Restraining Order Q & A

DISCLAIMER: This page 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 page by pressing Ctrl + F or ⌘ Cmd + F. A dialogue box will appear.

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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 Commission on Judicial Conduct. 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.

“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?”

My knowledge of the law is limited—I’m not an attorney—but it seems to me that having a felony conviction shouldn’t make a person any less entitled to state protections. That said, if you’re defending yourself against allegations made by a felon (especially false ones), by all means introduce the plaintiff’s criminal record to the judge, because it definitely speaks to his or her character and credibility.

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 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.

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 is. 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 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?”

Sure.

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?”

PLEASE DO.

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?”

Sure.

“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?”

Yes.

“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?”

Yes.

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…?”

Yes.

“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 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] 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 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?”

Zippo.

“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…?”

Success.

“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.

“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 © 2012-14 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com

535 Responses “Restraining Order Q & A” →
  1. 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.

    Reply
    • You might try Googling restraining order defense + your home town 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply

  2. 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?

    Reply

  3. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  4. 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?

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

      Don’t expect any apologies, though.

      Reply
  5. 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….

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  6. 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.

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply

  7. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.”

      Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  8. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  9. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  10. 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?

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply

  11. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  12. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

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

      Reply

  13. 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.

    Reply

  14. 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?

    Reply
    • 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).

      Reply

  15. 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?

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply

          • 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.

            Reply
            • 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.

              Reply

              • 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.

                Reply
                • 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.

                  Reply

  16. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

      • 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.

        Reply

        • Deb McEwan

          May 17, 2014

          The child is 17 months old.

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  17. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  18. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  19. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  20. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  21. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  22. 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?

    Reply
    • 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).

      Reply

  23. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  24. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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!!

        K

        >

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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  26. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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)

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

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
      • 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?

        Reply
        • 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?

          Reply
  28. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  29. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  30. 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?

    Reply
  31. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  32. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

      • 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?

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
        • Check out this tutorial, Lauren:

          How to Get Someone Committed to a Mental Hospital

          Reply

  33. 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.

    Reply

  34. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  35. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  36. 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.

    Kelley

    Reply
  37. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
          • 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! :-)

            K

            Reply
            • 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.

              Reply
              • Good advice! Thanks, dude

                K

                Reply

              • 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!

                K

                Reply
                • 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?

                  Reply

  38. 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)

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  39. 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!!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  40. 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 ?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  41. 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.

    Reply
  42. 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!

    Reply
    • 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

      Reply
  43. 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.

    Reply
  44. 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!

    Reply
    • 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?)

      Reply

  45. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  46. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  47. 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!

    Reply
  48. 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…

    Reply
    • 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)?

      Reply
  49. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  50. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  51. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  52. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  53. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

  54. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  55. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  56. 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.

    Thanks,

    Jill

    Reply
    • 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 allegations taken back and removed from my record. Here’s what my two-year experiment has taught me: If you come on like a rhino and lash out against injustices done to you and the injuries they’ve wrought (which you’re very apt to do if you’ve lost years of your life because of them), people are content to perceive and dismiss you as a nut. It doesn’t matter if you have a halo, and it doesn’t matter if the allegations you’re complaining of are obviously false. The only people who could give a damn are people in the same boat, and they’re looking either for a way out themselves or for stories of good triumphing over evil that will bolster their spirits. Even if you got responses to your story, they would be well wishes and gestures of sympathy that might briefly make you feel better but whose rewards would quickly wear off. And then you’d be in the same psychological place (and possibly more discouraged). If instead you speak more generally to how injustices are enabled and why and how they hurt, there are many people who will grasp what you’re saying (even if they don’t like it). Most will be people with a stake in the issues, but some will be people whose curiosity you arouse, who oppose your basic message, or who are interested more broadly in social justice. There are therapists who write about many of the issues touched on in this blog (and some links to their sites are on the Blogroll). There is, of course, no money in social advocacy. Counseling, yes. Lawyering, yes. Activism, no. (It’s basic reward is fatigue.)

      My advice is that if you choose to do this, represent yourself as a therapist and explore the psychological and sociological factors that make abuses through the courts and social services both brutally effective and utterly disregarded. Creative writers are always told, “Write what you know,” which is stupid advice. Creative writers should write what they like. In your case, though, writing what you know would be smart, because your credentials would invest your perspectives with some heft. You’d just have to strike a balance. If you capitulated to the urge you assuredly feel to ventilate two years of agony, you’d likely sound like someone who should be in therapy.

      You seem very sober and reasonable to me. Assuming you could maintain a kind of stoic equanimity, you’d then want to consider whether it would be rewarding to you to invest your time in this kind of endeavor, that is, whether putting information out there that could compromise you and that you couldn’t be sure would make a difference would nevertheless seem worthwhile to you. Don’t start on this path hoping to gain anything from it (including satisfaction) unless you think it could provide you with material for a thesis (if you have any plans to go back to school), material for a book, or material that could help you in your practice.

      It’s not for nothing, Jill, that these obscenities have been able to persist for decades largely unchallenged. I certainly sympathize with your impulse and admire you for the bravery it takes even to contemplate acting on it. Alternatives you could consider short of starting a blog are contributing to others’, starting a petition (I’ve been tracking different petitions, and the most effective ones seem to come from MoveOn.org), or writing for an online periodical. See the page above titled, “What Is A Narcissist?”, which has links to stories in The Huffington Post by a woman who writes about her ordeals in the family courts. Your being a licensed therapist might give you the credentials you need to pique an editor’s interest there. The woman I refer to isn’t a professional journalist, and her writing isn’t of a standard that would meet the expectations of readers of Atlantic Monthly or The New York Times Magazine. But she brings matters to light that are overdue for illumination.

      Writing for an online periodical would invest what you had to say with authority (because it’s a socially potent medium). Far from compromising your professional standing, it might enhance it (you’d have publication credits). I’d recommend you try this tack. You might even realize a change in the circumstances that oppress you this way. Everything, Jill, everything to do with this stuff is about perception. A medium like The Huffington Post has social legitimacy; blogs, by contrast, are easily discounted as protracted rants by loons, cranks, and quacks. The social approval you felt writing for a recognized medium would also make it easier for you to feel secure about exposing yourself.

      If you were published in The Huffington Post, for example, you’d then have a good footing for blogging or petitioning. Or for giving private consultations, writing a book, etc.

      And for what it’s worth, this cranky loon thinks you write very well.

      Reply
  57. i dont have a comment i have a question. Me and my husband both got restraing orders last year and the courthouse said it expires the date it was filed but they told me to wait one more day to make sure it gets out of the system is that right?

    Reply
    • They won’t “leave the system,” Taylor, unless you guys seek to have them vacated, but they’ll no longer be in effect after their terms have ended. Not trusting bureaucratic efficiency, I’d wait a few days just to be on the safe side if you guys are planning a reunion or reconciliation. If the orders were state-mandated, and there’s an officer involved on the case, I’d call him, pose your question to him, and tell him you plan to meet when the orders have expired and want to be sure you’ve got your information straight. Informing the officer that something’s over and getting his okay would stand you in good stead if for some reason you were questioned. Best wishes and happy holidays.

      Reply

  58. Diana Rongnion

    December 10, 2013

    Can a parent place a restraining order for a child against the (would be) recipient (of the order)? What if the child denies the parents right to do this? What if the child is 18 or older?

    Reply
    • You can apply for a restraining order on behalf of a minor child. You can only apply for a restraining order on behalf of an adult if that adult is incompetent to represent him- or herself.

      What are the circumstances?

      Reply

      • Diana Rongnion

        December 11, 2013

        My sister has a boyfriend who is 18 years older than her. They started dating when she was 17, but they never ‘did the deed’. She still lives with our parents, and they don’t like the idea. I know he would never hurt her, and I want to be able to reassure her that they will be okay.

        Reply
        • I see. If your sister’s of age now, your parents can’t apply for a restraining order for her. One of them could still apply for a restraining order against the beau, though. The popular conception is that there are some rules that apply to what qualifies as justification for an order and what doesn’t. They’re aren’t any rules. If your mom, for example, said she was afraid of your sister’s boyfriend and didn’t want him coming around, there’s a decent chance a judge would find that acceptable, Especially if she hyped the age difference and suggested that the two had been intimate when your sister was underage. FYI.

          Best wishes with this, Diana.

          Reply
  59. I have a temp protection order on my boyfriends wife who has been stalking and harassing me. I have a court date to extend the order and have proof (voicemail she left me, her coming by my work pretending to be a friend of mine and texts from my bf saying he doesn’t know why she wants to talk to me). I found out recently that my bf has been secretly behind my back working things out with her. I even heard that he was going to b the witness for her at the hearing to tell the court that she is not a threat. He has mentioned to me that she has hit him before during fights. My concern is I think he will lie so that the order gets dropped. He came by house to get me to drop the ordered telling me she can lose her job as a school teacher and it would look bad on her record. The have 3 kids to support. Please let me know what I can do to make sure I can extend the ordered. I have a 2week old to care for and the father is my boyfriend. I believe his wife is irrational and her behavior unpredictable. Is there a way to not allow him to be at court?

    Reply
    • I don’t of course know your situation, but you’ve reported to me that you’ve had the child of the husband of another woman and that that woman has tried to start a dialogue with you. I’m still not grasping the reason for your apprehensions.

      I can’t think of a basis for the court’s disallowing the husband/boyfriend at a public hearing, no. He obviously has an interest in it and the parties concerned. And he’s a material witness, besides.

      Have you ever actually spoken with the wife? Again, I’m an outsider, and I understand my information is limited, but the wife’s referring to herself as your friend seems understandable to me and preferable to saying, “I’m the wife of the man she’s sleeping with.” See what I mean? I’m not judging, just offering an objective perspective.

      Reply
      • Yes but she has no reason to be contacting me or coming to my work. She should be speaking with her husband. He is the one lying to both of us. I’m scared that she will harm me or my son. She is irrational and her behavior has escalated to just looking me up to actually coming to my work to confront me.

        Reply
        • I’m missing what’s irrational about trying to contact you. We’re not talking about murdered bunny rabbits, right? My counsel would be to iron this out. What may not be going through your mind right now is that the other woman thinks you’re escalating things and acting irrationally. Look, obviously I don’t want to put a child at risk, but it seems to me that a grade school teacher doesn’t pose the threat that you seem to be investing her with.

          Reply

  60. timothy zakosek

    December 10, 2013

    is it legal for me to go to a civil court case filed against a person who has an order of protection against me.the person that filed the case wants me as a witness.

    Reply
    • This shouldn’t be an obstacle, no. You were probably in court with the plaintiff before (after the order was originally issued). The courthouse should be exempted as “neutral territory.” If in doubt, though, don’t hesitate to call the courthouse or ask to talk to a judge. If cops are involved, call them and tell them what you’re doing, too.

      Reply
  61. I have a temp protection order against my sons fathers wife. The father lied during our relationship that he was leaving his wife and so we started a relationship. I did not know he was living 2 separate lives. Telling me something and telling her another story. Long story short, she looked me up on Facebook and LinkedIn and went to my work to “talk” to me. She told the receptionist She was my friend and was unsucessful b/c I was in a meeting. I was 9 months pregnant at the time. She then calls and leaves me a voicemail and I don’t know how she got my number. The message was not threatening. I have a court date in mid December and now I heard the father of my son, her husband are working things out and is going to b at the hearing with her to testify. I believe he wants to b on her good side and will lie about her character. I have saved the voicemail she lifted me and the texts her husband sent me saying he doesn’t know why she showed up at my work. My question is can I have the court not allow him to b at the hearing? What do I need to prepare for the hearing to get the temp proective order extended?

