highway Patrol-at the suggestion of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children-(as evidenced in the recording). I spoke to a supervisor named XXXXX-she also told me that local law enforcement was obligated to at least come and take a report. I explained that they would not–at that point we had made 13 calls to law enforcement-and not one would come to xxxx home and look at the piece of paper signed by the judge. xxxx stated she would call Big Horn County herself–when I called back to see what she was able to learn–she stated that she had called the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office-the deputy told her the reason they were not coming to XXXXX house is because the situation was being handled by the local police department–which is a lie because the local police department told us they were advic=sed not to get involved. XXXXX documented all of her calls.
        We also called The Polly Klaas Foundation-and they want us to call Child Kind of America on Monday.

        I have no doubt that law enforcement is aiding them simply because of the family-they have been in this area for 100 years–they have money-influence-stature—all things that my family does not have. I just don’t understand how this can happen. I would think that law enforcement is currently aiding and abetting–or conspiring to commit kidnapping.

        XXXX called the Sherriff’s Department again today requesting that he be allowed to talk to an officer in person about possible kidnapping charges—the deputy responded–“sir I will only tell you the instructions on our computers-it says we are not to assist you in any way with removing your son from XXXX XXXX. It says if the child is suspected to be in any physical danger at xxxx residence, deputy’s can remove him and place him in the custody of DFS.

        We do not know what else to do. His attorneys are astonished. They have left numerous messages for law enforcement-and no one will return their calls.


        • Deb McEwan

          May 17, 2014

          The child is 17 months old.

        • Wow, Deb. Who would even believe this stuff goes on?

          You know a big part of the evil exerted by restraining orders is false impression. Once people hear the phrase restraining order and phrases start being entered into police databases like physical danger, brains shut down. The phenomenon would make a great study for psychologists, linguists, and other social scientists. People can literally be turned stupid with a few magic words.

          I was contacted a few months ago by a couple whose child was taken by the court and handed to the mom’s ex-boyfriend, who told a judge he was the boy’s father. To get the state to legally hand him someone else’s child, it just took a few minutes with a dozy judge. The man probably wasn’t a violent danger to the child, but for all the court cared he could have been a pedophile. He took the boy to spite his mom.

          It feels wrong idly talking about something urgent like this, but the only thing I can think for you to do is try to correct perceptions. If the order was dismissed, it might help to file a motion with the court to expunge the record from police databases so that there are no phrases like physical danger to make officers’ brains shut off.

          You might also consider applying for a restraining order against the grandmother alleging kidnapping. I wouldn’t go into extreme detail like you have here. Just explain the situation to a judge.

          I’m saying “you,” but I guess it’s your son who would do this. I’m not an attorney; I’m just suggesting you consider this, because it’ll get you before a judge immediately. Cops apparently couldn’t care less (and may fairly believe they’re protecting the child’s welfare by not helping you). Cops will care if a judge tells them to.

          You have to change perception.

          I would start there. Can’t the attorneys do anything, incidentally?

          If the courts and police continue to disregard you, call local news outlets (both print and TV media).

          Consider carefully, though, how you explain what you’ve been through and how you’ve tried to remedy it so you don’t sound crazy. Say things like, “We’re at our wit’s end” or “We’ve exhausted every possible avenue.”

          It’s all about how things look and sound.

    • The boy wants to go home? This may or may not be important.

      Basically, what I think your son would report to a police officer is that someone has his child who’s not that child’s legal guardian and who won’t return that child.

      It’s not okay to keep other people’s kids.


  85. About2bScrewed

    May 16, 2014

    My wife left our house three weeks ago. She left with another man and has since moved in with him. She left me with our 4 children and her daughter to whom I have no legal obligation or parental privileges. She is now threatening to file an ex-parte restraining order several days from now with the sole intention of removing me from the home. She is claiming that she is fearful of me for her own sake but excluding the children from the order. How can this be allowed? She left of her own accord three weeks ago and is now maliciously trying to remove me from my home. If she left THREE weeks ago how can a court be persuaded that there is imminent danger?

    • Family/divorce attorneys understand these tactics best and know how best to respond. Even if you don’t think you could afford to pay an attorney, call a few. Brief phone consultations are free, and sometimes you can get straight through.

      Here’s some commentary by a New Jersey attorney I read the other day that might help answer your question about why these games are tolerated by the system:

      A major issue in many domestic violence cases is whether ordinary family arguing and fighting constitutes harassment under the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act. The vast majority of domestic violence cases are based under the charge of simple harassment. As explained in my other articles domestic violence cases are often filed as a sword to kick out a spouse. The vast majority of domestic violence cases are filed on the grounds of repeated name-calling, belligerent telephone calls at work, a one finger salute, etc. Many judges have a very difficult time ruling on domestic violence cases filed on the grounds of harassment. Some judges have a very liberal interpretation of New Jersey’s Prevention of Domestic Violence Act and they often enter a final restraining order based on harassment. Alternatively, some judges have a very conservative view on the New Jersey Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, and they consistently rule that there must be clear violence for a final restraining order to be issued.

      In my many years of practice, I have repeatedly seen the domestic violence laws abused time and time again. In many cases a victim will agitate the defendant on and encourage an act of domestic violence. The main purpose of many victims is to have the judge order the defendant out of the marital home. This is a controversial statement but it is true in many cases.

  86. My wife just filed a protective order on me yesterday preventing me from being within 300 feet of her, or my three stepchildren. or my house. I have bipolar disorder and do have manic episodes at times when provoked so I cant say she filed fraudulently but she did it to be malicious and spiteful not out of fear. She then immediately after filed divorce papers on me and is presumably moving out soon or so the restraining order states….”so she can get her and her daughters possessions from the residence”.

    I purchased the house before we were together, and my car she currently has possession of was purchased by me before we were together… neither of them have her named attached to them in any way. The order states no 3rd party contact. I don’t think she understands the ramifications this can have on my future being on my record, but I cant have anyone contact her to inform her how detrimental will be for me. I think if she knew and I was willing to stay away and let her take what is rightfully hers she might be willing to drop the order in a day or two….but I cant do anything because I am in limbo at the moment….still in shock to be honest…

    I also worry about her moving and taking my belongings with her, stuff I purchased before we were together …while I cannot be anywhere near the house to prevent her from doing so. Is there anyway I can legally keep her from removing my items from the property?

    Any advice would be great. Thanks in advance

    • The best countermeasure, Eli, if it’s within your means, would be to hire an attorney. And you’d want to start calling around immediately. An attorney could help you defend yourself, and it might be possible to counter-file an injunction or file liens prohibiting your wife from making off with your stuff. The typical scenario as I’ve seen it played out is that the petitioner of the restraining order pretty much eclipses the defendant—everything that was the defendant’s becomes the plaintiff’s. Some people are left living out of their cars or are forced into homelessness.

      If you haven’t already had an appearance date assigned to you, that is, if you have to apply to the court for the opportunity to appeal, you should do that, also (check the order you were issued). Defense against false allegations, which may only have to be skewed or exaggerated representations of real circumstances, is hard under the best of conditions. If you have a verified mood disorder that you’re in treatment for, besides, you may have a tough row to hoe. Testimony from your physician (in person or in the form of a letter or affidavit) might be helpful, but most helpful would be enlisting an attorney. If community property is essentially your property, consulting with a family/divorce attorney would probably be wisest. A divorce attorney might be able to place liens on that property and prevent its being taken or sold without your consent. A divorce attorney, also, may not require that you come up with a great deal of money up front, because s/he’ll understand the bind you’re in. The misuse of restraining orders by spouses instituting divorce proceedings is common, and divorce attorneys are well aware of how this game is played.

  87. My son recently moved to Fl. His daughter is in CT. Previously my son has taken his ex girlfriend to court for full custody due to suspected abuse and/or neglect. Custody was denied. Two weeks ago I called DCF in CT because she had 3 head injuries in a month. Also, my son has been texting her everyday to discuss visitation during the summer. She keeps telling him that they will discuss it but she never calls when she promises. He just found out online that an ex parte was granted against him 3 days after DCF was called. Also, she has not allowed any contact with his daughter. They have joint physical and legal custody. Can calling DCF and texting her be considered a pattern of threatening in the state of CT? He has not been served with papers and the hearing is in 7 days. He is 1,500 miles away. Also, he has taken my granddaughter out of state on a regular basis before moving to FL. Is getting a certified letter considered being served? We haven’t received to date any correspondence.

    • I would expect a local cop to serve the order. Bureaucracy is slow, and protocols are going to be different everywhere. I’ve corresponded with one man who had a restraining order petitioned against him by a woman in a different country.

      Your suspicion that the restraining order may be motivated by the call to child services is probably right. If your son’s girlfriend is acting out of spite, what your son has or hasn’t actually done doesn’t matter; she could have said anything. Stay in motion, though, if you think a restraining order is coming. Getting the DCF records would be a good idea, along with medical records if available. If representation would be within your means, start calling some Connecticut attorneys and see if you can find one you like who could represent your son or at least advise you guys. Googling restraining order + attorney + Connecticut might yield you some leads. An attorney could advise you on strategy and tell you how best to prepare.


  88. Chammi

    May 13, 2014

    If there was a restraining order between Bob and Ann, put in place by Anns father against bob, could bob and Ann get in trouble after the restraining order expires if they admit to violating it? And could Anns father get in trouble since he lied his way into getting the restraining order?

    • I’ve heard of this occurring, Chammi, yes. The fact is the “rules” in these cases are so largely subject to police and judicial discretion that there really is an “anything goes” aspect to decisions about them. In your scenario, “Bob” (the defendant) is the one who could get in trouble. “Ann’s” father can lie with impunity.

      If you think there’s a risk of Ann’s father trying to have Bob arrested/punished for contempt of court, run your question past a local attorney before staging a public reunion would be my thought.

      Also, it’s not for me to say, but you might want to consider the wisdom of admitting anything.

      Take good care.

  89. I hhad a ppo against me it was a complete lie but I left it alone I stayed away from my x wife that had the ppo even my 2 kids I waited the 6 months it was expired I went a seen my kids I talk to my x wife I made arrangements to see the kids for a week or so it was fine then she got mad and called the police she had filed for a extention on the ppo that I thought was expired so I was arrested went to court and my lawyer didnt show the judge was mad and I was served the extension right in front of the judge basically I got served after being arrested will this be dropped or am I facing jail and fines?