    Reply

  62. Wayne Williams

    December 6, 2013

    if. a person has a restraining order on me and lies and says I went to their house, can I get arrested?

    Reply
    • It’s possible, yes, because a police officer often doesn’t have to witness the alleged violation or be provided proof of it. The officer just has to have a reasonable basis to think a violation occurred.

      Reply
  63. I have disappeared for while. Your last post, I read and thought you were also disappearing for a while due to your ordeal.. I had lost your contact info and started my life over! I have had GREAT benefit of you site. You have done more for me than my $5,000 for a lawyer. If I had that money I had spend on a lawyer, you would deserve it more than those crooks. One day I hope to repay somehow, if not for your kindness or your guiding, u lead me in the correct direction, I’m sure. I have learned so much from this experience, I hope u have too! It’s kinda bizarre but if I didn’t go through this I would not be so awake as I am now!

    I was waking up before this, but this shit just leaped me forward. Be it the law, the lies, the hidden truth, whatever, we have been fooled! Blacks Law was one of my tools, no fucking way I am giving up when I am not guilty in some crazy case, need it explain?

    THESE PEOPLE that USE this government to get EVEN or whatever through CIVIL FIGHTS, have no clue they are helping the people that will eventually destroy them, and those people will be destroyed in the end. Anyone who goes through this hell will “start” to discover what is really going on. People CANNOT HANDLE THE TRUTH! Wake up! They have turned us against each other. We are all one and can stay one once we wake up! 10% are awake. Once you do, you will see more and more and live in peace.

    I know now that anyone I tell the truth to think I am crazy, until it happens to them, it does, irs, fbi, civil, it happens, even to the COPS (or family) that they attack (they don’t get it).

    I told you about blacks law, seen you put that on your site, very cool.. That is part. MY BIGGEST MISTAKE is when the JUDGE said “DO YOU UNDERSTAND”? I was so slow my wife cringed, (for those who don’t know, I cheated on my wife, not good in the end) I was so slow ( my energy was drained) to respond, the judged never looked at me. My wife (a great person) said it felt like hours. I forcefully said “yes”. I WAS FOOLED! It was legaleses, it means; DO YOU STAND UNDER MY AUTHORITY” ! After that, I studied the constitution of my state, the constitution of the USA (which don’t mean much) and the blacks dictionary.

    Long story.

    Forward; Back to court, I explained to to THREE JUDGES that under section14 etc US and cook county I have EQUAL protection of the law! First said; Where you see that? and I told her, (not bad) That’s good Mr…….. but I need to transfer this to etc.. She said you are on the right path, congrats. (paraphrase) 2nd judge was about the same but transferred it to the sentencing judge because she could not do anything. PASS THE BUCK?.
    I filed A RO against that woman I had an affair with, explained the constitution to the judge. The reasons we not “I’m afraid” like hers! Mine were; her husband threatened me, bought two unregistered guns, her sisters husband is a martial arts expert with fists the size of 3 of mine, and a good friend the person who leads the HELLS ANGELS! There is more, never the less I was denied. ALTHOUGH she (judge 3) dropped the original RO! At that point I thought I do not want to go further and hang on to this.

    This situation was a life experience, Do I wish I never did this? it is not a mistake, I have learned from this, I knew it would happen, what she did to me will come back to her, revenge is pointless. What happened is for a reason.

    Reply
    • I’m really glad anything I’ve written helped you—even if it was just to help you reconcile yourself to a lousy situation. The horror of most of the scenarios I hear about from respondents to this site is that the court’s only role was to exacerbate and escalate rottenness.

      I worked for a Tucson attorney who’s a passionate proponent of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which he endorses and promotes as an alternative to the normal court procedures for resolving interpersonal disputes. It’s really the process that the civil court itself should be practicing: deliberate consideration of each side’s plaints toward aiding the parties in reaching a peace (which requires a much greater investment of time and attention that does ordering one side to shut up and eat it). Traditional court method is to develop a prejudicial conclusion, shave and retool the facts to make them fit, and nominate a “victor” according to the court’s disposition (often a personal or procedural one, or one that’s politically motivated). When the “victor” is in reality a fraud (that is, a liar, that is, an abuser), the court has in reality doused a fire with gasoline. Even when neither party is free of blame, the court, by assigning “victory” to one or the other party, sets in motion a chain reaction whereby one party is “vindicated” and the other bears the crushing burden of guilt for both, and associates of the “victor” readily accept the court’s ruling as proof positive of their friend’s or relative’s innocence, and you have an incendiary situation, possibly like the one you describe, with people arming themselves and issuing threats, etc. This outcome, the fomentation of civil discord, is billed as pacification.

      Too often the reality of what’s perceived and touted as pacification is that the party the court ruled against is forced to try to live with lies and abuses no one should be forced to live with. Forced is the operative word here. Coercion, intimidation—wanton bullying—as a means to pacify is the method of the police state and represents values that patently oppose those of what we think of as civilized.

      I’ve also worked for the family of a retired judge who I think really believed in the potential of the courts to do good. Maybe that judge did use his office for good. But my experience of judges and the courts leads me to believe that most of the time “good” is just what it serves a judge to believe s/he’s doing and that the truth is wildly at odds with his or her self-serving perception.

      Good for you for finding an upside to all of this. Sometimes the best you can manage is to try to get the truth on record—even if a judge’s ruling doesn’t acknowledge that truth. The one upside I’ve found to resisting a bad rap is that you grow abler to articulate the truth in a way that will make it perceptible to a genuinely reasonable person with no vested interest either way.

      Reply
  64. HI my name is Tara and I have a question. I am friends with 2 people on Facebook and one has a RO against the other and I shared a post that was shared on my wall and I tagged both people in it and the one who got the RO told me I could not tag them both in the same link. I have never heard of this and wondered if it is true or just my friends way of being vindictive towards her ex who I am still friends with. What can I do I don’t want to lose either friend but am at my wits end here.

    Reply
    • Nothing you do, Tara, can technically violate an order of the court against someone else. If the situation is extremely spiteful, it’s possible one party could allege you were being used as a tool or pawn to tease or taunt. There’s no overstating the rancor and emotional chafing these government processes cause. I don’t judge that you’d be friends with thugs and gutter punks, so I’m guessing a lot of the restraining order business is melodrama and hysterics?

      I’d play it cool, not ruffle either one’s feathers, and maybe see if you can’t iron this situation out. You can be an intermediary if both parties are cool with it. If the plaintiff (the person who applied for the restraining order) isn’t cool with it, don’t push it, because s/he could claim you’re being used to violate the order.

      Best wishes with this.

      Reply
  65. Question: I live in Maryland where anyone can walk in off the street and file charges. It took him three tries, but this old man who lives in another county finally succeeded in getting an elderly, confused judge who had to have “The Twitter” explained to him, to grant him a peace order. I am disabled after 14-years with a progressive neurological disorder. I am not capable of harming ANYONE. But over the past weekend, this man has filed 236 (that is not a misprint) criminal charges against me for violating his peace order. My crime? Referring to him in tweets by his @name. The state AG has said Twitter is not direct contact. The peace order says nothing about Twitter. I maintain that using an @mention is the same thing as being at a party, saying something about someone to a third person, with the first person hearing me talk. This person has the ultimate ability to block me, but has publicly stated he refuses to do so. In fact, a month after getting his peace order, he attempted to follow my Twitter Timeline. So, to cut to the chase… does writing a Twitter tweet that happens to contain his @name violate the “no contact” provision of a peace order?

    Reply
    • I wish I could tell you there’s some hard-and-fast rule, but there isn’t. Judges themselves mostly just wing it. The allegation you might be vulnerable to isn’t contact but harassment. Yes, even though you haven’t actually contacted the party you’ve been prohibited from contacting. If the party were a public figure, you could tweet about him to your heart’s content. I appreciate your defense, but a judge might decide that a Twitter feed is a public medium and this guy is entitled to his privacy. I’ve also heard of judge’s respecting blogs as online diaries and not subject to the same rules. With lower court judges, who aren’t really answerable to anyone, these kinds of things can be a coin toss: male judge, female judge, old judge, dumb judge, Southern judge, liberal judge, Christian judge, etc.

      “EH? What’s that? ‘The Twitter’?” That’s seriously amusing.

      Have you considered applying for a restraining order against this guy alleging harassment yourself?

      Reply
      • Gonna wait until these charges are nolle prossequi like the 15 he filed earlier. This 236 in one weekend… that has to be some sort of record. And the tweets are CLEARLY written ABOUT him, and not TO him.

        Reply
        • I got your explanation. I thought better of posting it, though, because I spent the summer in court (same scenario), and I’ve had all I can tolerate of these kinds of people.

          One for the books for sure. Good luck with this.

          Reply

  66. Anonymous

    November 8, 2013

    I would LOVE to work it out with my wife after the protective order hearing and it is denied. Would a judge order we do counseling, mediation if we both agree to? The reason I ask, is cause my wife’s family, will do everything possible to keep her away from me, even filling a protective order with complete lies as they have. I would bet my life my wife did not know the full details of the lies that were written, all in English which she can not read/write and barely speaks. This is in VA.

    Reply
    • Investigate ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). This can be mandated by a judge, but I think it’s unlikely that a justice court judge would order this upon dissolving a restraining order. What is an enormous deal for you is ho-hum business as usual for the trial judge.

      Reply
  67. What I want to KNOW can the court not let me hire a private lawyer for my children because the court told me I could not.This is the state Missouri. This was for a restraining order against people who live next door.

    Reply
    • Sorry, Terry, I’m not following you.

      If a judge told you you couldn’t do something, then it’s not an option. If a clerk or someone sitting behind a desk told you you couldn’t do something, it’s a coin toss whether you’ve been given accurate information.

      Telling you you can’t hire an attorney doesn’t make sense to me, no, but I don’t really understand your circumstances.

      Call a private attorney, explain those circumstances, and ask him or her whether under those circumstances the court would prohibit you from engaging his or her services.

      Reply
  68. No, the court in Mo. told me my kids had to use a court lawyer and I wanted to use a private one for them. They would not let me is that right by law?

    Reply
    • Probably the easiest thing for you to do would be to call a family attorney there in your hometown, explain the situation on the phone, and see what he or she says. There’s no charge or commitment for talking to attorneys on the phone. If you found an attorney who said s/he could represent your kids, and you liked that person, you might achieve all you’re after in one fell swoop.

      Reply
  69. could I use a private lawyer for my kids when trying to get a restraining order. The court told me no. State of missouri

    Reply
    • I’m not sure what the court was denying that you could do, Terry. Applying for a restraining order certainly doesn’t require a lawyer. You can just go to the courthouse to apply on your own. A lawyer could counsel you and help you defend the order if it were challenged by the defendant. If you’re asking whether the lawyer could represent your children, it would probably be the case that the lawyer represented you (who represents the children). You, as an adult and (presumably) guardian, would have to apply for the restraining order. In my state (and I think this is typical if not universal), only an adult can apply for a restraining order. You would apply for the restraining order and list the children on it. I have to assume you have good cause to seek the restraining order, so my counsel would be to go and apply and explain your situation to a judge. If you wanted to be prepared for what might ensue, you could always consult an attorney and retain his/her services ahead of time so you had all of your ducks in a row. Strictly speaking, though, an attorney’s help isn’t required. Best wishes.

      Reply
  70. My ex filed a Temporary Restraining Order against me. She was also working for my business at the time. She repeatedly initiated contact with me, and when I finally called her back, she said “gotcha!” She then proceeded to give herself a raise, take company funds, and buy unauthorized items while she kept her job, holding the violation over my head the entire time. Basically, she keeps her job/car/all bills paid/$15k withdrawl….I stay out of jail.
    My hearing finally occurred and I was sentenced. It wasn’t until then that the TPO was released. 4 days later I fired her.
    My question is: Can she now go to the courts or police and show them evidence of my violation, after the violation has been dropped? If so, how long can she hold this over my head? I don’t know what to do……she put me in this position by taking all of my office paperwork (files, invoices, changed passwords, computers) and telling the supervising officer that it was all with her attorney, although I found out later she still had possession of it and no attorney. I was dumb enough to call back,
    I wanted to file blackmail or extortion charges on her, but again, I couldn’t do this without admitting to violating the order. I stand to lose all my contracts, employees, everything I have spent the past 13 years killing myself for if I go to jail.

    Please put my mind at ease.

    Reply
    • By the way, this is in the wonderful state of Ohio.
      I have spent days freaking out about this. I can’t find anything like it anywhere so far. Crafty one, that woman. I’ve lost nearly $100k this year due to this and other things she has done. And I’m not rolling in dough!

      Reply
    • Never let your guard down when it comes to these matters, Tex. Things can whip around on you like a snake. From what you’ve said, depending on how well you can document everything, you have a good case for civil action and maybe for criminal prosecution. My counsel would be, in spite of everything you’re out already, to call some attorneys and run this past them (talking on the phone doesn’t commit you to anything). Call and consult in person as many as necessary to find one who inspires your faith. Obviously you were entrapped and then extorted and embezzled from. You’ve got your supervisor to testify that she committed fraud to remove documents, and I assume you’ll have invoices and banking records to substantiate the rest. I’d say bide your time since you’re under no immediate attack and confer with an attorney. You want to have someone on your side who can convincingly portray you in a positive light, can arrest any further misconduct this woman engages in, and can clean this up for you and provide you with some peace of mind. The answer to your questions is probably yes, but you’re going to stand a much better chance of realizing the ends you hope to realize if you get some legal help. This immediately gives you credibility, too, in the eyes of the people whose good opinions you need to maintain should anything leak. Best wishes to you. It’s deplorable and a disgrace what these civil procedures enable.

      Reply
  71. I have a question? My ex-fiancé’ and I were fighting over custody issues. He ended up filing a restraining order against me. He lives in Indiana and I live in FL I have sole custody of our son because after the split. I moved back to Florida with my son and it’s been our home state for over 4 years now. My ex-fiancé’ after a few months after the split filed a restraining order against me citing that I harassed him etc. etc. He was also threatening me as well to take kidnap my son the whole thing was volatile situation so glad the dang thing was issued. I never fought his restraining order in IN and now I am regretting it though. It wasn’t really valid although it was needed and for him it was more about control to him and it helped that his ex-wife’s best friend works and is head of the restraining order department. It was easy for him to get the injunction. He was so mad and upset that I had custody and all of it was over that. Now I want to know how this effects me generally speaking on background checks bc I never have violated the restraining order but I am thinking it does effect me in certain ways during background checks. The Sherriff in my town said it wouldn’t effect me as long as I didn’t contact him which I have not but I am still reading on one the question and answer portions that an issuance of restraining order violated or not is still misdemeanor? What about after expiration of the restraining order?

    Reply
    • The order is still a public document accessible by anyone and can influence employment. It represents a civil misdemeanor, though, not a criminal anything. Police officers and even judges rarely know much about how these instruments are abused or what their consequences are. “Expired” means it’s no longer enforceable; it doesn’t mean it’s gone.

      Reply
  72. My ex is homeless and has no job so my pi and the police have no idea where to look for him to serve him the Pfa since he’s living out of his axe and his friends don’t want anything to do with him. Can I ask him to meet me some where and basically trick him into getting served by one of the two? Is that something that can legally be done?

    Reply
    • You’re not legally prohibited from talking to him, no. Ethically, though, this plan is questionable, of course, and you’re going to want to take care, besides, that you don’t send someone who’s obviously on the edge completely over it. Be safe, Cara.

      Reply
  73. Important for California Domestic Violence Protection Orders, filed with DV 100 form:
    You have the right to a continuance, that is a postponement to give yourself time to prepare, under Family Code Section 243. You have the right to cross examine your accusers, under the CA and US constitutions and the CA Evidence Code.

    Reply
  74. I have a question regarding the FAA and licenses? As an entity of the US Government can the FAA revoke or deny a person their private/commercial/ATP license due to DVPO’s?

    Reply
    • God, Caroline, I guess it’s possible, though a restraining order is a civil not a criminal instrument. It would probably depend on whether having a restraining order constituted an offense worthy of license revocation. This seems very unlikely to me. You’d have to check with someone there. If you’re not the recipient of the restraining order, and you’re asking because you think someone else’s license should be revoked, be careful how you proceed, because the person you fingered could make trouble for you through the courts.

      Reply
  75. Need advice: I recently found tex messages on my husband phone where he have been texting one if my coworkers. My coworker and I use to speak on a regular basic, visit each other and I often babysit for her. But since I found message( I asked her in a tex cause I was too mad to confront her) she yet to confuse. After getting on my husband he confessed and said they was texting and nothing happened. The text messages I viewed was very disturbing asking when and where they could meet to have sex. I am so mad but I can not let my anger get me in trouble. My question is : is there anyway I can take out an emotional restraining order out on her. We work on the same shift, lockers are next to each other in dressing room and every time I see her I want to explode. I talk to my HR coordinator and he advise me not to get into physical contact with her because she could take out restraining order and I could loose my job. I think there should be something I could do so I don’t have to put up with her. Please help.

    Reply
    • I’m sorry for you. That’s horrible. The HR guy’s advice is wise, though. This is a potentially incendiary kind of snarl, and if you confront this woman, she could easily make you out to be the villain, especially if she goaded you into yanking her hair or knocking her down. The simple (if unsatisfying) solution is to ask your husband to sever his relations with this woman. How to restore your faith in your husband is another question, I know. To get a restraining order yourself, this person would have had to have done something to you to make you feel apprehensive. If she continued to importune your husband with requests after he asked her to stop, he could apply for a restraining order, but your applying for one doesn’t have any solid legal footing. This is rough to tolerate, I know, but tread carefully, because the wronged party often gets doubly wronged when the courts get involved.

      Reply
    • As unthinkable as this may be right now, you could also arrange to sit down with your husband and this woman and try to hash out differences privately. That’s the only way I can think of to truly defuse the situation. Getting a restraining order sounds very attractive when you’re mad, because it’s a passive yet very effective act of revenge (you don’t have to confront the person you’re mad with), which is why restraining orders are commonly sought by women. They can often set off chain reactions, though, that can preoccupy you for a long time to come and keep animosities fueled indefinitely.

      (And this is someone you have to work with.)

      Reply

  76. stressed out

    September 24, 2013

    Full protective order was granted on a non married couple. Can the respondent be ordered to pay to relocate the victim?
    its a pretty rotten situation…
    The 2 were living together. The victim’s name is not on the rental lease. The judge ordered the respondent to leave the residence. The home owner has now found out that someone not on the lease is living in his property minus his original tenant, and has given the victim notice to vacate his property. The victim is now requesting for the restraining order to be changed to make the respondent financially responsible for finding her a new place to live. Is this likely to happen?

    Reply

    • stressed out

      September 24, 2013

      this is in the state of Virgina. (this site is pretty amazing. thank you for it.)

      Reply
    • This is question for an attorney (calling one or two on the phone wouldn’t commit you to pay anything). Obviously there would be some mutual responsibility if the couple were married (or partners in some other form of contract—written or verbal—for example, if the plaintiff was paying half the rent), but if the plaintiff was living in the defendant’s home (a space the defendant leased), it seems unlikely that it would be the defendant’s responsibility to provide for the plaintiff. The plaintiff was basically a guest there. There are probably exceptional circumstances, for example, if the plaintiff moved or sold his or her house or gave up a lucrative job in another state to be with the defendant. Otherwise how much responsibility the law says the defendant has to support a cohabitant is probably very little. A lawyer (probably a family attorney) could best tell you, though.

      Reply

  77. Ronnie Valco

    September 23, 2013

    I have a question. My ex-gf’s dad got a restraining order against me for their family. They live next-door and I have to be 500 ft away from them and their residence. Would I be allowed to go home without violating the restraining order?

    Reply
    • Ronnie, call a local attorney and see what you can find out. Talking to an attorney on the phone isn’t a commitment to pay him or her anything. If the window to appeal the restraining order is still open, make sure you request an appeal. Unless the dad’s a real monster, I don’t think he’s going to sic the police on you for sleeping in your own house, but I won’t tell you that every police officer would be sympathetic, and there’s no chance you couldn’t be hauled away. The rules with these things are so fast, loose, and discretionary. If you’re literally worried about the consequences of going home, go to the courthouse and file a motion to see a judge. Be very insistent: “I don’t know where to sleep!” These instruments are as carelessly dispensed as kleenex.

      Reply
  78. Home is not what it use to be, really haven’t been there, but for a few moments the other day after court. Thought I had gotten a pit bull lawyer but he left me more uneasy, when he spoke of an appeal and we haven’t even been before a judge. DA offered me a plea deal of 200 plus to stay off my neighbors property for 6 months then the charges “cruelty to animals” will be dismissed. How do you dismiss those types of charges. Who’s suppose to protect the animals. I said no to the deal, I have never been on her property and I never shot her horse. Also the new charge that was added while I was away for weeks, is that I killed the horse. New court date 11/8. You were right about crazies seeking rural areas. I have been trying to find someone to move in with me, while I get my stuff together and move out. I’ll put the house up for sale afterwards. I find the thought of relocating and finding another little piece of the rock not so assuring. What other crazy person is out there looming to steal my peace. As I read the blog I can’t help but wonder, how do you sleep at night? Reaching out to all of us with answers that you yourself have had to come to know because of your own personal ordeal. How would that “Intrepid” female take the first step to get that petition going on MoveOn.Org.
    I still go to the photo of your “flowering rock” to give me a touch of reality and what is really important, a good friend, humor and natural beauty. Mary

    Reply
    • I’m sorry, Mary. The iniquities of this process will beat down the most spirited person. And I’ve encountered several officers of the court (men) who like breaking a person like this best. They’re naturally competitive and expect others to take a knee (there may be two ways to interpret that phrase, and both of them apply). How are you supposed to have killed the horse, poison? As someone who has lived around horses for 15 years, I can tell you that horses are prone to colic (intestinal blockage), and that if the horse did die, this was probably the cause. I don’t know if this fact could help you at all (it’s unlikely an autopsy was performed). That this is costing you not only your home but your faith in people is desolating (and totally predictable). One woman who contacted me last year—similar situation—got free of the restraining order but was so traumatized by the experience that when I was last in touch with her she said she was actually reading a book on how to avoid legal conflicts. A brief brush with this stuff, and you become preoccupied by it. (I haven’t slept soundly in a long time, no.) Hang in there, dear friend. Your lawyer sounds earnest, anyway. Just remember that the longer he can draw this out, the more he can bill for. So staying vigilant isn’t a bad idea even if he seems genuine.

      I tried Facebook for a few months in 2012 (it’s impossible to keep up with) and got involved in a few successful petitions for animal rights. MoveOn.org seems pretty effective. Probably to get something like this going, you’d have to be a pretty good networker. The practical obstacles are that people who’ve been victimized are dispirited and have already been exposed to some nasty scrutiny. This petition is working pretty well, because everyone can understand the psychological impact of false allegations of domestic violence. Quite a lot of its signers are sympathizers as opposed to actual victims.