    • I’m sorry you’ve had to go through this, Roy. I’m puzzled why your attorney wouldn’t have let you know what you may be facing but not especially surprised. Or are you saying the lawyer didn’t even appear at the hearing? Even if that’s the case, I’m hardly shocked (did the attorney call to apologize, and has s/he still billed you for his or her services?). Everything about this process is derelict and improvisational.

      It moves so fast that a lot of defendants are lucky to find attorneys who’ll represent them even if they know to try and can afford it. Respondents to “emergency restraining orders” are sometimes required to appear in court just days later. They’re railroaded through.

      If the judge communicated (“served”) the extension while you were in court, it would seem that the judge acknowledged that you hadn’t been previously informed of it. If you weren’t under an injunction that you’d been properly served with at the time you’re alleged to have violated a court order, you shouldn’t be held accountable for the “violation.” In other words, you shouldn’t be sanctioned (punished) for violating an order you didn’t know you were supposed to obey. Shouldn’t be unfortunately isn’t the same thing as won’t be.

      If you Google your state + restraining order laws, you should find a clause that says the defendant/respondent must be “served” within a certain period of time. I assume that you had the chance to challenge/controvert your ex-wife’s basis for applying for the extension? If you weren’t given the opportunity to respond to the new allegations, I think you should check with your attorney (or get a new one), and see if you can move the court to grant you a new hearing. If the attorney didn’t show, I’m sure you were caught totally off-guard. That must have been awful by itself. It may be grounds for applying for a new hearing, though.

      If you are punished unjustly and can’t be reheard, you might consider appealing to a higher court. In my state, at least, restraining order appeals to the superior court are free, and they’re not a major deal like a lawsuit. The process (again, in my state, anyway) is set up so that defendants/respondents can appeal themselves. You would just file an Appellate Memorandum. Laws and procedures vary from state to state, of course, and it’s always best to enlist an attorney’s help. If you did this yourself, you’d want to familiarize yourself with the process (check at the courthouse), file the necessary paperwork to appeal, and find a model so you could see how to prepare your brief (superior court brief + your state). The caption (top part) is the only tricky part. It’s the part that identifies the case and the participants. In the body, you’d want to make it clear that you were never notified that the restraining order you thought was expired had been extended (cite the law and quote it). Even if you could get an attorney’s guidance, that would be worthwhile. You might be able to request that sanctions (monetary or otherwise) be dismissed and that the arrest record be sealed/expunged.

      I’m not an attorney, understand. I’m just trying to provide you with some recourses to investigate that might be feasible or worthy of your consideration. When I did this years ago, I didn’t know what a “motion” was. You probably don’t, either. A motion is just a request that the court do something you ask of it. You can move the court to grant you more time (Motion for Continuance), move the court to waive some penalty (Motion to Dismiss), move the court to let you speak to a judge in person (Motion for Oral Argument), etc. Even if you’re able to get an attorney’s aid—and I hope you are—you could look these things up so you understand them. The foreignness of all things legal and the bewilderment people experience trying to hastily get up to speed is a big part of the reason why most just throw their hands up in despair.

  90. If both parties have restraining orders on eachother and have sex and conceived a child , what could happen to the child and both parties that still do not get along?

    • What a mess. If the restraining orders are still in effect, I guess there could be serious ramifications, because it would mean both parties violated orders of the court. Consequences for contempt of court could be incarceration, which I suppose could mean the child would be collected by child protective services.

      You should consider talking with a family attorney, Jen, who may be able to propose a way to either vacate (cancel) the restraining orders or at least protect the interests of the child, which wouldn’t be served if you guys were locked up.

      If the orders have expired, talking with a family attorney would still be a good idea. You could iron out some form of custody agreement (or child support, maybe, if the father doesn’t want to be in the picture).


  91. Anonymous

    April 21, 2014

    if the person who puts the restraining order on you tries to contact what should you do are you able to talk to them

    • Take a look at the order you were issued. Sometimes restraining orders don’t forbid all forms of communication. In my state, there are a series of tick boxes that let applicants indicate what forms of contact they’re okay with, if any. If the petitioner has indicated that no form of communication should be allowed, then even to respond to a communication from the petitioner is to violate the restraining order, be guilty of contempt of court, and risk arrest.

      Cops and judges don’t have to answer to reason or commonsense in these matters. A judge could listen to you tell him that the plaintiff banged on your door, called you, texted, emailed, stood outside of your place of work, etc. and then say, “Mr. X, you knew that you were prohibited from communicating with the plaintiff,” and rule against you. The person who put the order on you isn’t prohibited by the court from doing anything.

      Some petitioners intentionally bait defendants into violating court orders: “GOTCHA!” If you don’t think that that’s this person’s game, and “third-party contact” isn’t prohibited by the order you were issued, you could ask a mutual friend to test the waters. The person who petitioned the order can move the court to vacate (cancel) the order.

      Safest would be to have an attorney communicate with the plaintiff. Just understand before you do anything that you’ve been prohibited from contact with the plaintiff on the order. It doesn’t matter what that person does. If you act in defiance of a court order, the responsibility falls on you as the defendant.

  92. It’s so crazy to read all the stories on here. I am a woman who has been the victim of restraining order abuse. When this nighmare started, i knew nothing about restraining orders and even though I was emotionally abused for over 6 years of our 15 year relationship, I never held him accountable because he was such a great “victim” he basically controlled me for many years by means of guilt that started on a small scale of making me feel I had wronged him to making me work to gain his affection thinking if i showed him how special he was all would fall into place eventually. I finally snapped out of the fog when he set me up one night to have me arrested for “attacking him” right after we had just bought our first home together. He was a delusional drug addict as I came to realize and only once did he apologize for that night and wrote me a card saying he knew he was wrong to have set me up. I stupidly forgave because I honestly loved the guy, didn’t have any close family or friends because he also had alienated me from my family by telling them I was the one on drugs. and I had no where else to live. I really thought he made a one time mistake and would never repeat such a thing again. Well, the trauma of what I went through that night never faded from my mind and I was always crying as I had never been arrested before, had a Masters Degree in Forensic Science and was in the processes of being hired with a police department. I sank so low into depression because I had come to believe no department would ever hire me with a arrest on my record. I still tried to forgive him and I guess he was such a coward that he quickly realized he didn’t want to see me the depressed, hollow shell I had become and instead of remorse, he realized just how easy it was to have me tossed out or arrested the first time and decoded he instead would do so again and be done with my pathetic self dragging him down. This went on for 4 years, I was alone in this battle and suffered PTSD and no one not family or friends could understand why I didn’t just get up and get a job to hire an attorney to solve this. I couldn’t barely get out of bed and when I did I started self medicating to numb my pain. I was arrested 2 more times just being in my home peacefully getting clothes after he said I could as I was tossed out and living in my car. One of those times he called me to come home and because I needed a roof over my head I did so and he again called the police. That was the last straw. It took me years of kissing his butt to convince him to drop his RO on me as I wanted no part of him or our home and I promised if he paid me back my down payment he could keep the house and would never hear from me again. Well, selfish narcissists never pay up just so u know. He lied numerous times about selling his car to pay me all while I slept a a friends sofa for a year. I couldn’t wait anymore and went to peacefully talk to him and ask for my money as I needed it to get a place to live and he now had a new girlfriend living in my home, wearing my clothes if you can believe there is such classless people out there. That was fine, he met his better half but he now didn’t want to pay me and told me to sue him for the money. Next day, I had a friend serve him civil court papers and long behold what does he do? As I predicted, he ran to court the very next day and claimed he was afraid of me and petitioned the court for another RO off the original 4 year old incident. I am shocked at how stupid our court system is. This guy has a record of seeking bogus RO’s so my response was to avoid him at all costs and he hasn’t been able to serve me. Since its been 6 months of no contact I was hoping he would get bored and drop it but he asks every month to continue the temporary RO cause he can’t serve me. It’s taken me 5 years to find strength and fight this animal with no money to my name. I spent the whole weekend documenting all his abuse. I also ordered the affidavit from court on what he alleged under penalty of perjury and of course it’s all lies which I can easily disprove. I am gonna surprise him and show up in court prepared this next hearing when he asks to continue the matter he is in for a shock. I am disgusted by him and our legal system. I am enraged that even if I disprove all his allegations, he won’t be prosecuted by the same system he had jail me. I urge anyone suffering this type of abuse of process to not ignore it hoping it will go away. It’s amazing how pathetic these type of people are. They supposedly claim they have moved on and you are harassing them yet, they spend more time in court filing paperwork for there bogus RO’s then they do enjoying the company of their new partner. It’s actually quite of a sad realization if you ask me, I feel sorry for someone who is so hollow inside they can only gain fulfillment through trying to hold power by any means over someone who never wants to see them again. This man and I were childhood sweethearts and were together for 16 years and only the last 5 did he start to exhibit signs of a sociopath narcissist. He is also a firefighter and I helped him as did my family get to that position and this is how he rewarded me. When these people get a taste of this secret weapon, they quickly detach emotionally from you as the only purpose you serve to them is that of a “punching bag”. Don’t ever think they learn from thier wrongs because they don’t they just learn to hide it when they get into a new relationship long enough to proove to the new person that its you who is crazy not them. I don’t know what is so appealing about hurting someone this way and at that a weaker and more helpless person. To me this is no different then people who abuse children and the elderly, its disgusting and more needs to be done to punish these people.
    Today, I feel more powerful and in control of my life all because one good friend took me in and financially supported, encouraged, and helped me back up on my feet. I have been told by them they do not expect me to repay the money they have invested in me and all I can say to that comment is, when you have nothing and someone helps you this way, you should turn right back around and make it your priority to repay whether its expected or not because there are not many people who will do such a kind and caring thing and the fact my ex was willing to abuse me and do such awful things to me to be greedy and leave me without a dime makes me see clearly how unimportant money is in terms of being fulfilled. Its importance to me rather serves as a symbol of working hard to start fresh and share my bed of wealth with my supporters who helped me empower myself again. Charity is not a right, its a gift and whether its a person or a organization that helps you, please remember to always give back for the people who may need help recovering from past abuse.
    Whats funny is i dont care to ever seek revenge, but I will protect my rights and quality of life and if needed seek justice as everyone who is treated unlawfully like a piece of disposable trash should My heart and prayers go out to all of you who suffer with this curse. Never give up the fight to protect your rights not for one day or 5 years always fight and through that I promise you, you will find the strength in you that was buried deep inside you and you thought you had lost long ago. I am the biggest believer and I pray for you all. Thank you so much for this site, I read it daily and you are a amazing person. I owe you a lot of thanks for the knowledge I gained through reading your advice.

    • That word you’ve used, hollow, is spot on, Vina. I’m not a psychologist, but I’d hazard a guess that this man is a borderline personality. Narcissists, borderlines, and antisocials (sociopaths) are variations on a discordant theme. Borderlines are said to lack a solid self-identify; narcissists are said to desperately need attention and external affirmation. They’re hollow, like you say. And the boundaries between these disorders aren’t perfectly distinct.

      The blaming and blame-shifting, continual rekindling of conflict, drug use, lying, manipulation, isolation, paranoia, smear tactics (misrepresenting you to others), utter disregard for your feelings, etc. are all classic traits of someone with a high-conflict personality disorder (one stemming from sociopathy).

      I’m not comfortable venturing too far into psychoanalysis, because I’m out of my depth, but it’s in adulthood that the traits of personality disorders are said to manifest, so the change you’re talking about probably synchs up with the diagnosis.

      I can identify with all of your torments, with your sinking into despondency, with having the brightness of your ambitions turn to ash, and with the outrage you feel at having the person who aggressed against you claim to be your victim. Also, of course, with your feelings toward the people who are paid handsomely to ferret out the truth and protect people but who may instead abet abuse.

      The courts are the enablers, and they’re at least as indifferent to the wreckage made of people’s lives as the sociopaths who set the machinery in motion.

      I’m really glad to hear you’ve been able to pick up the pieces and find a glimmer of promise on the horizon. It takes an exceptional person to do that. I’m glad, too, if something I’ve said has helped.

      I hope you can get your career plans back on the rails. Forensic science sounds cool! Maybe you can turn this ordeal to professional advantage. It seems like there’s a field called forensic psychology, also. FYI.

      Stay strong, Vina.

      • Jesus, this sounds a lot like the crap I just went through. All the mental abuse, lying, constantly needing validation and then when he got it, acting like I was lying to “bitter him up”. And in the end, the horrendous things he called me..insane stalking ignorant foul mouthed unreasonable hateful rude inconsiderate manipulating liar…and that’s a direct quote. Absolute nutcase!!



  93. Does a Domestic PPO automatically press charges on you or could that person do it seperately also?

    • No, protection orders don’t (technically) hold you accountable for any alleged trespass; they just place restrictions on you. They can be issued by a criminal judge in connection with a criminal trial, but orders themselves are just orders. Someone claiming “domestic violence” could file a complaint with the police, but this doesn’t always happen. If an order is violated, then there are criminal consequences.

  94. If I caught my wife cheating and filed for divorce and she countered that with a restraining order just to take a u-haul to our house and take belongings that did not belong to her and then she runs to a different state with my kids what can I do?

    • That’s a hard hypothetical to negotiate. If you mean this literally happened, I guess it would depend on whether the restraining order was made “permanent” by a judge and whether your wife was granted full custody of the kids. It sounds like a case you should involve a family/divorce attorney in. I mean, under other circumstances, one parent’s running away with the kids could be grounds for an Amber alert. But with the things these court orders authorize people to do and get away with, all bets are off.

      A few months ago, a man wrote to report that one of his kids was given to his wife’s ex-boyfriend by order of the court because the ex falsely claimed on a restraining order to be the boy’s dad. Authorities took the boy out of school and handed him to this guy.

      • Thank you for you insight.The court date is next week to decide everything like custody and such but my lawyer has stated that the judge will have likely sided with her regarding the kids beforehand. I’m just baffled that the judge doesn’t even want to allow me a chance to fight for my kids all because my soon to be ex wife is a good actor.

        • Good luck. I hope the lawyer is really investing his or her all in defending your interests and doesn’t have any qualms about observing to the court that a prejudgment is not an informed decision, that this decision stands to profoundly affect your life (and your kids’ lives), and that it’s been acknowledged by officers of the court (lawyers but even some retired judges) that divorcing partners routinely lie and exploit restraining orders to dominate custody battles. One retired judge guessed this happened in one case in three (33% of the time). Others put abuse of legal process to gain custody leverage at 40 to 50% (or higher). This is most effectively done by alleging domestic abuse.

          See, for instance, attorney Terri Weiss’s candid remarks:

          From Bedroom to Courtroom

          The Lousiest Family Court Order” (Huffington Post)

  95. If I have a protection order against my neighbor, can he be video taping me? The protection order is for stalking/Harassment

    • I assume you’re talking about from his residence? Probably even in that case, no.

      This is an interesting case out of England of the same sort of conduct by a disturbed neighbor:

      Woman handed restraining order after campaign of harassment against neighbour sparked by parking row in which she filmed her every move

      • yes from his residence now, but intially was with his phone standing in front of me as I got out of our car, now he mounted one at his front window and one on the back window where I walk my dog. I was thinking that was still stalking and harassing?

        • I suppose he could argue the cameras are for security, but the timing of their installation is curious. Also, if the front camera is aimed at your house, I’d say you had grounds for complaint. You’d just want to think, I guess, about whether you want to report him. Probably he would be warned instead of arrested, but who knows.

          So this was never on the sly at all? Is he looking for attention, or is he just not right?

  96. My question is, I live in a trailer park where a special needs school bus speeds through every day. I have almost been hit by this bus and an outdoor pet has been run over and killed, can I get a restraining order to prevent this person from driving by my house?

    • Hi, Angel.

      My first reaction is that someone who can tear around a neighborhood, kill a local pet, and then return to the same neighborhood and drive the same way without any remorse isn’t someone who should be driving a school bus, let alone a school bus for kids and young adults with special needs. You might consider calling, explaining your concerns and what you’ve witnessed to whoever’s in charge, and seeing about getting the driver fired. If the dog hit-and-run (a crime that’s taken very seriously in some places) was reported to the police, you could mention that. Also of course that you were almost hit. You could get your neighbors to back you up. Or, if there’s someone who manages the trailer park, you could ask him or her to call on behalf of the residents. Emphasize that the driver’s conduct endangers kids.

      If you have the opportunity, catch the person on video when s/he’s next speeding by. Also, get the bus’s ID number and license plate number.

      My guess is a judge would want more to go on to issue a restraining order. You would probably have to establish, for example, that you expressed your concerns, but they were ignored or that the driver was going out of his or her way to scare you. The owner of the dog that was killed might have better grounds, especially if the hit-and-run was witnessed. There’s nothing to stop you from applying for a restraining order, but probably a judge would need to see something in the way of intent on the driver’s part to harass or threaten you beyond just generally reckless driving.

      Alternatively, you could file a complaint with the police. If I were you, though, I’d start with informing the driver’s employer(s) and/or the person who manages the trailer park. Unless the dog hit-and-run was witnessed, there’s probably no realizing justice for the family of the dog, but if you can get the driver removed, the problem will be ended—and the next driver will have it impressed upon him or her that s/he needs to drive safely.

  97. so my ex contacted me… she filed a RO and CPO on me… she said she wanted to work things out with me… like a dummy a responded.. turns out that was a trick. she said if idont work things out with her that she is going to call the cops. she directly threaten me. i have written proof of this. do i have any options? or do have to just play her game until the RO is up

    • Keep evidence of everything, Brandon: records of phone calls, emails, texts, or whatever. Police may discount a complaint you took to them or even blame you for being snookered. It’s even possible they’d arrest you. But you could apply for a restraining order yourself against your ex at the courthouse. Some states don’t allow “mutual” restraining orders (also called cross- or counter-orders), which means it’s possible you couldn’t piggyback your restraining order on the same case number.

      See your state’s statutes here.

      You’d probably have to file a separate case, alleging harassment (distress, etc.). This may also provide you with grounds to move the court to dismiss the orders against you if a judge acknowledges that they’re being used as instruments of coercion (blackmail). Clearly if the woman were actually afraid of you, she wouldn’t be contacting you. If you can afford to get an attorney involved, that would be ideal. Otherwise, I’d start at the courthouse.

      WARNING: I don’t think a judge would hold it against you that you were tricked into responding (judges don’t arrest people), but if you’re concerned, call and run the scenario past an attorney (or five attorneys). A few-minute phone call isn’t something you’ll be charged for. I don’t want to encourage you to take a step that might put you at risk. The thing is, if this woman is determined, you’re at risk anyway, because a manipulator may have no qualms about making up a story for the police. It sounds like she’s determined to squeeze you.

      If you do apply for a restraining order, emphasize that you’re being contacted and threatened, not that you were tricked into responding. Show the evidence that supports your claim rather than evidence that shows you inadvertently violated the court’s order (which you may be able to omit). If you get resistance, ask what it is you’re supposed to do when the court has left you completely vulnerable to these sorts of games by someone who plainly has motives other than the ones she identified to the court. You’re concerned she’ll set you up or falsely report that you violated the court’s order out of spite. Stress that you feel constantly anxious and report any effects this has had on your mental state, ability to work, ability to sleep, etc.

      Restraining orders are supposed to be instruments of protection, not instruments of abuse.

  98. like 2 know how husband Got one cause my lawyer last time he Got one on me it was lies lawyer said he would need real proof he dont actually he broke my hand Sun and was Goin
    2 turn in at hhospital but my ride never came so i called next day and cop talked me into not doin i wasnt home w hen he (cops ) tryed 2 serve me and cop also told me u just cant pay and Get easy so do they serve on weekends?