      If David Letterman could be talked into promoting a petition, you could probably get legislators mobilized in weeks!

      The motive force will have to come from women, because men are distrusted on reflex. Women garner popular sympathy better. They’re also the more effective social networkers.

      If you take a rhetoric class in college, you’re taught these basic strategies: logos, ethos, and pathos. Logical and ethical appeals can certainly be made, but it will be appeals to feelings that jar people out of their complacency.

      Reply
  79. I was involved in a altercation that my girlfriend got arrested for and the Court put in place a Restraining order that wouldnt allow us to be in contact for 6 months. I didnt ask for this to happen but the DA said it was something they do for protection?? We live together and I was wondering is there a way to get the order lifted or how strict is the court on the order? also if we were to move from California to Florida would the restraining order be in effect in the state as well?
    Thank you for any insight

    Reply
    • Paul, call a local attorney and see what options s/he might be able to propose. There’s no cost for a chat on the phone. Call six attorneys if you have to to get a satisfactory answer.

      I can’t imagine anyone is going to track you down in Florida to find out if you’re minding a California judge’s order, but it would follow you, yes, and it won’t just drop off your girlfriend’s record, either. Also that seems pretty drastic.

      There may be motions an attorney could file or that you could file yourself to ease restrictions or maybe have the order vacated. Even if you could modify the order so that certain contacts were okay, you could ride out the six months.

      Meanwhile your girlfriend should mind the court’s order to avoid problems with authorities. Best wishes with this.

      Reply
  80. How do I get someone with a restraining order against me to stop calling my girlfriend and me and leaving harrassing voicemails?

    Reply
    • SAVE the voicemails. Wait till you both have a number of them. Take the voicemails and any other contacts you’ve had since the injunction was issued, go to the courthouse, and get a restraining order against the other person. That’d be my advice.

      This will work especially effectively if you have a message that’s threatening among the others, or you can show that the messages get more and more aggressive.

      Otherwise you could go to the police station with the same evidence and have an officer call and warn the restraining order plaintiff to leave you alone.

      Reply
  81. I loaned someone $500. When she hadn’t made payments, I called and requested them. Unfortunately, when I called her because her $25 payment was late, she called back screaming that she had paid me $100. She then filed false harassment charges against with the aid of both her friend and police officer, who said that she had paid me and that I had physically threatened her. I went to court with an attorney. The judge apologized to me, but I incurred $950 lawyers’ fees. I took her to small claims court, won; she appealed as a pauper (“in forma pauperis”) and has received free counsel (5 intern law students) as she dragged out the case over three years! Since I’m pro se, the appeals judge ruled in my favor but awarded me only $100 and none of my costs; the judge is in a photo with intern law students of the law college representing her. I also found out that she had cashed the money order (photocopy from small claims court showed numbers were torn off so I couldn’t trace it) within days of filing the harassment charge Should I appeal this judge’s ruling? Does she have to prove her pauper status? Can I request the police department to reprimand the officer (he had represented her in the harassment court) for aiding a liar? How can I stop this woman from conning others; she’s a menace.

    Reply
    • No good deed goes unpunished. I’m sorry, Dave. This sh*t shouldn’t be possible.

      What I know of the civil court is that judges like to make uncomfortable things go away if they can, and what may preoccupy you for years (and possibly consume those years if your reputation has been unjustly impugned) a judge may wave away as trivial. (Contrariwise if this woman had robbed you of $500, the county attorney would be all over her, and all you’d have to do is contribute some statements and sit back and watch. It’s absurd.)

      It sounds like this person kind of likes the attention and is probably rewarded by the drama.

      It’s possible, maybe, that you could sue her for fraud. If you could prove she faked her payment claim (and cashed the money order she claims she sent you) then you could establish that the basis for her harassment allegations was false. You would have to establish that you found proof of the fraud and were bringing it to the court’s attention within the statute of limitation for that tort (in my state, it’s three years). Then you could allege fraud on you, fraud on the police, and fraud on the court.

      And you’d have to make it very clear to the judge that the matter wasn’t about $100 or $500. These would be nominal damages that you might recover along with the court’s recognizing that your rights had been infringed upon. To get any sort of real satisfaction, you’d have to allege and substantiate loss of time, loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, that kind of thing. And that the defendant (in your case) suborned perjury (false testimony) from a law officer, etc.

      Lawsuits in superior court are big deals and rough if you’re representing yourself and the opposing party has an attorney. Also, it doesn’t sound like this woman has much for you to wrest from her. And the possibility of your getting her criminally prosecuted is next to nil.

      Alternatively, you could appeal. But you’re inevitably going to be out more money just for filing. If the principle is more important to you than the cash and you think you have a sound enough footing that you don’t have to worry about the “pauper” winning a counterclaim against you, go for it.

      I wish I could tell you that good prevails in the end, but the truth is the police department would probably discount your allegations against the cop unless you had a judicial ruling to show administrators that said the cop lied to the court (or at least that the plaintiff’s representations—ones abetted by the cop—were false) and unless you made it very emphatic how tormented you’ve been as a direct and proximate consequence of his or her lying.

      It’s horrifying, but unless the stakes are high—judges like punishing frauds who score big ($50,000+)—liars usually get away with murder (figuratively, at least).

      If you had a big name, powerful associations, or lots of money, you could count on the courts showing you special consideration. Otherwise, you’re negligible.

      A site on my Blogroll (right margin) called Citizens Justice Association is revamping itself, advertises a book on prosecuting a lawsuit on your own, and seeks to recruit volunteer services from law students. Someone there might be able to offer you some novel recourses (“Call the Hotline,” it urges: 781-925-5253).

      Best wishes, Dave. This kind of experience is enough to make you reassess how “nutty” government conspiracy theorists really are.

      Reply
  82. Hello, thanks for thi great website.

    Had a question – my boyfriend hit me on numerous occasions. He took my phone so I could never report it, I do have medical reports and pictures. I left our home because he was that violent.

    In revenge he sued me on small claims, and on the injunction hearing he said I had an ulterior motive for the injunction (money) but I was not even served. Found out about the SC suit on the DV hearing.

    Judge extended the petition but seemed to lean to his side because she did not want to “ruin his life” Yes, this despite the battery, but how can I prove that I am sincere in my fear of him??

    I’ve been attending counseling weekly since I left and even had to quit my job to avoid him.

    A little frustrated because I am a real victim, and even when he said I deserved it, judge would not not decide until the civil matter was solved.

    He also said I was violent – keep in mind that he is 6’3 230 lbs and I am 5’1 and 125 lbs, and I enver hit him or endangered him. (Or he would be the one with the bruises)

    Reply
    • In Restraining Order Land, everything is backwards and upside down.

      Reply
    • So, Asdina, your boyfriend has sued you and petitioned for a restraining order against you? Do I have that right? If you haven’t applied for a protection order yourself, do so immediately. Provide the hospital records, and report that the physical abuse is being continued with psychological abuse, public humiliation, and attacks through the court. You may need to be VERY insistent that you are the actual victim: “I am DAILY in fear for my life.” This sh*t happens all the time. Whoever has the fewest scruples wins. Abuses are compounded with abuses of the courts to ramp up the pain and suffering. Abusers may actually have the courts sympathizing with them and treating their victims like sex offenders. And true sickos can continue to mete out the torment (completely legally) for years.

      If you want to pull out all the stops, consult with a police officer, get a statement from your counselor, and talk to someone who runs a women’s shelter, too. Pull together statements, get people on your side. And file a cross-claim (a restraining order of your own).

      If you have girlfriends or family members who can testify to your apprehension, to bruises or injuries you’ve had, or whom you’ve talked to about these things over months/years, get statements from them, too, or ask them if they’ll testify to the court.

      Reply
      • Hello – thanks for responding

        The story is my boyfriend turned violent physically and sexually even. I was afraid so I left the apartment we both had signed a rental agreement for. In retaliation My ex boyfriend sued me in small claims for “rent” and I was the one who petitioned.for a restraining order.

        In court he said that I had ulterior motives for the restraining order – for example that I was only putting the retraining order to get out of small claims, that I left him with a joint account I only took my clothes out because I was so scared (I left all the money in the joint account HE took it out) That this was typical behavior of me that I was the worst, and then he’d say he loved me very much….I had pictures, medical reports. my testimony…

        He even said I was violent, but I could never even hit him, or reach him…he always took the phone away from me by force so I could never call the police

        Because of the small claims judge only extended the protection for a future trial.

        I am frustrated because I feel that the country that I love, that I have given my life to does not want to protect me when it is obvious that there is SOMETHING wrong with this person….when there are witnesses and people willing to give me statements.

        Please advise me… I am terrified and I dont want to keep being bullied.

        Reply
        • I see. So is it really the case that you left, and he sued you to get payback?

          You leave then he sues then you apply for a restraining order?

          Better for you would have been to get the restraining order and have had the cops evict him. What you’re saying makes perfect sense, but it sounds like your boyfriend has convinced the judge that you’re just trying to get out of paying money. And this happens, too. Some women are marvelous actors and manipulators, and you’re paying for their scams.

          Call Social Services, and see what the people there can recommend. Go someplace where you can’t be found, obviously, if you feel you’re in danger. There are shelters that protect your identity and location. There may be some resources there that you can take advantage of, too, like legal services/advice.

          Reply
          • Yes, I really do not owe him any money at all! He sued me right after I spoke to his father telling him to keep his son away from me because I was terrified.

            Yes, Sadly I never thought of that. I was so scared and he would not let me leave the house or leave me with a phone, so I could never call or tell anyone. Except friends when he dropped me off at work.
            It is just so incredible to me that with medical reports, witnessses, pictures he can still convince a judge…

            Thank you, I will try my best and let you know :)

            Reply
          • Also, I forgot to mention.

            I was never served, I found out at the domestic violence hearing about the small claims.

            Reply
            • If you’re able to get in with a crowd that’s really fervent about domestic violence, I think you could get some free advocacy. I guarantee you that the fears you had are ones that a psychologist or victim’s advocate would tell you are common ones. Someone could argue that you could have called for help from work or a corner payphone or whatever, but someone who hears stories like yours all the time will be able to testify with authority that you don’t act lucidly when you’re scared (and feel controlled).

              Yes, do let me know how things go. And be sure to make that chronology clear: that you didn’t know about the lawsuit, so your domestic violence allegations weren’t made in retribution: they were made once you felt you were out of harm’s way.

              Absolutely do your best to see if there are some free legal services you can take advantage of. I know they’re out there (mostly because I hear about how often they’re cunningly exploited by manipulators, for example, to get rid of an unwanted husband and keep the house or to gain sole custody of the kids plus alimony, etc.). Because most judges are male, allegations of domestic violence are often established easily (too easily), especially with restraining orders (which are civil instruments, and these are handed out like party favors). You landed a female judge, unfortunately for you, and she’s going to be a harder sell.