  99. Can a parish, who owns its church building and grounds, issue a restraining order against verbally abusive priests who have threatened the congregation with their own legal action (defamation) because the parish feels they are wrong theologically, much less interpersonally? Recently, our former pastor retired and this action sort of opened the door for not one, but two, nearby priests (who are a little higher up the “political” ladder in the diocese) to come in and essentially bully us about everything we are doing. Letters were written to the bishop about the priests’ behavior, but nothing has been done and the priests are becoming increasingly hostile. Note that our parish is the second most wealthy in the whole diocese and the largest in our immediate area. We have many older parishioners, many of whom have become physically ill and have refused to return to our church until these priests leave. Even a few of the young families have stayed away as of late and don’t feel that our church is no longer a good environment for their kids. This is a very unfortunate situation. We don’t want to quit – we love our faith, traditions, and family. Going to another church of the same rite will only put off the problem as others are under the same influence by these guys. Can you provide some insight?

    • How bizarre—and awful. My grandmother, who lived into her nineties, never missed a mass in her life and would have been crushed by any cause to be disappointed in the Church. It was pretty much the axle of her life.

      A restraining order is typically petitioned by an individual to arrest misconduct toward him or her by another individual (that’s the pretense, anyway). Using an analogous context, you couldn’t—I don’t think—get a restraining order against the proprietor of a business for treating you badly when you voluntarily entered his business. You could, however, get a restraining order against someone who repeatedly came into your business and harassed or threatened you.

      I would expect a judge to say that if you don’t like the service, you should go elsewhere. What grounds you might have for some kind of legal prosecution would probably depend on what form the verbal abuse took. Religion, including for the reasons you name, is a complicated case, because people feel compelled by loyalty and faith not “to quit.”

      The proper channel would seem to be Church administration. Maybe a group delegation’s appealing to the bishop in person?

      Basically you want these guys out, right? Who knows, an attorney might be able to propose a legal remedy if the parish’s ownership of the grounds authorizes its collective members to choose whom they allow to live on those grounds and/or officiate in the services held there. The grounds, that is, may be considered “private property.”

      Going back to the analogy I used in the first paragraph, it might depend on whether the Church has authority or whether, as the property owners, the members of the parish have authority and whether the priests are viewed as “running the shop” or whether they’re “customers” whom you have the right to expel.

      You could call and run this past some attorneys, Matt. What the heck. Maybe some Jewish ones?

      The rub is, though, that you’re still going to want actual Church-ordained priests to minister to the parish, which probably makes trying to work things out through Church channels the wiser (if less satisfying) course.

      Alternatively, you could stage a walkout or picket and call a local news station.


  100. Lauren

    April 1, 2014

    I was in a relationship for almost a year with someone who had some deep seeded trust issues, low self esteem, and perhaps an undiagnosed mental disorder or two. Without the aforementioned this man had a wonderful soul, he unfortunately was very broken. In the beginning, I will admit I was not perfect and I have always believed it was the lack of communication and misconstruing what the relationship was in his eyes. I had taken blame and apologized continuously through our relationship even though it was in the past, he unfortunately could never let it go. Promises made by him time and time again to put it behind us and move forward together were broken continuously until 6 months into it when he threatened to kill himself and got his family and friends involved. He blamed me of course when I wasn’t even in the state. However, another cry for help and I remained by his side. He again made promises from that point forward to seek counseling and failed to do so. Our relationship needed help and I suggested therapy for us hoping then he would go. No. After months of noticing things he would say that were in complete reference to what friends of mine would say privately and showing up places he was never told by me or anyone else for that matter and my job when we were broken up, I started to think because of his education and career he did something like gps. I started to realize, ok how would he know my conversations and who I was talking to on the phone throughout the day that he had put something on my cell phone. I am not that computer savy and even had the cellular store professionals try to retrieve it and shut it off and they could not. I had notified some friends of what I thought was going on and they began to text me things that should not be said to anyone in a relationship and if said the person receiving them should instruct them to stop and I did not. This, thinking he was reading all my texts when he was nowhere near, infuriated him to a point where he finally admitted it to me. He admitted to doing this once before back at the 4-5 month mark but stated whatever it was he was doing and I of course believed him. He at this point had forwarded me messages that I only received, we do not share the same cell phone plan by the way, and he even in fact sent me texts of the gps coordinates he had on me a night that I went out with friends. I continued to try and work things through, because without all the craziness I truly loved this man with all my heart, and begged for him to get counseling it only got worse. He claimed he again stopped the program he admitted to having on my phone but then two days later he showed up where I was out at and did not inform him of banging on the door. I foolishly tried to appease him but when I woke up the next morning and we argued and I asked to take his cellphone he said to take it and when I left I showed up at my residence to him threatening me he was calling the cops. I never had the chance to try and find it on his phone and remove it as he the police there in 10 minutes. My children were home and were terrified I was getting arrested. I returned the phone to the police immediately and informed him of why I did what I did. Then it made me wonder what exactly does he have on that phone of his. The cops informed me that if he was stalking me and had a tracking device on my phone that I should file a restraining order. All I ever wanted to do was help him get better and filing the restraining order made me feel awful. I know I did it for my children and myself because I shouldn’t have to live my looking over my shoulder as I have for the majority of my relationship with him, some of my friends would not even text me anymore. I have a part of me that says it could potentionally get more volatile but I have been second guessing it because I do not want to damage him anymore than he was when he came to me a year ago. I feel bad and always try to help[ lost souls. I have court in the morning and have no idea what I am walking into and do not know what my options are at this point.

    • Hi, Lauren. I’m not a psychologist, but it sounds like you’re describing a man with borderline personality disorder. If you read about this on the web, you may encounter the statement that BPD is more typically seen in women. It’s also said then men more often manifest the traits of narcissistic personality disorder. I’m not sure what the bases for these gender remarks are, and I question their correctness (as I believe a psychologist would).

      Chronic blaming is a defining tendency of all of the “Cluster B” personality disorders. See this post. Because of this tendency (vehement blaming), these “high-conflict,” personality-disordered people are often either recipients of restraining orders or their applicants. The irony is that the same behaviors that may urge someone to have a personality-disordered individual restrained by court injunction also urge personality-disordered people to get restraining orders against others, because they’re marvelous tools for deflecting blame from themselves and exerting it on others.

      You may have dodged a bullet by acting first.

      Here are the DSM-IV criteria for BPD (these aren’t the most up-to-date, but they’re straightforward):

    • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
    • A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
    • Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
    • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
    • Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
    • Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
    • Chronic feelings of emptiness.
    • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
    • Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
    • Mediator Duncan McLean characterizes the borderline personality this way:

      “Borderline personalities tend to view themselves, others and the world in the following ways: ‘I don’t know who I am,’ ‘He/she is great…no they’re not,’ ‘Life must go my way or I won’t be able to tolerate it.’ The interpersonal characterization of Borderline personalit[ies] is their paradoxical inclination to fluctuate between idealization and devaluation of other people. They hate criticism [and] rejection, and quickly get dysthymic or depressed following the slightest of stressors. They are terrified of abandonment, and relatively simple things such as other people forgetting to return phone calls can cause considerable anxiety.

      “Their thinking style tends to be inflexible, which leads to rigid abstractions of other people. This in turn leads to particular problems in communication as they have a tendency toward ‘splitting,’ which is the inability to synthesize contradictory qualities in people, so that others are seen as good or bad but rarely in between. [T]heir dichotomous thinking and inclination to think and evaluate experiences in mutually exclusive categories is the basis of self-destructive behaviors and erratic emotions. The practitioner should look out for loyalty and scapegoating, inclusion and rejection, collusion and sabotage.”

      That’s the disorder. Mr. McLean also notes these positive traits that probably resonate with your good impressions of your ex-boyfriend:

    • Tendency to experience passionate, focused attachments in all relationships.
    • Emotionally active and reactive. Display their emotions openly.
    • Uninhibited, spontaneous, undaunted by risk.
    • Creative, lively, engaging. Open to experiencing other roles, cultures and values.
    • Intense and focused romantic relationships with one person.
    • Something I haven’t written about but intend to is an observation I’ve read repeatedly, and that’s that empathic people are often targeted by high-conflict people. Or draw them, if you prefer. I bring this up, because it sounds like you are an empathic person (“I continued to try to work things out”), and that’s why you feel conflicted.

      There’s a psychologist named Tara Palmatier, who consults by Skype, who could talk to and advise you about what to do going forward and let you know what to expect.

      Also know that you can (probably) have the restraining order vacated (voided) before it expires if you choose. That’s not meant as a recommendation but as information that you may not be aware of. Someone like Dr. Palmatier would much better be able to assess whether this man poses a physical threat to you or if he’ s more likely to hurt himself and whether the restraining order is useful or a possible trigger for escalation.

      For what it’s worth to you, my impression is that you have nothing to recriminate yourself for. People like this are toxic to normal minds and especially to minds that are hypersensitive to the feelings of others, like I suspect yours is. Sensitive minds are especially vulnerable to their manipulations (which aren’t necessarily deliberate—they’re part of the disorder). This thing’s reaching a head may have been a good thing for you, because it broke the cycle. It’s likely your compassionate desire to help would otherwise have kept you hooked into a relationship with someone who can’t be cured with kindness.

      If you find yourself waffling in your resolve, I tell you this with all confidence: You could very easily have found yourself in the opposing role. Not only could this man have sought a restraining order against you following the dictates of his will to blame; he might well have lied in extremely hurtful ways to obtain it. And the probability of his second-guessing himself and feeling bad afterward about what he did to you is zero.


      • Lauren

        April 3, 2014

        Thank you for the response. I recognized all the that and did my research once I started to see a pattern. I am not a psychologist either but I am a nurse. However, I diagnosed him myself with BPD with abandonment issues shortly into our relationship. Everyone leaves this poor guy and I did my best to stay. Like I said, I loved him very much and tried to get him to get help but he refused which constantly hurt me because I could see it all. I haven’t heard from him since I filed for the TRO which then confirmed what I believed because that broke a pattern for him and made me think he still has the tracker on my phone. I went yesterday morning for the hearing for the FRO and was hoping he wasn’t going to show up. I had two friends with me as witnesses to the events of his stalking me. He showed up with his mother, father, and sister (the sister was giddy and happy and cracking jokes), which was embarrassing because I truly loved them and if the role was reversed I wouldn’t bring my family, Especially when they hear all of the events to which their son/brother is a stalker. I really don’t want them to hear that. I probably wouldn’t even tell them. He then asked for an adjournment. Besides the fact that he possesses firearms and he doesn’t want to lose, what would be the reason for asking for an adjournment to get an attorney? There really isn’t anything to fight here. The fact that he has had a restraining order or two already, shouldn’t that stand for something. Can’t the courts advise him or make him get counseling?