              Reply

  83. Anonymous

    September 15, 2013

    I have a restraining order against me from a Social Worker. She claims that I have left threatening phone calls in 2008. Also a few other threats that are false. But she has always talked with me and told me to call her for a safety contract. I never left threatening messages. She stated in her R.O. that the voice was mine and verified by the police. I never got a visit from police. Talked to the Chief of police and he said there are no charges the report is just there. However, I did write her a letter in 2008 telling her she had bad work ethics and that she looked fat. Okay that may have been my bad, but there were never any threats. She states she has the letter, but no mention of the calls ( does she have to have evidence of calls?)plus, the officer who took the report is not a cop anymore can he be a liable witness? When I went to the PD the police officer who took the report stated that she never told him those things. I have a witness to all her complaints. Seems she is trying to not allow me to go to the hosp for treatment as I have health issues. I have ER records that state I have always been cooperative. What brought this to a boiling point is that August this yr, my witness and I had a meeting with the CEO ( who is now gone) and the risk management and her. She was late for the meeting, used the phone during the meeting and when I was telling my hosp experience she rolled up in a ball and started crying. I got up and left with my son. She said you want to bring up the past what about the letter? I told her, I’ll see the police about it. Three days later she went down and filed a Restraining order. Claiming I have defamed her reputation. I don’t think she has the correct license either. I have filed complaints to the Board of counseling and she is saying that is harassment. Yes, I have Bipolar. But I have no record of violence, ever or have ever been arrested. When in the ER awaiting to go to a psy hosp I started having heart problems, the doctor would not address, so it was not just about her. Not to mention she asked for my anxiety medication the nurse laughed. My witness was there. What are my chances of winning?

    Reply
    • Chances of defendants prevailing in these hearings is always iffy, especially when there are specific allegations, the plaintiffs are female, and the defendants are male. If it’s possible for you to obtain legal counsel, doing so would be wise. You sound very lucid to me and hardly “scary,” but a little hysterical embellishment by a defendant, and judges will conclude you are what they want you to be, that is, what fits the rulings they prefer to make.

      Get any character references it’s possible for you to, get a basic defense orientation from posts here, and get an attorney if at all possible. Best wishes.

      Reply

      • Anonymous

        September 17, 2013

        Had court today, but they cancelled because of the floods. No one notified us. I assume the courts will send a letter to reschedule. The Social worker showed up and looked pretty bad. She was hugging all the bailiffs. Kinda like I am a ‘victim’ here. Anyway, if it is a ten day ( Temporary R.O ) and it has already been a month. I am thinking she may have to refile or it may give her time to think about her lies. It gives me more time to get character letters. I can’t afford an attorney and she did not seem to have one either.

        Reply

        • Anonymous

          September 18, 2013

          I am a female and so is the Social worker. I would think that would or could be an equal way the judge might see it.

          Reply
          • Yeah, being a woman is always an advantage. It doesn’t mean you won’t get screwed, but judges are a lot likelier to take allegations of danger and threat seriously when they’re made against a man.

            Here’s a good tutorial by an attorney who specializes in restraining order defense. The important part is toward the end:

            Fighting False Restraining Orders” by Gregory Hession.

            Reply

        • Anonymous

          September 18, 2013

          The court was cancelled Tuesday. I called today to see if it was going to be rescheduled. The lady said it the Temporary Restraining Order has to be “amended”. She said, I would have to be served again. I am thinking the whole process has to be done all over. She filed on the 20th of August, court was September 17th ( plus she got her 10 day) and now it’s like up in the air. I see this in my favor. It’s almost been a month and I have yet to see a judge. Gotta say who is the god of water? (kidding) What does amended mean?

          Reply
          • Amended here means updated. Glad to hear you caught a break. Take full advantage of it and try to assemble the best defense you can. The courts often don’t appreciate the seriousness of these orders on the minds and lives of their recipients and don’t deliberate a great deal about their fairness.

            Reply

            • Anonymous

              September 28, 2013

              Today I found out that the woman working @ the hospital has no degree to work in a Mental Health capacity. This seems to be turning around here. Is it not fraud when someone claims to be this or that but has no license, by which to do it? This is why that woman got so mad because, I questioned her qualifications. I am going to use this information in court. Because, in away she has been getting paid and no degree. What do you think? The CEO that is already gone told me and my witness that, her certificates are looked at each 2 yrs. He did not tell the truth. No one knows what this woman title is. So we have a Interim CEO and I heard their are people getting fired for not being licensed. How dishonest. Court is the 3rd!

              Reply
              • This information may be of value to your defense. Remember, though, to orient your presentation to the judge around whatever you’ve been accused of. That’s what you’ll be judged for. Even if the plaintiff were Hitler reincarnated. So you’d have to figure out how to use this information. If you can make the case that this woman was mad because you questioned her credentials, that might fly, especially in respect to her allegation that you “defamed” her. Please, please bear in mind, however, that judges are disposed to believe plaintiffs, and this person could make an allegation of harassment stick, and that’s all she needs. That’s what you’re going to have to attack. The judge may not care whether the woman is a fraud, because that’s not what s/he’s been tasked with judging.

                Reply
  84. So I have a bit of an odd question – we have a case where one of the plantiffs on a restraining order is unknown to the target of said order (my husband). The whole situation is complicated, but the short version is that the original plantiffs lied to this person and said they knew that he was responsible for some anonymous stuff. Now the order is telling him to stay away from this woman who apparently lives near us, but we don’t have any idea who she is or what she looks like. I’m terrified that he’ll end up in jail for violating the order by accident. We were forced to accept the order to prevent further legal harassment, so there’s no way to get rid of it. Is there any way to get some further identifying information on this person so we don’t have a problem?

    Reply
    • That’s really bizarre. First, unless your state’s rules diverge widely from the norm, a restraining order should only have a single plaintiff. Other adult plaintiffs should be required to get separate orders. Second, the order you’re asking about makes no sense whatever, and you should appeal it to a higher court. How in the world are you supposed to observe a no-contact restriction if you have no idea who you’re supposed to avoid?! Find your state’s rules of civil procedure, and look up Rule 50. There may be grounds to move the court to find this order void or to move for a new trial. What I would recommend you do is call some attorneys, and explain this situation and find out if they can help or what you should do (or if this is legal). Talking with an attorney (or 10) isn’t a commitment to pay them anything. Accordingly how much they tell you for free will be very limited but should at least give you some leads to investigate. This sounds hellish, and I’m really sorry for you guys.

      Reply
  85. Got back from the sunny south the other night, feels good to be near home. Court date is 9-16 so will stay away from my property until after. Lawyer says he’ll ask for a continuance so I suspect my neighbor will still claim false accusations until we get before a judge. He feels confident that he can win this case, since the sheriffs investigation is not what led to my arrest. Hope you are having good luck with your situation. Can’t wait to see how my flowers fared in my absence. Maybe I’ll start planting rocks!

    Reply
    • Good luck, Mary! You sound well. I wish I could tell you that people like this succumb to fatigue, but malice is better than Energizer batteries!

      Reply
  86. I just successfully won a protective order hearing against me today. Much thanks to the officer who suggested I begin recording our conversations. That coupled with texts, the 911 call, phone records and pics, I made it a fairly easy argument for my attorney. I never realized until now how weighted the system is against the accused, men in particular, but my attorney feels I have a very strong case against my ex for malicious prosecution. Basically, we broke up because she decided to sleep with a man who works for her. I have her on tape agreeing numerous times to leave the house. Then she filed the PO…I had to leave and find a new place to live and, in the process, she damaged/kept a lot of my stuff but at least I will possibly recoup some of the losses. The process really is a joke.

    Reply
    • It’s good to hear that justice sometimes prevails. Even if only a little and very belatedly. Best wishes going forward, Mike, and let me know how the prosecution goes.

      Reply
      • Well, the good news is… the order was dropped. Bad news, the counselor won her main mission: My daughter can no longer attend her own church because that was the condition. The sad part is, she has so many “church’ friends from this contemporary church and she doesn’t know how to tell them she’ll never be back. It was her strength and her main support. She’s devastated. We,as her parents, know, it’s a small price, but it’s like being banished from your family with no chance to explain or say goodbye. I feel so bad for her and I worry about her, as this was such an important part of her life.

        On the up end, she HANDLED that attorney like no other! He came in and made a few condescending comments, trying to intimidate her and she quoted the Hippa laws to him word for word, asked how he had any information about her, etc etc. Mr. “attorney for the counseling practice (about 70 years old) stuttered and backtracked. She is so smart and so strong, although through tears, she stood up. She asked if he knew that they had been stalking her? If he was aware that they would pass her, backtrack and come back again? If he knew that she was terrified, unable to drive after pulling over when they had looped around to follow her? She asked if that was what he would consider “prudent, professional behavior…to terrorize and stalk a 20 year old patient, 2 on 1 (with the husband)? If he was aware she had an entire team that saw her leave a baseball game in fear when THEY walked in 20 minutes after her? If he knew that the college community was aware they had followed her repeatedly and that several people had seen the husband stare her down for 20 minutes at a time, while she was mingling with her friends after church? Was he aware that the counselor had fabricated events (as she showed him a map with the counselors account of what happened, proving that was impossible, according to her account?) My daughter pulled out her “chart” of events, again , showing false statements? The attorney was speechless and kept trying to come back to some irrelevant point.
        My daughter ending with “Why don’t you ask this “professional” who works for the company you represent why she would invite a client into a church, make personal connections for her there, encourage her participation, then cry “stalking” after SHE facilitated and encouraged a personal relationship outside of the practice (again, she showed a chart with a list of conversations, witnesses and actions the counselor engaged in that were of a personal, everyday relationship in the church type of thing. She asked if she was so afraid, why didn’t she contact my parents and express concern , when she had been doing so weekly throughout their sessions??
        I was so proud of her. She ended by stating to the attorney, if she and her husband continue to stalk me, harass me, show up where I am, I will file THIS (had the protective order application in her hands) in a second and I will share with the entire church community and professional community what they are doing to keep others safe.

        Stepping back to the beginning….When we arrived, the clerk told us no one has an attorney, we are at day 10 already (4 days after my daughter was served) so there can’t be a continuance. My daughter filed the continuance anyway , with us and told the clerk, if they show up with an attorney, I will file this protective order and an appeal. Im pretty sure a professional counselor with a protective order on file is going to have a bit more concern for HER future, than I am.

        When the counselor came in with hubby and 2 attorneys, the Magistrate RAN to them , heard her say “I don’t think you want to do this…She has a protective order ready to file on both of your clients and it looks like she has good reason to do so” That’s when the tables turned.

        I feel like we could have gone ahead with it and won the case for my daughter staying in that church and as much as she has a right to, we just feared that doing so would ultimately put her in harm’s way. They could be so vengeful as to fabricate more issues, which we’ve seen they didn’t hesitate to do before , then it’s a “he said, she said” and she may not be so fortunate the next time.

        What a nightmare. Send happy thoughts and prayers to our daughter. She is so smart, so strong and so damned sweet…this is her downfall. I guess this was a horrible life lesson…don’t trust too much, don’t do so much for others, don’t care so much….ultimately, that is what got her in trouble and the travesty of all of this is, those are the very qualities that make everyone love her. I hope karma steps in, as immature as that may seem, and causes these people to suffer just a tenth of what she has. How could an adult, in that business, do something so personally cruel? All I can guess is that she is suffering in ways we don’t know…and in the course of a lifetime, my daughter is stronger than this, or will become stronger than this …and this experience will serve her in the future or enable her to help someone else in a way she may not have been able to without this experience.

        You have been a Godsend with your forum and your advice. I’m sure sometimes you think you are writing and spending countless hours on this for little of nothing. If nothing else, you gave me the confidence and the knowledge to share with my daughter to resolve this in a way that although, unfair and very painful for her, preserved her RIGHT to go after that job she deserves, serve in her community and be FREE. Thank you again. Words simply aren’t enough!!