        • You’re at least the third nurse I’ve been in correspondence with, Lauren, who’s gone through something like this, and I don’t believe that’s coincidental. I once spent five days in ICU—I was run down in the road by a guy in a 4 x 4—and my appreciation for nurses is without bound. They’re patient, compassionate, and giving people, and the personality-disordered have antennae that quiver when they recognize people like this—which isn’t to say that your feelings weren’t reciprocated; I’m sure they were. It’s just that how someone like your ex-boyfriend perceives the world is hopelessly marred.

          The irony is that pathological fear of abandonment (paranoia) is assuredly the reason why borderlines are abandoned. The fears of people with personality disorders seem to be self-fulfilling prophecies. It’s heart-wrenching, and it was good of you to hang in there for this person.

          From what I understand of the cognitive structure of people like this, you’re now “the enemy” in his mind, which perceives others in high contrast: they’re either white or black.

          So-called high-conflict people like this don’t capitulate; they amp the drama. I’ve been in a similar situation and wondered at the absence of shame from someone I thought I knew. There really is a kind of Jekyll-and-Hyde dichotomy to people like this. The person you thought you knew disappears completely.

          Expect anything—and nothing that you think you’re entitled to expect (like respect or recognition either of shared experiences or generosity and compassion you’ve shown in the past, which likely won’t be acknowledged). False allegations to self-justify and shift blame are typical of people like this and can be extreme. The person who was smiling at you enticingly or laughing with you not long ago may look at you with stony-faced malice tomorrow and claim anything his or her disturbed mind suggests would be a winning ploy. Very possibly, you’ll be represented as the stalker.

          Family and friends—contrary to all reason and evidence—will tend to side with their own. They may even harass you. When the situation is reversed, that is, when the personality-disordered person is the restraining order applicant, this is often the case. Outsiders are even brought in on the fun, and they need less coaxing than you’d imagine.

          As reluctant as you may be to involve others, you may want to consider bringing in some allies, too. If this man has already had others petition restraining orders against him, his credibility is probably shot, but restraining order adjudications are so fast-and-loose that nothing is dependable, least of all a reasoned and deliberate ruling. If the judge is female, for instance, and he has a smooth tongue, who knows.

          One of the nurses I told you I’d corresponded with applied for a restraining order against a short-term, violent boyfriend (who may also have been a borderline), was refused based on some fantastical and very vicious lying and ended up with a restraining order against her, obtained for payback and also based on fantastical lying. She was ravaged. I don’t mean to worry you, only to impress upon you that it happens. The upshot was that the nurse had to change jobs and seek therapy herself.

          The tolls exacted by people like this are incredible.

          To the best of my knowledge (which is limited), no, counseling would only be prescribed in a family court case. You could consult an attorney by phone, though. There’s no cost for this. The information you’d receive in a brief call would be scant, but you might get a lead. You might even find an attorney who knows what borderline personality disorder is. The personality-disordered are rarely diagnosed, though, so establishing that your ex-boyfriend needed counseling would be rough.

          The trial judge isn’t going to know you or him, and hearings for restraining orders are typically very short (minutes, not hours). It’s possible, I suppose, if you could establish a history of mental disturbance that a judge might mandate some kind of remedial treatment, but, again, an attorney would be the person to ask, and moving the court to mandate counseling (if this is even possible) would probably require you to obtain an attorney’s representation—which would be a good idea, anyway, if it’s within your means. An attorney could turn up this guy’s skeletons, which might clinch your case.

        • On borderline personality disorder and its tolls:

          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. BPs tend to pick false accusations that are difficult to disprove. Although we supposedly live in a society in which people are “innocent until proven guilty,” the reality is, that is not how people are treated. This is especially the case when accusations of sexual abuse, child abuse, and spousal abuse are involved. The victims of the distortion campaign often are treated as pariahs or even criminals, assumed to be guilty without any evidence whatsoever.

        • Check out this tutorial, Lauren:

          How to Get Someone Committed to a Mental Hospital


  101. girlsparky

    March 29, 2014

    Thank you. I didn’t think I would be able to get him on anything after poking around on the web. It just seems so wrong that a tpo can be used in this way with impunity. I’ll take your suggestion and just hope that karma catches up with him in the end.


  102. girlsparky

    March 28, 2014

    Someone threatened me in writing and I obtained a tpo. He then lied to get a tpo against me. The Sherrif told me that if I stood in my front yard for too long they would (not could) arrest me and put me in jail for 12 hours. I can prove he lied. He even states the he “recently through court documents” learned he had been falsely accused which is the tpo I filed on him. He accuses me of having my 12 year old daughter harrass him.

    I believe he used the courts and the sheriff to do exactly what my restraining order prohibits him to do.

    Is it possible for me to have him arrested for violating the tpo?

    • If I’m understanding you correctly, you’ve had conflict with a neighbor, who threatened you, which inspired you to apply for a restraining order, and the neighbor did the same thing as payback.

      Again if I’m understanding you correctly, your allegation is that your neighbor lied about you in order to harass and injure you by getting a TPO, which is what the TPO you petitioned was supposed to prohibit him from doing.

      If that’s what you mean, you’re totally right, but the courts don’t necessarily recognize false allegations as extreme as assault or rape as grounds for arrest or prosecution. Use (which includes ab-use) of legal procedure is seldom recognized as harassment, so the chances of having your neighbor arrested for harassing you by lying and abusing legal process are probably zero.

      If he broke your window, the police would come. Apparently if he lingered in his yard, the police would come. If he falsely says on public record that you’ve repeatedly exposed yourself to him, that you’ve stared through his windows at night, that you’ve offered to sell him narcotics, that you’ve aimed a gun at him, or anything else he wants, no one will do anything about it or even see that the allegations are expunged. Allegations on a restraining order may be consulted, for example, by your employer, by the principal at your daughter’s school, or by a social worker, anytime. Lying, which I mean to emphasize can seriously and permanently damage someone’s life, isn’t even recognized by the system as harmful.

      False allegations of stalking, sexual harassment, physical assault, sexual assault, physical or sexual assault on a child, etc., are made through the restraining order process every day—and erode people’s sanity or trash their lives…every day.

      Instead of escalating things, if I were you, I’d think about talking to a lawyer down the road about brokering a peace and getting these restraining orders vacated and expunged (erased or sealed), which usually isn’t a problem if all parties involved consent.


  103. Anonymous

    March 20, 2014

    If someone fraudulently claims to be in a relationship in order to get a domestic violence order is that a crime, and came it be considered libel?

    • It’s both criminal and libelous, yes. False allegations of domestic violence won’t be prosecuted, though. Depending on how awful the false allegations were, the accused may have grounds for a lawsuit for libel (fraud, etc.). Important to know is that the system doesn’t care, so the successful prosecution of a lawsuit against a liar like this depends on the victim’s ability to persuade the court to care.

      If there was no domestic relationship, there could have been no “domestic violence.” That likely means the court lacked jurisdiction to issue the order. A motion to dismiss should be filed on the basis that the court lacked jurisdiction to enter the order, making it “void.”

      Don’t take my word, though. I’m not an attorney. Confirm this by checking your state’s definition of “domestic violence” and the statutes that define the “domestic violence order” in your state. See the links at the bottom of this page, which I just put up.

      I corresponded with a female defendant in California in 2012 who was in an identical situation. The judge dismissed the order against her on appeal, because she had no domestic relationship with the married man who accused her (and never had had one).

      In some jurisdictions—maybe most—the allegation of “domestic violence” can be made just by ticking a box on a form.

  104. You are too damned funny!! I need to find a guy like YOU!! Thanks for making me laugh! I haven’t in a few weeks.


  105. My boyfriend of three years and I just broke up. It was sudden and he would not give me much of a reason for this. There has been alot of stress in both of our lives recently. I have, for the last two weeks, been trying desperately to get him to talk to me. I’ve texted a lot and called a few times. Only response I got was to just leave him alone. I felt that I deserved SOME explanation of what the heck was going on.
    Yesterday I received a phone call and a message was left from the county sheriff’s ofc where he lives, telling me that he was there asking the ofc to call me and tell me to not contact him. The officer told me that if I contacted him again there would be criminal charges filed against me. There is no restraining order in place.
    Can this office threaten me like that?
    Can I take some action against this officer for the threat?

    • It sounds like your ex-boyfriend whined that you were harassing him (what a guy). The officer who called you just had his word to go on. It’s terrible to have someone you trusted and shared your life with betray you publicly like this and have you embarrassed and intimidated, but unless the officer said something way out of line, s/he was just doing what s/he’s paid to do (keep the civil peace). You could complain to police administrators, I guess, or write a letter to the precinct captain, but probably the smartest thing to do would be to mentally say “go f* yourself” to your ex-boyfriend and forget the guy exists. Maybe have one of those purgative ceremonies where you burn his letters on the grill. At any rate, don’t call him or contact him in any way, Kelley, because once someone like this whines to the police, the police explain how a restraining order is obtained, and it’s the easiest thing in the world for a sniveler to then go to a judge and say that s/he had the police call you, but you didn’t take the hint (“She won’t stop!”). The next cop whom you talked to would serve you with a restraining order, which would take the outrage, humiliation, indignation, and betrayal you’re feeling now to a whole new plane.

      • Hey Todd. Well the jackass has been texting and talking to a former friend of mine, who incidentally contacted his wife and kid during one of our breakups. He’s saying nasty things about me and sharing past texts with her. She claims they laugh about what a fool I am. Of course she could be lying to try and hurt me, and it’s hurting me. I’m crushed. This guy has told me a lot of personal things about his wife, who I’ve heard is now his ex wife. I’d love to give her some details so she can see what a slime ball he really is. My question is, since I have her number becuz she’s contacted and harassed me in the past, is it legal for me to contact her now? I want this piece of shit to hurt like I’m hurting. I know I shouldn’t have but I’ve texted him a few times just trying to turn the end into something amicable, not bitter and cruel, for my own mental peace. After the acquaintance of ours started texting me last night I told him not to do anything to cause trouble for me, that I guess I needed to start making phone calls, that I would speak with my lawyer. He texted one word, Help. And idea what the hell that was? I’m so disgusted with him and with myself for being taken in by this jerk. I want him to pay for the devastation he’s caused me. Thank you for your help.