        Reply
        • I’m sorry your victory couldn’t have been a complete one, K., but your perspectives are wise and probably dead on. Fighting people like this can be like punching a tar baby: you never get free. Better, I think, if your daughter completes her degree and moves on. She sounds lovely, and you’re right that there are people who are resentful and jealous of people like her and exploit them, because they know they can do it safely. I used to be more like her. Now I often feel like I’m pantomiming someone I don’t identify with much anymore. This search engine query brought someone here recently: “the sociopath is making me the victim mentally sick.” People who lie and persist in abusive misrepresentation for their own warped gratification can shred the fiber of your being. There’s probably a licensing commission that you could report this counselor’s conduct to, but I agree with you that your daughter’s sanity and golden qualities are best protected by letting this die away.

          Lies offend something very primal in all of us. Something I’ve found, though, is that even though they’re devastatingly effective in the short-term and can undo their victims, they seldom have a lot of staying power. Hysterics and attention-seekers like this counselor eventually betray how pathetic they are. Their desperation to sustain a drama starts to show.

          I’m really glad anything I’ve said gave you a shot in the arm. And you guys are real heroes. Tell your daughter she’s on the side of the angels, and they know it.

          Reply
      • Do you know/have any suggestion as to how I go about getting access to the house to get the rest of my stuff? I had to move because of the PO but I’m still on the lease.

        Reply
        • There’s no obstacle to your returning yourself now, is there? Maybe check with your attorney and figure out how best to do this. I’d recommend taking a witness or two along if you go to the house yourself.

          Reply
    • I’m a woman and going through a nasty divorce. Arrested for the sixth time this past Saturday for a violation of the RO against me. Mind you I am currently battling cancer. He had a rookie cop write up a statement on his behalf that the violation happened almost four months ago and the warrant was issued this past Saturday. We were just in court for our divorce trial hearing twelve days prior to that date, and he was angry that the Judge denied his motion , yet granted my attorney’s request for a continuance. The next hearing for the final decree is April 11th. Seems retaliatory to me. Even the magistrate was scratching her head on the time lapse and I was let go on my own recognize. I am so happy that the judicial system worked in your favor. That is how it is suppose to work. I think maybe its how prepared you are and your behavior in these situations. I believe why so many people get screwed is because they let their anger and emotions get the best of them and they try to get back instead of keeping their composure and stick to factual evidence. Judges do see through people who use their courts to abuse the other party for personal gain and malicious intent. My advice is do nothing, stay calm and focused. We are not lawyers, so the judges don’t expect us to know everything. If you know you are innocent or made an honest mistake the judges will see. The problem with all the blogs I read is anger is apparent. Yes, we have a right to be, but get it out in your home or somewhere private. Get it out of your system so when you have your day in court you remain respectful and humble. Remember it’s your chance to explain what happened, that is why the Judge is there. They don’t care about the respondent or plaintiff.

      Reply
  87. Thanks again for your help. I’ve kept this poor 20 year old up until 3:45 am preparing for this “hearing.” We’ve been over every detail; gone through the “petitioner’s” statement sentence by sentence and responded to each account. My daughter has a mind like a steel trap and we had dates, exact times, people who were there to support her account, and more. She made a detailed map (color coded) of the two times this lady asserted she was being followed and caught her in an outright lie, using the map and the timeline to show that her statements were contradictory and in fact, the counselor had looped around and come back to follow my daughter!!!! TWICE. We also made a timeline with every week since the first coincidence in a restaurant. She detailed the exact conversation, noted the petitioner laughed and made similar comments back, waved at her, smiled, invited her to STAY after church for picnics my daughter didn’t intend to attend…We explained each situation (there were only 3, maybe 4 ) and , had times, quotes, supporting statements and witnesses. This is RIDICULOUS. We have a map of the small town showing that my daughter owns her own home there, the petitioner lives in the neighboring state! She has a business there, but that’s not her home, so why is she hanging around there after work hours? Why is she pulling off the side of the road when she sees my daughter pass on the highway , doubling around and parking waiting to see her? Why does she pull into areas where my daughter just left (like the sports complex) then have the nerve to make some comment about her “following HER”, when she is the one who doubled back after my daughter left practice and parked there??? BIZARRE.. We have 3 letters stating my daughters fun loving, calm, giving nature and that she is a popular girl that many look up to because she puts others first and has never demonstrated any odd , possessive, threatening or even mean behavior in all the years they’ve known her. Fingers crossed for her, it’s at 9 a.m. We are trying to get a continuance filed at 8 a. m. But, we as ready as humanly possible if not. This goes before a Magistrate, not a judge, so that is even more confusing. I’ll let you know the outcome. Thanks again for your help and support.

    Reply
  88. Thank you soooo much. My daughter tried to file a continuance Friday, but the clerk wasn’t in until 3 pm and the Magistrate had already left. I had my daughter pick up a continuance form anyway. We’ve completed it and will be at the courthouse at 8 am to file before the 9 am hearing. The clerk told us that it was probably of no use, as this was an “emergency” protection order hearing. My daughter kept telling us she was afraid “something was up” as this counselor and her husband left church, when my daughter came in last Sunday. I strongly believe there is something about the husband…he’s forcing this issue. There’s never been a threat, a mean glance, anything out of the ordinary from my daughter, as she was determined to be “normal” and not allow this to become awkward for either of them. That was so important to her.
    I spoke with an attorney from our state and he told me how to prepare a case, quickly. He suggested a map of the area demonstrating that everything is within a few miles of everything else and that my daughter just bought a house in that state …it’s her home, next to her college and the counselor lives on the other side of the state line in another state, but her business in in the state my daughter resides and attends school in. He said to go down the list of places she and my daughter have seen each other, that the counselor listed on the order (3 or 4) and show on the map how my daughter in a few of these, had no other way to get to her athletic practice as there is one road in and out and she does so every day at that time, also, the same with the restaurants….they are almost ON campus. She’s been eating there for years. There are only 4 or 5 places to eat right there.
    The 300 ft rule will almost make it impossible for her to go to classes if the counselor is at one of those restaurants!!!!!!
    This is the craziest thing I’ve ever experienced. There is no consequence for the counselor and her husband who are basically terrorizing my daughter, trying to find a way to force her out of “their” church (which I believe is the big goal behind all of this, as 300 ft in the order , would prevent her from attending there.)
    The attorney told me to go point by point, with each and every time, date location where they were together and ask “why wouldn’t my daughter be there? ” as they are within a mile of the school. She only has two people who are writing letters of character support for her and to state that she has been complaining about this women being everywhere she goes for months. She doesn’t want more friends involved as the entire situation is embarassing and this small town/college is prone to major gossip, which could have an even more devastating effect on her. So, some people who could be good witnesses about the fact that THEY took her to the same church before she ever knew the counselor attended that church, can’t be called as she is terrified they won’t want to be involved and the whole accusation will freak them out.
    We did try to get an attorney from this state on Friday and his secretary assured us he would call back, we even FAXED the protective order forms )14 pages to him, but we’ve heard nothing. So, we will go to the hearing in the morning with a completed continuance form request. We also have the forms to file a protective order from my daughter to the counselor. Now , should they accept this, does that mean for example, if my daughter shows up in church first, then the counselor is not allowed to be there? That’s an important question, so I want to be prepared to discuss that. I don’t think this is what the counselor had in mind or expected and it may cause her to see that this is really ridiculous and perhaps she’ll reconsider as that situation is going to cause her to be in “harms way , as well, if SHE shows up where my daughter is….held to the same possibility of being arrested as my daughter, correct?”

    Reply
    • Good for you. That sounds like a solid plan. I’ve been through the ringer, and I read other peoples’ horror stories every week, so my faith that the complete reasonableness of what you plan to present to the court will see you though is less than 100%, but that really does sound solid. Just remember to state the obvious, because what you expect to be obvious to a judge won’t be. For example: “I don’t understand this person’s motives, Judge, but her allegations are false. My daughter has passed her on the road and encountered her randomly and said hi, but what NORMAL person would interpret that as threatening?”

      Your church question is a funny one, and it underlines how ridiculous this stuff can become. Probably the two would have to work out something with the pastor or priest and get the judge’s agreement, too. Obviously if they could attend different services, that would be simplest. If attendance of this church is important to your daughter, and she hasn’t already talked to leaders there, she should. I’ve know many women of the kind I sense this counselor to be, and I know how prejudicial these court instruments are. This woman could poison the minds of church leaders in a few-minute conversation and have them looking at your daughter like she’s a murderer of puppies. There’s no more prejudicial phrase in the English language than “I had to get a restraining order against her.” You and I know this means nothing at all. Which means you and I know something that most people don’t, and that includes authorities and judges.

      Reply
    • And it’s really great you’re helping your daughter. The courts force defendants into social isolation (for the reason you mention: who wants to talk about something like this with people s/he knows, even people s/he knows well and who know him or her well?), and judges can make defendants feel like scolded children. Who can say how many defendants just crumple under the cruel scrutiny and the unjustified contempt they’re treated with?

      Reply
  89. I recently had a protection order on my ex dismissed, after which we met to talk about it. And one of his crazy exgirlfriend’s saw us. She than began making threats that she was going to call the police. She hasn’t yet from what I’m aware. On the dismissal form it states that any person who attempts to enforce the dismissed order can be held in contemptive court. Would her calling the police and making a report on a order that’s no longer in effect fall under her enforcing it? Also is it considered a false report with her knowledge that it is no longer effective.?

    Reply
    • I think the contempt of court warning would apply to authorities or someone attempting a “citizen’s arrest.” If this woman knew the order was vacated/dismissed and intentionally lied to police officers to induce them to act in contempt of court, she would technically be liable for false reporting and maybe obstruction of justice and/or other offenses. How seriously any of this would be taken would probably depend on how much mayhem she succeeded in causing. I hope you dodge this bullet, Kay. Best wishes.

      Reply
  90. Long story, but …my daughter’s counselor has filed a restraining order against her, as they live in a town of 2000 people and inevitably end up at the same restaurant (as there are about 5 there!!) or grocery store (3 of them) or department store (ONE) The counselor is completely paranoid, my daughter had the utmost respect for her, she was treated for depression, nothing weird or deranged. The counselor dropped her because they kept seeing each other (they ATTEND THE SAME CHURCH!, and have always sat one row away from one another) My daughter told me for weeks prior to being dropped that she was running into this lady often and it was creeping her out…”is she following me????” I sure don’t want her to think I’m stalking her, how do I handle it?” I told her to discuss it during her next session, but the counselor dropped her before then. It’s been 2 months, and my best guess is the husband of counselor is a domineering control freak and forced the counselor to file a restraining order. A lawyer in my state said that can’t be done for simply seeing someone here and there with no threats, BUT , if you can sight some danger, physically from an incident THEN you CAN file one. Interestingly enough….the counselor suddenly had a report of my daughter “cutting her off in traffic!!!!!” DIDN’T HAPPEN! My daughter is about to graduate from college and this will RUIN her opportunity to begin her life with a career she’s worked so very hard for. She was served this morning (THURS) and the “hearing???” is MONDAY!!!! QUESTION 1- Can my daughter get an order against this counselor in the state of WV without a physical danger, (like a car incident)?? I can find no information on this at all. QUESTION 2- With no threats, (none cited in the order…just that she was at a restaurant where the counselor was, in front of them at church….order said “there are plenty of other seats….MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY IF IT BOTHERS HER THAT MUCH (very Christian behavior, I might add) is a judge likely to enforce or declare this official? She’s never threatened or said a mean word to ANYONE….she’s a youth group leader, model citizen, loved by her peers and professors…..Something WHACKY is going on with this counselor and it’s about to destroy my daughter’s life.She is beside herself and sliding into a serious depression of hopelessness and despair …it’s horrible. QUESTION 3- If this order is finalized, and this counselor has some mental issues of her own and decides to make up that my daughter followed her into a restaurant OR what if they are both in WALMART unbeknownst to the other and the counselor sees her and has her arrested?????? My daughter has , for the past 2 months, circled every public place she’s entered repeatedly to make sure she doesn’t see that familiar car…She lives in terror of this exact thing happening. She calls us before leaving her house saying “I’m going to such and such restaurant or store” Ijust wanted to tell you before I left the house in case SHE is there….I planned to go to this place, I’m so scared she’ll be there……..Please help with advice, especially regarding WV laws if you can help me find that. LASTLY, HOW would I begin a search on this counselor to see if she or her husband (whom I believe is behind this for some strange reason) have a habit of filing these orders?? (By the way, they followed her to practice the other day and drove past 3 times……out of their way…not someplace they ever go…..this is not the first time SHE’S been followed by them)