        I’m a damned mess, Kelley

        • I’m really sorry. I’ve seen this kind of thing over and over—and I’ve been subject to it, too. Other people are brought into the conflict and enjoy getting in on the bullying just for the sheer spite of it. It’s deeply sick, and these people—in my opinion—are the lowest of the low. More pathetic than bullies are their pets.

          The answer to your question is that if there’s no restraining order in place, you’re not prohibited from talking to anyone, though I would take the police warning about not communicating with your ex-boyfriend very seriously, because an officer can arrest you independently of charges brought by a complainant, that is, at his or her own discretion. This is an actual exchange I’ve heard between a guy and a cop: “Who’s pressing charges?” “I am.” The thing is everything that you feel tempted to do risks inspiring someone to do something back. The boyfriend could whine to the courts, the (ex-)wife could whine to the courts, the “friend” could whine to the courts, or they could all gang up against you in one prosecution (or three), and even a lawyer probably couldn’t save you. If you were seeing a married man, all a judge is going to hear is that you’re bitter and vengeful.

          You’re a woman. Ask yourself whether if you were the wife (or ex-wife, as the case may be), and your female rival called you, would you be sympathetic toward what she had to say, or would you just hate her guts and want her to die writhing in agony? In my experience, when someone’s been cheating, the spouse sides with the cheater.

          That “Help” your ex-boyfriend texted, incidentally, might have been sarcastic. He might have meant “Gulp.” Some people thrive on the sniping and drama. The way to defuse it is to ignore it and impress upon them that they mean nothing and are nothing.

          They’re enjoying getting a rise out of you and hurting you.

          I know it’s hard, but I’d let this die, Kelley. Don’t contact these people. If they contact you, tell the “friend” and your ex-boyfriend: “Leave me alone” (use words you’d be okay with a judge reading). And keep a record, if possible, of your having done it. Then if they don’t leave you alone, you have both a defense if you’re hassled in court (something you can tell and show a judge) and evidence you can prosecute them with if you want. Alternatively, if they continue to harass you relentlessly, you could call the police (a different precinct), tell them you’re being harassed, and have an officer call the bullies and make their bottoms pucker.

          Just appreciate that if you escalate, they probably will, also.

          Consider, too, that all the texts you’re furious that your ex-boyfriend has been sharing can be aired in court and put on public record for view by anyone, including your employers. Privacy, fairness, sensitivity—expect none of these from the courts.

          • Thanks. I understand what you’re saying. I don’t think the cop from 300 miles away is gonna drive here and arrest me, tho. But hey you never know! I appreciate your thoughts, input and support. You’re really the my best friend right this minute! :-)


            • Then you’re screwed if you wind up in jail, because this friend can’t post bail for you! If you can’t resist the urge to even the score, do it when your mind is cool…and be stealthy.

              • Good advice! Thanks, dude



              • Kelley

                April 3, 2014

                Well, now this jackass has been texting me, saying all kinds of insulting things and at one point told me to bring my “better half” with me when I come back there becuz he has something for both of us. Can I have him arrested for that? Cuz I sure will if I can!


                • Save everything for your self-protection. The “threat” is so vague, though, that I doubt the police would take an interest. What they’d likely do is warn him off and/or direct you to the court. But if you’ve been responding, that could go against you. Remember, too, that all of these actions are at the taxpayer’s expense.

                  What sort of resolution are you looking for? It doesn’t sound like he’s going to apologize or extend an olive branch, and you surely don’t want this person (“jackass”) in your life, anymore, do you?


  106. Anonymous

    March 3, 2014

    Hello… My ex is trying to vacate my three-year domestic violence restraining order. I am worried that if it is vacated, he will at least harass if not physically harm me. What can be done if the family court vacates it and he harms me? Would there is any reciprocation for the court? (California)

    • Hi. What are the circumstances (roughly)? Presence or absence of a restraining order won’t protect you, of course, if someone’s determined to hurt you. It’s just a piece of paper. The court doesn’t need to order that someone not physically harm you, though, for it to be a crime. If someone hurts you, you’re authorized to defend yourself, and/or file assault charges against that person. If you’re asking because you’re in legitimate fear for your safety, you’d be really smart to distance yourself from this person physically (i.e., relocate) whether there’s an order of the court in place or not. On what grounds is he seeking vacation of the restraining order?

      There might be repercussions (negative publicity) if a restraining order were vacated and you were injured, but the best you could expect would be that a judge were sanctioned or invited to retire. If you were profoundly injured, you could sue.

      Protecting yourself effectively is really about your choices. I’ve recommended this writer before, whom I like: Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear).

      It’s disgustingly the case that a lot of people abuse restraining orders, making hyped claims to injure someone else or dominate a situation, which discredits and complicates the claims of people who really are at risk.

  107. My fiance and child’s father has a child by a woman from a previous relationship that keeps filing bogus orders of protection against me, she was able to have one slip through the cracks because i had no knowledge of it, once i found out and we appeared in court it was thrown out so here we go again i just received mail that she has filed another order of protection against me, i haven’t seen or been near this woman since the last court date and i now live in another state. I believe shes using me as a pawn in the child support custody battle because she mentions that she doesn’t want my fiance in his child’s life, what can i do to stop her from keep filing these against me Ive also lost a job offer due to it, help she wont leave me alone!!

    • An attorney might be able to present you with other options, Tierney, but these are the ones I know of: (1) have an attorney write a menacing letter (this is expensive and basically toothless), (2) file a restraining order against your tormentor that alleges chronic harassment and stalking (and tell the judge you’re constantly anxious, have lost sleep, that your job performance has suffered, yadda, yadda), (3) sue the woman, and/or (4) move to an address where she can’t find you to have restraining orders served. The latter option probably isn’t viable if there’s a child involved and you’re the dad’s fiancee and live with him, but FYI.

      Of these, I would recommend applying for a restraining order against the woman and not holding anything back. Be emphatic and dramatic. It’s a filthy game, and I’m sorry to encourage you to soil your hands, but if you try to stay clean and above the fray, you get buried. The fact is what this woman has done is nothing next to what she could do (false allegations to Child Protective Services, false allegations to the police, and on and on and on), and there is no statutory limit on how many restraining orders this woman could apply for. A restraining order you got would discredit anything else she tried to do. You might also be able to use it to prevent her from knowing your whereabouts. If that worked, you could have a lawyer communicate that you’ll sue her if she ever bothers you again, and it might mean something then.


  108. samantha dilbeck

    February 11, 2014

    the person that lives with me got served with a restraining order from his soon to be ex wife because of domestic violence and i am the witness to this abuse ,

    does that mean i am not allowed to have contact with her until after the trial because he lives with me even though i am the witness ?

    • I’m confused by whose relationship with whom signifies what, but the simple answer, Samantha, is that a restraining order is just an order directed at its defendant from the court. You’re not the defendant, so it doesn’t affect what you can or can’t do. One word of caution, though: if the party who got the restraining order is in a volatile state, it’s totally possible she could get pissed at something you had to say and get a restraining order against you too. Sounds absurd, is injust and outrageous, and does happen. Best with getting through this.

  109. There is an App that allows for an easy download of texts that are still on the cell phone (many pages worth). Once this is done, then that party who did the download needs to sign a affidavit of authentication.

  110. Can the courts access your text messages on your phone without your knowledge when you have a restraining order against you? And, if so, how common is this? Do they actually “hijack” your messages right off your phone form your cell number or do they have to go through the provider with a court order? Signed, Paranoid I guess!

    • Possibly the NSA could, Claire, but the courts don’t investigate anything. An attorney could subpoena the records from the provider (or try), or a judge could authorize a cop to monitor your phone. If you’re not egaged in highly felonious activities or suspected of them, though, the likelihood of any of this occuring is pretty remote. Would the courts you’re worried about even know your cell phone provider or telephone number? No judgment here: perfect paranoia is perfect awareness!

      eHow: How to Retrieve Text Messages from Cell Phone Companies

  111. Hi is it possible for our lawyer to bill the defendant for the court costs since the person is appealing our permanent restraining order? It’s really not fair or financially possible for us to keep paying these legal fees because she can’t except the fact of the restraining order.

  112. Hello, great site! I’ve been harassed by an individual with multiple false R.O.’s for several years now. I fought the first one in person (with no lawyer) the next two via letters to the court (they were issued from out of state) and the last one, also issued from out of state, with a lawyer. ALL were vacated, and in the last instance, my accuser was ordered to reimburse me for $2,500 in legal fees, which I will never see. I can’t take this person to court to try to put an end to this because I’m not allowed to know where she is; she’s essentially a professional “abuse victim” who has gullible domestic violence groups eating out of her hand. She’s shuttled from safe house to safe house and accuses me of rape, beatings, threats, etc. in order to receive the free housing, food, and good will that she gets from these folks. She also tells them that we were a “couple” for 10 years, which is false. We were never a couple, period. She was our border for 2 months years ago, until we asked her to leave; she was mentally unstable even then.

    QUESTION: If we were to move so that future R.O.’s couldn’t be served at our long time address, they’d become null and void, correct? Instead of trying to address each R.O. as they come, I’m thinking of moving. I doubt that my local police would do more than ring the door bell at our present address when serving one of these, in terms of “looking” for me, correct? Thanks for your work!

    • Thanks, Gunnar, and I’m sorry for the anguish this has caused you. Who could even imagine the hell these facile instruments enable? Congratulations, at least, on keeping your head above the tide so far.

      The answer to your question is probably, that is, if you changed addresses and ensured this woman couldn’t find you, this torment would probably die away. It depends, I guess, on how obsessed she is and what kinds of resources she could muster. A cop or constable isn’t likely to bend the full force of law enforcement resources to track you down, and restraining orders must be served within a specified period or they expire (check with your local courthouse(s) to find out what this period is, which likely varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction). You’d have to take care that the courthouse(s) didn’t have your new address (which they could get from your driver’s license, for example), and this wouldn’t work, of course, if this person knew your place of employ. I’ve heard of a police officer in Australia tracking a defendant down (and serving him) via Facebook, so I won’t tell you some gung-ho officer wouldn’t go Inspector Javert on you. Short of suing this person (which would require serving her with a summons and complaint), though, I don’t know of a better remedy. You could, of course, do the same to her, and see if you could inspire some dogged police sleuth to track her down (with the help of a private investigator, even) by applying for a restraining order alleging chronic harassment yourself. The scenario you describe highlights the (many) absurdities of the process and is one no one with a stake in the preservation of the status quo willingly admits occurs. The shelters get money for this. So, too, the police, the courts, etc. It’s in nobody’s interest but the victims’ to observe abuses. (And taxpayers’, I guess, but how many taxpayers know how government spends their earnings?)


  113. Anonymous

    January 23, 2014

    I wanted to leave an update: I had a social worker take a R.O. out on me in Oct of last year. It was granted because the judge would not “allow” me to show my proof! The woman had no proof of anything, and the judge would not hear my witness. So her R.O. was granted. So that being said I found out this person was NOT licensed (I told the judge this too). So, I reached outside of my area and now she is being punished from the License Board. From what I hear she is no longer doing the hosp job. This woman’s friend is doing it now and she has been reported for having no license either. It is not the route I wanted to go. But, I believe that she is dangerous for working in M.H. and not having a license and that is why she wanted the R.O. because she KNEW I knew and did not want me to ruin her reputation! So, I would like to know how you think I handled a bogus R.O. and that even it bugs me I still got a clear message through.

    • I’m sorry this went against you. When false motives are subtle, they almost always work. Clearly you’re never likely to get this woman to recant now that you’ve exposed her, but if you’ve protected someone by removing a person who wasn’t qualified to do the job she was doing, there may be some karmic merit in that. Any victory, even exoneration, is a pyrrhic victory in these cases (one that’s as damaging as it is satisfactory). I hope you’re able to feel okay about it.

  114. This may be silly but I was wondering, someone has been harassing me via the internet for the past 2 months, at the beginning this person has been doing it through anonymous but I have known who it was the entire time; I have tracked the I,P addressed constantly, the person has come reveal themselves by messaging me directly. I have been defending myself, but they are still harassing me, at times the participant would get their friends or roommates to do it for them. Would getting a restraining order forbid this person from contacting me in any sort of way? My apologies, I am not too knowledgeable about these things.

    • Yes, but before actually taking this step, if the harassment isn’t threatening and is more of a nuisance than anything else, you might spell out your intention (“I know who you are, and I’ll prosecute you if you don’t stop”). This would likely be sufficient to shut this person down, would save taxpayers one to two thousand dollars, and possibly save you a serious headache. Don’t hesitate to follow through, Martina, if you feel threatened. If not, though, appreciate that this process can exacerbate or escalate conflict and comes with a good many consequences no one’s going to tell you about going in. Best wishes and take care.

      Caveat: If you decide to fire a warning shot before acting, say you intend to “prosecute” instead of that you intend to get a restraining order. It’s entirely possible this person or one of his or her cronies could apply for a restraining order against you first. As ridiculous as this sounds, it happens. This process is very easily abused, which is why this blog exists.

  115. Why is this American tragity of abusive orders not getting the attention they deserve with so many lifes ruined and desrtroyed on a daily basis? Who should be held responsible for causing the death of an innocent defendent who’s rights were violated and died as a direct result stemming from this crime? Think about it!

  116. my daughterinlaw put a false order of protection against mt son also one for his 4 year old daughter the problem is she just became a us citzen because my son married her but her family is her illegally they keep threatning him to take her to trinadad to live and he will never see her agan…what are his chooses…

    • If your son hasn’t already appealed the order, Debbie, that would be the place to begin. If he has, and the order was upheld, it prevents him from having any sort of relationship with your daughter-in-law, and whether she leaves the country or not is beyond his control. What’s the purpose of the threats? Are the in-laws trying to extort money? And is your granddaughter in your daughter-in-law’s custody?

      If it’s within your means to hire a family attorney, that would be advisable, and you can call and consult one for free. Was the protection order baseless (in other words, a fraud)?

  117. Hi!i file for restrianing order against my boyfriend but with my consent he come into my apartment so many times.. And now he again doing messy things that i dont like …can i sue him for violating the restraining order?

    • You can report him for violating the court’s order. Understand, though, that this will mean police will collect him and lock him up. Possibly for quite a while.

  118. I have a question, my duaghter is getting an order of protection against my wife because of a big tiff they have going, mostly bogus mean spirited bach and forth, but if the judge ordres my wife cant have a firearm does that mean my guns have to go because I live in the same house. My wife doesnt own them I do and registered to me

    • The language of my own state’s laws is pretty vague and only specifies that the defendant musn’t “possess” firearms or ammunition. It doesn’t say anything about cohabitants’ owning firearms. How fast and hard rules are and how closely they’re observed is uncertain. If this thing goes forward, absolutely do inform the judge (and any police officer involved) that you have firearms and want to observe the letter of the law. I would be surprised if this affected your rights.

  119. If I got a order of proctetion against me and me and my gf we get back together knowing she got a order of protection. Against me and she find out I’m cheating on her and she deci to.get revenge by telling the judge that i being talking to herr calling her and texting her can I do something about It i got text from her threating me my life and threat me with her baby father

    • She’s holding all the cards in this relationship, Darell, so be very cautious. If the police have reason to believe you’ve even come near her while the order of protection was in effect, they can arrest you. And she can tell them any story she wants. It doesn’t matter what the truth is. You can be arrested for sending a text message.

      You might be able to use the text messages that threaten your life to get a protection order against her. Just understand that you could be inviting heat, because you acted in violation of the court’s order against you.

      Stay safe.

  120. Hello,
    Thank you for your information. I too have had a wrongful protection order taken out on me. My husband is the abuser not me. I can’t afford an attorney so tomorrow morning I go to court tell tell my side. Unlike a lot of posters here, I am the wife. So yes, there are psycho men out there that abuse the system. I told my husband I wanted a divorce. The next day I was served the papers that he said I threatened to kill him, his parents and his dog… What a lie, I never even thought of such horrible things. I was kicked out of the house with no where to go. So here we are 5 days later and I’m still wearing the same clothes I left in and no place to live, no money, etc…. But alas all I have research I find that tomorrow might indeed be a moot point to even go to court. If the judge does grant my husband the permanent protection order, does that mean I can’t even get my things? All of my life is at the house including important documents etc. God I just wish this had never happened. I never did anything and here I am now having this horrible situation rearing its ugly head. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for your web page and for all the information. I just wish it would have some type of happy ending for me and all of you out there suffering in injustice the way I am. I tried to find a Pro Bono Attorney here in Wyoming without any success. So I guess I lose again… May God protect us all from the perpetrators who willfully lie and manipulate the system. We don’t deserve this! But hey I guess that’s why they say life isn’t fair right? Now I have to find out how to get a divorce from this crazy man without any money… We will see what happens I guess.

    • I marvel at the emotional resource and positivity of people like you, Lisa. I think you’re rare. In your place, I’d probably be huddling in the corner of an alleyway. I hope you receive some measure of fairness. Regarding your belongings, check the restraining order statutes for Wyoming. It’s usually the case that people are just tossed out and told not to look back, but in some states (like mine, Arizona), defendants are allowed to return to their homes to briefly gather some belongings in the company of a police officer. It’s a very long shot, but there may be a divorce attorney who would take your case on contingency, especially if s/he thought you had grounds to sue your husband. This would mean s/he got a cut of the settlement or award. Persevere, best wishes, and stay warm.

  121. Thank you so much for your response!
    My questions now would simply be, what is my rebuttal in court when obviously in their eyes he indeed violated the pfa order. If they put him away for 6 months or any time at all would be insane, I’m hoping for a fine and or probation + fine. I spoke to a friend of his who is willing to let him use his address so he can get out in time for supervised bail or at least if they do not make him serve time. I will do my best to express how they should not condem him or a mistake I made. I just want to tell them that I told the defendant the pfa was dropped, perhaps that will take more heat off of him? What about possible pregnancy ? He was starting a new job after the first, doing this to him will take away a lot in his life for a long time. He will be tiring 29 and with those kinds of charges it is already difficult enough for him. Maybe they would favor a fine and probation since he has a job that wants to hire him after the first? He can be given a chance, pay the fine and do the probation term instead of jail time.

    • Probably your best course would be to honestly present the facts as you’ve done here. You didn’t understand the seriousness of the order and thought you had discretion to allow your boyfriend to return (you thought the order was “for you” not “against him”). Everything was consensual. And you didn’t understand the gravity of asking for help a second time. You just reacted in the heat of the moment and didn’t realize what you were setting into motion. Judges aren’t likely to appreciate this, but no one is told anything when they’re awarded a restraining order, and no one is told anything when they’re issued one. In both cases, it pretty much boils down to “sign here,” and the state washes its hands of the matter. The fact is this man didn’t do anything, right? The police and courts are responding to your allegations, which were about your feelings, not his acts. I don’t know what the previous allegations were. If you just said you were afraid, then they’re responding to your emotional interpretations. If there was more to it than that—for example, if you said he hit you or threatened you—it’s going to be rough. Basically this man’s only violation was in disregarding the restraining order, which was only issued, again, based on your allegations, whatever they were. You know whether they had a substantial basis or not. If it’s true that you felt bullied into proceeding with the restraining order once your mom and her friend got involved, you could explain that. It’s easy to get swept away by feelings of resentment that are then seconded by others—whom you then feel indebted to, etc. The whole process is coercive. And it’s like a hair-trigger trap: once you touch it, it mercilessly slaps shut. (Most plaintiffs love it for this reason, especially if those plaintiffs are frauds, because it caters to their every whim and fantasy—which is why it’s so popular, which is why it’s so bent.) Do explain, sure, that this stands to destroy his life and that this wasn’t what you had in mind. In fact you weren’t thinking ahead at all, just acting impulsively. I don’t know what the truth is, and I can’t counsel you to bend it, obviously, but if you were to tell the court that you told your boyfriend the restraining order was canceled or over, or that you gave him to understand that that was the case, I suppose it might relieve him of some of the responsibility for violating it. These matters are totally discretionary, that is, you could get a benevolent judge, or you could get the Terminator. Your pleading for leniency should carry some weight, but judges are basically trained to drop the guillotine. Natural expectations we have of people are often disappointed when those people are judges. I don’t know that a lawyer could help much in this case, but, again, talking with one (or some) would be a good idea.