    Reply
    • Any advice? I have tried to find an attorney today, but no one can appear on this short of notice. It becomes a “he said /she said” situation with a “pillar of the community-counselor” and an ex patient, young girl (with zero history of any conflicts ever….with anyone) My wish would be to convince this woman to formally mediate this situation and come up with some guidelines that would make her comfortable, as they both live in such a small town and being in the same place at the same time is inevitable, it always happens with MANY folks. This order of “300 ft” could potential make it impossible for my daughter to attend classes at her school!!!
      This is an “order of protection” The magistrates office told me it’s not even filed on the computer, but kept in a paper file in a desk, but I have a hard time believing there will not be some record somewhere that can be accessed when my daughter applies for her first jobs in December. Also, 2 years and 300 ft are the maximum…that seems extreme with no threats or negative verbal or physical interactions…I just don’t know how to evoke the voice of reason in this situation : /

      Reply
    • First thing—and this is important—your daughter hasn’t been provided enough time to prepare her defense and should move for a continuance: “Your Honor, I move for a continuance on the grounds that I was only served four days ago, am completely at sea with this and haven’t had any time to prepare, and would like to confer with counsel and/or investigate the possibility of obtaining legal representation. I would also like the opportunity to gather character references and witness testimony.” There’s unfortunately no time to file a motion, though it’s possible that your daughter could do so the day of the hearing (by calling or going to the courthouse). Otherwise, she’ll have to move the court during the proceeding itself. Basically, she’d be asking for a postponement or extension. Second thing—no, there doesn’t seem to be grounds for a claim of stalking against your daughter since all of the encounters were public and very plausibly coincidental in such a small town, though in some jurisdictions restraining orders may be awarded simply on the basis of someone’s saying, “I’m afraid” (no kidding), and the counselor could lie, lie, lie. There’s no guessing what she could fabricate. She could say she found your daughter in her bedroom rifling through her underwear drawer. Don’t count on proof being essential; impressions are huge. Third thing—you’d have to consult a lawyer about this, but it seems to me that a counselor has a professional responsibility not to cause her patients psychological trauma. Fourth—if you know the husband’s name, you can go to the webpages of local courthouses (for example, city and county and any past cities and counties you know these people to have resided in) and perform a case search using that name. Chances are even the last name will be accepted (sometimes people use different variants of first names, like “Mitch” and “Mitchell,” sometimes first names are misspelled, and sometimes people are under their middle initials, also). Fifth—your concern that your daughter would be completely vulnerable to any story this woman could concoct in future is a very valid one and one that’s shared by all victims of hysterics, neurotics, attention-seekers, and pathological liars who seek restraining orders. Sixth and lastly for now—you’d have to consult your state’s restraining order laws to be sure (Google “West Virginia” + “restraining order laws”), but chances are your daughter could counter-file a restraining order against the counselor for stalking her, and she has nothing to lose by trying, either way. In fact, she could apply on Monday. Your daughter would allege she’s being followed, is afraid to leave the house lest this woman show up and then accuse her of following her, and that this woman (her counselor) knows the most intimate ins-and-outs of her life and is bent on destroying her. If your daughter can legitimately claim to feel terrorized or afraid for her safety, that should be communicated, too, besides her feelings of depression and despondency. Also if she feels her counselor has become fixated on her. Emotion-based claims are often more persuasive than evidence-based ones (everything to do with restraining orders is backwards law and backwards logic). It’s an outrage that someone in this woman’s position would do this, and I’m sorry for you guys. Persevere. Just be very aggressive in asserting your daughter’s rights and innocence, because if you depend on common sense, reason, or truth to see you through, you’re likely to be let down. And do get a lawyer if possible.

      FIRST THING MONDAY, PRIORITY ONE: Get that continuance (postponement). This is critical. Appeals hearings may be granted no more than 30 minutes, and your daughter may well get the shaft if she’s forced to improvise a defense on the fly. Attempts to remedy a miscarriage of justice after an appeals hearing has gone sideways are all but futile.

      Reply
    • From what I’ve read, a “protective order” in West Virginia is intended to stop domestic violence.

      Here’s Article 27 of Chapter 48 of the West Virginia Code (WVC §48-27):

      http://www.legis.state.wv.us/wvcode/ChapterEntire.cfm?chap=48&art=27

      Here’s some info on how stalking/harassment is defined in WV:

      http://www.fris.org/StalkingandHarassment/StalkingHarassment.html.

      As you can see, the rhetoric in all of these laws and on all of the websites that explain them is that restraining orders are only sought against people plaintiffs are afraid of. This is how this racket is preserved.

      What your daughter best has in her favor is that she’s a girl and that she had a business relationship with this woman.

      Reply
  91. Cool thanks for the info. Whats the likelihood that if they brought it to another court they could win? That would be like one judge going against another.

    Reply
    • If they tried a second time to get a restraining order based on exactly the same facts, you could invoke the doctrines of res judicata and/or collateral estoppel. These basically say that something that’s been judged before has been judged for good. The problem, of course, is that the restraining order process is fast and loose, and a plaintiff can easily manufacture new or completely different allegations. A man whose ex-wife was an attorney wrote last year that his ex-wife sought multiple restraining orders against him when she learned he was remarrying (insert hissing cat noise here). Her first restraining order was vacated on appeal, which didn’t discourage her a bit. So there are definitely work-arounds. It just depends on how dedicated this person is to hurting you.

      Reply
  92. Can someone get another restraining order if the first one was dismissed because of lack of evidence. Is there different levels of restraining order? Or If they somehow found evidence could they open another case about this?

    Reply
    • It really depends on this person’s persistence. There’s no oversight with this process. One person can make back-to-back applications for restraining orders against another person or even apply for orders from different jurisdictions (e.g., city and county). The restraining order abuser won’t be scolded or ordered not to apply for restraining orders. And standards of what meets “sufficient evidence” can vary widely among judges, because award of restraining orders is pretty much a discretionary call. For some judges, “I’m scared” is enough to justify a restraining order’s being issued against someone the judge may never meet.

      There aren’t different levels of restraining order, no, which is one of the objections to this process. The guy who texts his girlfriend too much (or who didn’t even do what he’s accused of) is lumped in with the guy who likes punishing his wife with a belt buckle. There can be different forms of order in one locale, as in mine, where there are “Injunctions against Harassment” and “Orders of Protection.” The significance of each is supposed to be different, but the same allegations can be (and are) made on both. In fact in my jurisdiction I want to say the only thing that makes an application for one order or the other is which box is ticked.

      Reply
  93. There is a chain of stores around here that have a huge turnover rate for employees and managers. Local management has the habit of pushing them to the breaking point, having a “Well why don’t you just quit” argument, then filing a restraining order on the person(s). Is this legal?

    In Alabama

    Reply
    • Definitely it sounds unethical. On what grounds does the store obtain restraining orders?

      Reply
      • To my understanding, because they push employees to quit on the spot: its along the lines of being disruptive or causing trouble

        Reply
        • I guess if you could establish that abuse of legal process were store policy (good way to get out of paying severance) or that employees were baited or egged on intentionally, there might be grounds for legal action. A group of employees who were treated this way might have the basis for a lawsuit (wrongful termination, coercion, etc.).

          Unfortunately, when it comes to these instruments, the question “Is this legal?” is less meaningful than “Can you get away with it?”

          Reply
  94. You make me laugh which, of course, makes me smile. SIGNED: One of your fondest pen pals.

    Reply

  95. Mary R.

    August 27, 2013

    I am back, not quite myself, but at least ready to communicate. I never was really into crosswords puzzles, I do like words. As I have gotten older and a little bit wiser! I enjoy looking up things I don’t know. So you are not only an abuser you are a thief! I am sure your grandmother was delighted to find that you had such an interest. Who wouldn’t? A child with a curiosity for knowledge. I will attempt a few crossword puzzles while I am sunning myself in this horrid August heat. Do brains melt or is it just a melt down I feeling.

    Reply
  96. Going south for a few weeks, perhaps a sun burn is what this woman needs to take her mind and spirit away from these “jagged” mountains of despair. Hope your situation has seen some light at the end of the tunnel. Know, you are in the deepest part of my soul, where no evil or negativity can reach, they have computers down south!

    Reply
  97. Had to pay 80.00 to file restraining order which was discontinued by the judge. Now this was filed for my father in-law (84yrsold) property stolen from him. We feel judge only based his ruling on theft of items and NOT safety concern we had of this person harming him.what are our options. Do we lose our 80.00 filing fee? We were VERY disappointed with this judge! TY in advance (ART)

    Reply
    • Art, are you saying you paid a fee, filed a restraining order, and that order was refused by the judge? Quashed on appeal?

      Reply
      • TY for your reply We filed the order 1. to keep this person off my father-in-laws property,as he did steal personal property. 2.We feared for our father-in-laws safety. this was a temporary order the judge refused to make it permanent as he stated this should be civil matter but he did not discuss the safety part of the restraining order and this cost my father in law 80.00 can we appeal his decision? if so how do we approach this? TY again (
        Art)

        Reply
        • You could call and run this past some attorneys, Art, for no cost. Just call, explain the situation, and ask them if you can appeal. It’s possible you could prepare a Motion for Reconsideration (Motion to Reconsider), and present this to the original judge. You would explain whatever it is you don’t think the judge fully appreciated and explain why he should reconsider his judgment. Or you could possibly appeal the decision to the Superior Court, which might involve more money.

          Reply
  98. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!I am not going to burden you with details at the moment, but know that I have met someone who is standing beside me in this nightmare, that has unfolded. My neighbor has done the ultimate and I am out on bond and totally at her mercy, which she has none. It will only take her word to have be spend from now until Sept. 19, behind bars. So I am expecting that to happen. I have not been home nor do I plan to go anywhere near there until after that date. A lawyer will not be able to undo anything until the 19th. So my course of action is stay as far away from where her false accusation will say I was. Yes my civil rights are being violated but until I get my day in court I can do nothing else. This person, man who I met on a blind date (thank God he and you can SEE me!) thru a man who liked me just from our interactions when I worked at local restaurant a few years back. The man is his brother-in-law and we hit it off and then two days later I had to swallowed my pride and reached out to him because he would not want it any other way. I had the bond monies available but I knew I he would feel disappointed and hurt if I didn’t reach out to him after the few hours of conversation we had had. We had talks about my crazy neighbor and how I wanted to leave this area. He was there in a heart beat and I have been staying with him as he’ll have it no other way. His sister and brother-in-law are with me also and I can’t thank them enough. they will be there as character witnesses and anything else they can do for me, whether this man and I go beyond where we are at now. They have credibility in the community and it will put the lawless legal people on their heels. I know that YOU would be that this man/person at this moment in time if you were here in the flesh and please know I that there is no doubt in my mind that I would not have had to swallow my pride to reach out to you. And I no longer have to swallow my pride with this man. I believe the Creator has put him here in your place, as where you are at you were too far for me to reach out to. BUT your words and your flowering rock garden are forever burned into my soul and heart. keep minding that garden, will stay in touch with just a “Hey” as long as the Creator allows.