  122. Anonymous

    December 29, 2013

    I have a PFA on my current boyfriend and I have yet to make a petition to modify it. Today was heart wrenching, my boyfriend and I got into an argument and I automatically went into victim mode and I wanted to leave- I was frantic and scared not because he acted that way towards me but because it brought up bad memories for me. I ran, as if I was being chased and went to the local college police campus while I waited for a taxi, I let a police man on duty know what was going on and he took my honesty about being stupid and having a PFA on him when we are living together etc. and contacted city police to go to my home and arrest him. ( campus police asked for my ID and his name.. I did not think anything of it at the time, thought it was routine ) The city police took my words and turned it into him violating the PFA because he was in OUR home, he is on the lease, he did not commit any physical, threating abuse. He is not in the local county jail on 5,000 dollars bail for such offense. I am looking up case law and other situations but I am hitting a dead end because of the PFA. HOWEVER, the PFA was for a previous address not the current one we reside in, how does that apply? I allowed him to move in, obtain gainful employment, if anyone is at fault I suppose it should be me? How do I fix this? Nothing happened at all!! I am going to the Court House tomorrow to file a petition for modification on the PFA, how long does that take, I wonder. He doesn’t deserve to be in jail. PLEASE, I know I am no one “special” just someone looking for help, assistance to resolve this problem that occurred, please. Begging is not my forte nor becoming of a person however, I will for this situation. Also, the police really twisted my words once I explained a bit of back round on why we are together, they didn’t even get my full side of the story, they were just there to make an arrest. I asked them several times, crying as well that it was just an argument and he did not do anything to me. We have been living together since May of 2013 and they did not want to hear anything I was saying to them. I am at fault for not modifying the PFA, I understand that however I did not originally waste the courts time when the PFA was filed. My boyfriend changed his whole world and being and acted out in the heat of the moment which lead to the PFA. I didn’t understand most of it when it was all happening in 2012, my Mother never liked him because of his race and the lawyer I had was her good friend and well you see where that got me. I thought it was it for him and I, then we started talking and one thing lead to another and he has changed so much but because I freaked out in a panic and the police wanted nothing more than to get a black man off the streets, I feel- this has happened to us. Possibly pregnant, he has a new job, I am on unemployment and have an upcoming surgery in Feb, things were moving along just fine for us and I had a freak out moment, please someone help me.

    • The police and courts are trained to be suspect of women’s withdrawing allegations. Chances are very slim that you’re going to be taken seriously. In the eyes of the state, your boyfriend acted in contempt of court by moving in with you after being forbidden to near you at all. The change of address doesn’t matter, unfortunately, and the law doesn’t care about what you did, only about what he did. It’s possible the order could have been rescinded upon y0ur moving the court to vacate it. If you try to vacate it now, you’d probably be wiser not to mention that your boyfriend violated the order. Either way, though, the police know, so it’s probably out of your hands. Obviously if you can afford an attorney’s counsel, getting one on board would be your best shot of minimizing the fallout. Money is the surest remedy—as is usually the case—and not having it is why most people are steamrolled by these processes. Their immunity to reason is why this site and others like it exist. If you can’t afford an attorney, you’re probably going to have to hope that your sincerity counts for something. Calling an attorney, however, is free. Trying to arouse the interest of a black criminal attorney, if you could find one, might be worth a shot (or might give you a lead). If there’s someone in your boyfriend’s family you could turn to—assuming no one in your own family would be sympathetic—that might be worth considering, too, as agonizing as it might be. I wish I could suggest something more promising.

  123. My wifes ex boyfriend has filed an ex parte against my wife. In it he alleges alligations of abandonment, drug use, neglect, arrest (that never happened) and the usual lies that people claim. However the most disturbing lie he claims is that he is the father of my wifes oldest son. He even checked off the box claiming he was listed as the father on the birth certificate.
    Therr was a dna test done that proves who the father is and the child was born well before my wife dated or slept with her ex. So immediatly after me and my wife were notified that her son was removed from school by the marshalls and given to her ex we rushed to the court and filed an ex parte in order to get back her son. The judge denied our ex parte although we explained how this man grossly lied to obtain custody of the child. They even denied to look at the birth certificate that would prove he is not the father.
    So now this man has my wifes son and we have to wait a week for the hearing to present our evidence. Which we have proof of my wife not being a drug addict. ( random urins for the past three months all of them clean) she was never arrested. The child has been unde r her state insurence since birth ect.
    I am disgusted at the injustice and criminality of this whole situation. We are both in couseling and are explaining to our counselors the adverse mental and emotional effects this is having on us. i was told by the court clerk that he need not present any evidence as to any of his claims and that they take him by his word and assume he is telling the truth. However it is common knowledge that people, esspecially vengeful and jealouse people lie. This man didnt even need to show a form of identification as to who he was. When it comes to a child the plaintiff should have to prove a relationship or guardianship in someway shape or form.
    I am looking into our options of having him arrested but have yet to find a hopeful avenue. The police habe been no help and actually have been quite rude and disrespectful. So I am also looking into whom I am able to sue and what I am able to sue them for.
    I would also like to become a voice in changing the system.
    Another avenue I am looking into is my rights as their stepfather. If any.
    Anyone with advice or comment I will be greatly appreciative.

    • I’m not an attorney, Sean, but unless I’m missing something, the ex-boyfriend is guilty of felony kidnapping (“simple kidnapping” or “child-stealing”)—and perjury, that is, lying about a material fact to a judge, which is also a felony crime. Nobody cares about perjury, but everyone should care about kidnapping. You can’t just represent yourself as a child’s parent and lay claim to someone else’s kid and have him delivered to you. If anything happened to a child whom a judge authorized to be taken away by a nonparent/non-guardian, the judge would be vulnerable to criminal prosecution besides civil prosecution, I would think.

      Is this actually the scenario?!:

      Guy: “I used to [date/live with] his mom, so I want a restraining order against her, and I want the boy.”

      Judge: “Here you go. He’s all yours.”

      If this guy has no legal entitlement to your stepson other than a restraining order issued by a judge who didn’t even check his credentials or confirm paternity, call the state attorney general’s office, FBI, and/or your local city/county attorney’s/prosecutor’s office. Again, unless I’m missing something, priority one should be getting this boy home safely.

      Also, call and talk to some lawyers, Sean (look under ATTORNEY in the phonebook). There’s no charge for a phone consultation. If your stepson has been (in effect) kidnapped, start the conversation off by saying, “My stepson has been kidnapped. He’s in the custody of my wife’s ex-boyfriend who petitioned a false restraining order against her and falsely identified himself as the boy’s father. We’ve been told we can’t do anything about it, and we’re going out of our minds.” You might find someone (maybe a personal injury lawyer) who would sue the city/county for a percentage of the potential award (30%). If you’re saying federal marshals (?) removed the boy from school, then you could sue the U.S. government conceivably. Depending on what a lawyer says, consider calling a local news station, too.

      Don’t expect court staff or police officers to know the law. I don’t think they’d steer you wrong intentionally, but their information is limited. They’ve been conditioned like everyone else to say, hey, if that’s what it says, that’s what we go by. And they’ve been conditioned to regard restraining order defendants with suspicion or even contempt. You need to get some other authorities involved.

      I have a very hard time believing judges can legally award custody of children to nonparents/non-guardians (essentially strangers) based on a five-minute restraining order interview.

      Do you know if the boy’s okay? Do you know where your stepson is?

      Regarding your rights, it would probably depend on whether by “stepfather,” you mean you’re the boy’s de facto dad or you mean you’ve adopted him. If you’re this boy’s legal guardian, I would think your rights are absolute.

  124. Even though the 1 year restraining order against me expired a year ago, I’ll never be the same and neither will my children. I was lucky to have had unwavering support of friends and family and even with them, I barely made it through.

    Two months prior to the restraining order, after having given my marriage my all, I finally attempted to divorce my deteriorating, severely depressed, and alcoholic husband. I finally realized that I had taken as much responsibility as I could in our conflict and came to understand that he was incapable or unwilling of accepting or sharing responsibility for our issues. This was a process of grief in itself.

    When I told him I wanted a divorce, he took our money, went to a lawyer and made accusations against me. I had been full-time Mom to our children aged 3, 6, 8, 16, and 18 at the time. Our two older daughters have refused to speak to me since the restraining order.

    There are so many details as to how many times he was given carte blanche by our judge, mediator, a therapist, DPSS, the police, the school to violate our custody “agreements” and continue his abuse of not just me, but our children, especially our daughters who he used as surrogates for me.

    I was also a former teacher, school administrator, and later became a therapist specializing in children and adolescents. I am currently a therapist and have worked at the same residential treatment center for almost 5 years. I had never been arrested or had any issues with law enforcement. I have no alcohol or substance use history. But he lied and distorted facts to create somebody I’m not and never have been. I’ve been proving that slowly but surely since October 2011 just as he has been proving his character but the damage has been done. My concern is the children.

    I promised myself, my children, and friends and loved ones who supported me in the darkest days that I would do what I could to find the good in this experience and help others. I want to blog and write about my experience but I’m not sure I’m an effective writer. Any ideas on what I can do? Any thoughts on publicly advocating even though my career as a licensed therapist can be derailed? I don’t want to expose my children to more trauma but at the same time, they deserve to not have to live with the stigma of their mother having had a restraining order based on false accusations.

    I want to make a difference.



    • It would probably depend on the orientation of your blog, Jill. It’s hard. My own circumstances are that I aspired to write for children and adolescents (including grownup adolescents). Humor and play. I wanted some very foul all