    Reply
  99. I’m a word lover, too. Favorite class of all time, Mr. Bates and his Greek and Roman derivatives curriculum. He put action, excitement and adventure into his teachings. What a teacher!
    On the RO front, I didn’t get a DVRO, but rather an oral Stay-Away order that has to be converted from the transcript to the written order. It was a battle of the wits against a Narcissist. Because of what is yet to come, I feel that should he return, as all Narcissist do, at least I am covered. I didn’t walk out feeling victorious, my heart was heavy, but business was taken care of. The high point was the admission of the nature of the relationship that evolved from never having had contact with me, to a friendship only, to the legitimate eligibility for the DVRO. The Judge was amazing. She made the outcome be better than I could have devised. By not being a CLETS-DVRO, it was a win-win, though will instantly be a DVRO if he attempts contact. No one won …

    Reply
    • That’s among what I’ll always resent most about legal shenanigans: they steal your ability to quietly reflect, gently ponder, or idle with ideas. You lose your serenity. They make you vigilant, distrustful, and nihilistic.

      I hope you regain some equilibrium now.

      Reply
  100. I was told that I need to be challenged and I must say you have been doing that. Perhaps I need to be in more book stores! After having to look up the meanings of a few words, I realize that my life is far removed from the intellectual world. But that’s okay. I have known many college professors and “on my way to a career” people and my path has led me away from their structured reality. The word “intrepid” I related to a ship! When I looked it up last night, I thought I was reading a definition of who I thought I WAS. Facing the reality of how the negative energy doing battle with me had left me feeling less then who I am. I was embarrassed to see who I had become. Where did I go? I appreciate you even more now, knowing that I needed your presence (and a dictionary) in my life at this time. If any of my words to you, assist you in rediscovering your inner self and strengths, know that your few words and photo of a flowering rock, have done more for me then you’ll ever know. Strength in Numbers!

    Reply
    • Sorry for the delayed response, comrade. I’ve had some fishy things going on at my own home. A stolen vehicle among others.

      I got turned on to words in my teens. My teacher (I spent most of my high school career with him) encouraged us to absorb new words, and we spent most afternoons after classes hunched over a crossword puzzle with him. He was one of the most distinguished journalism advisers in the country. Really, though, my “intellectual pursuits” were independent of school. I read a lot and always investigated the words I didn’t know. At about 23, I started studying literature at college, and I found I had a broader knowledge of words and even word origins than most of my peers just from being a regular visitor to my grandmother’s Merriam-Webster’s (which I pretty much stole). It’s really as simple as looking up unfamiliar stuff.

      I don’t have many positive things to say about universities, anymore, either. A lot of what we’re talking about in this forum has its origin in trends and currents that emanate from the academy.

      Try some crosswords, Mary, for a challenge. Just the “baby puzzles” in the local paper to start. You’ll get sensitized to words and maybe catch the bug. Do as much as you can then use a crossword puzzle dictionary to fill in the rest (or check the answers the next day). You’ll get bored with these after a while. Then try the NY Times puzzles. That’s my nerd prescription to you!

      Your encouragement and kind words have absolutely been a consolation to me, and I know better than I could impress upon you what you mean about not knowing who you are anymore. It’s horrible how these processes can work you over and hijack your life.

      I see you, Mary. I don’t think anyone who has a brush with this stuff is ever quite the same, but you don’t seem diminished to me.

      Reply

  101. Mary R,

    August 8, 2013

    The Creator willing I might take you up on that. Point me towards the Mexican food and I’ll leave the bookstores to you. So far no new knocks at the door. Do I dare to hope! She has turned her attention towards my friend who now has a court date on the 18th, My friend came by one afternoon for lunch and a month later got a letter stating she needed to pay 150.00 within two weeks for damages that never occurred. Could this be the straw that breaks the camels back! It will certainly prove my side, of being harassed as she is now lasering in on another young at heart senior citizen. Flowers are responding to light heartedness. Do rocks blossom?

    Reply
    • How bizarre. It’s always the spouses of people like this who pique my curiosity. What do they tell themselves? I’ve met a few women like your neighbor over the years. Outwardly sensitive people with lots of repressed frustration and resentment. Then it’s as if something activates them and they become aggressively assertive, domineering, bullying. Calls to police, threats of lawsuits. They won’t be pacified. It’s like something inside snaps.

      Reply
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  102. Mary R.

    August 2, 2013

    I love you !!!!! Kindred spirits are found in the most unlikely places. I will tend to my flowers with a lighter heart. Knowing that somewhere there is someone tending to HIS rock garden, hopefully, with a lighter heart.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Mary! I think you’re lovely, too. If you’re ever in Tucson, let me know. I couldn’t tell you a thing about restaurants, but I could point you toward all the good bookstores!

      Reply
  103. Like I said, I am more human then gender. I hold no loyalty to either sex as I am well aware of the games they play on each other. And the husband, of course, he may be caught in the middle, how would you stop your wife if she’s on a mission. The introductions and pastry were done two years ago. I did what the neighbors did for me when I first moved there, I went over and introduced myself. Told them they could use my driveway to enter and exit if they liked but not to leave their kids toys in it. Didn’t think that was too much to ask. I was disappointed when only the husband was home when I did this, but I was already at the door. The lawyer to answer the restraining order papers will only cost me $250 for the contact with the courts. Since there was no hearing date put down for me to go to court I don’t know what’s going on. If the court house is jerking me around or the restraining order wasn’t issued by the judge she went before the morning of the 29th. But the sheriff said I should write an answer to the clerk of court within ten days, when he served me the night of the 29th. When I spoke with the clerk in the morning of the 31st, she said they never give a hearing date until after the plaintiff goes before the judge first. Not at all what happened last time. I had a hearing date and later found out she had a hearing date the day before my date? This new one had no comment by a judge. The clerk said it a formality to notify a defendant if there had been a restraining order asked for whether issued or not. That’s sound pretty dangerous to the person who made the complaint and didn’t get the order. Is that really how restraining orders go? A defendant gets notified either way? Please don’t ever take anything I say offensive. I am indebted to you and your compassion for the rest of us troubles souls and would never want you to think otherwise. And I will never take offense to any reply you give me I appreciate you even listening to me. If I have to go before another court, I will go by myself and ask for a continuance and then work with the attorney to bring truth to light.

    Reply
    • That’s a relief to me, Mary. You never know how things come across in e-communications, and these are such touchy subjects.

      Not surprisingly, a lot of queries that bring people here are about restraining orders taken out because of text messages or Facebook stuff. Ridiculous.

      I didn’t know a defendant got notified either way. That’s good to know. I really hope that means “round two” got the thumbs down from the referee.

      I’m like you. I like my quiet and solitude. You realize how vital maintenance of all these social connections becomes when something like this happens. I’ve recently been cataloging all the judges and lawyers I know or have been close to (or worked for) over the years. I should have been sending them holiday cards all this time!

      Keep me posted, Mary, and let me know if I can help in any way. And don’t neglect those flowers!

      Reply

  104. smarterthanbefore

    August 2, 2013

    Answer to own inquiry recalled and now shared. There is a standard Judicial Council form “Notice of Related Case” (CM-015).
    FORM CM-015 HAS THE FOLLOWING CHECK OFF BOXES:
    (1) involves the same parties is based on the same facts or similar claims.
    (2) arises from the same or substantially identical transactions incidents, or events requiring the determination of the same or substantially identical questions of law or fact.
    (3) involves claims against title to, possession or damages to the same property.
    (4) is likely for other reasons to require substantial duplication of judicial resources if heard by a different judge.
    Hopefully we will get to skirmish before the same Judge, again, eh 4 out of 4 … Wonder if this descision is up to the discretion of the court filed at? Like this could have/should have been handled simultaneously?
    RESULTING QUESTIONS:
    (1) Could pursuing a retaliatory RO be considered “harassment,” in and of itself? To get this type of FREE RO would require involving violence, threats of violence or stalking to save of $435 — none of which took place as already reviewed by the court and on the record.
    (2) Thus, could this be construed as “fraud on the court” to try to wrangle something for FREE? Thanks.

    Reply
    • If you believe you have grounds for seeking a restraining order, a judge will either approve it or not. If it were approved, then it’s unlikely it would be dismissed as “harassment.” If it weren’t approved, though, and the defendant were notified that you applied for and were denied a restraining order, it’s something that could be brought up, I guess. I don’t think a judge would accept the fraud on the court argument to grant you a freebie, but who can say? Certainly the judge isn’t likely to punish you for counter-filing, and you will have a free opportunity to ask a judge some questions at the least.

      Reply
  105. Quick question — If there was a California DVRO action on file already ajudicated, would the same venue be required for related actions? Meaning would any residual cross-action be required to go to the original venue? Thank you.

    Reply
  106. Yes, the female bashing was noticed, but because I am more human then gender, I have overlooked that and accept the site for what it is, Helpful; and again thank you for sharing your story with the rest of us and giving us all a place to vent. I read about dispute resolutions and even contacted the local court house in hopes they might have something like that, but nope. I thought if she could tell me what it was that really had her annoyed with me, long before the livestock situation, it might help. I might even find that I needed to apologize. Buts since the last time I wrote, her sociopath tendencies have come out full force. No more hiding behind subtle actions, she is on a mission. I only hope that the authorities will see how crazy she is becoming and her husband who obviously is part of this madness. Oh did I tell you he was a Male. A little pay back. I have decided to get a attorney, let him handle it. I need to find some sanity, the emotional drain has me exhausted. I hate going home, don’t know who’ll knock on my door, my close friends can’t really help and I need them more then ever. Everyone says don’t talk to her. I don’t communicate with these people I just come home water my flowers on my deck, they are so pretty. I sometimes wish they were rocks, so I didn’t have to go home and water them. I am a rock, I am an island isn’t that what Paul Simon sang. I use to love that song.

    Reply
    • If you mean by “female bashing” the subjects of the latest few posts, know that they’re actually older posts that I’ve had to revise to comply with the court and reposted as a group. If you think there’s any unfair criticism from me or anyone else, don’t hesitate to say so.

      The fact is that these processes were created to respond to (or pacify) feminist demands, and the bias that obtains in them 30 years later is toward women, who are of course their predominant users. What “feminist” means to you as a 65-year-old means something very different than it does to the feminist establishment of today. The terms equity feminist and gender feminist define the distinction, which is between those who advocate for equal recognition for all and those who are pretty much female supremacists (“The Sorority”). It’s like in Orwell’s Animal Farm: You become the tyrant you opposed.

      Again, Mary, no offense, but the husband could be going along to make sure none of the wife’s rage tilts his way.

      I know exactly what you mean: this poisons your environment, things lose their savor just by association with the source of the poison. Every time I go through this again, collecting my mail makes me feel sick, and I never know what new surprise is in store.

      A lawyer will probably charge you between $800 and $3,000 for a letter. Maybe if you found one who was a decent person, s/he might be able to bridge the gap. These things are so hard, because even if one party tries to reach a detente, the other party can turn around and represent these gestures however s/he wants. This can be made to sound very sinister by a calculating person, Mary. A phone call can be grounds for a man to be arrested when a woman has represented him as a “danger.” That’s the objection that tends to create the impression of misogyny. So things escalate, fester. It’s horrible. And it can go on for years.

      Reply
    • I used to love that song, too: “I have my books and my poetry to protect me.”

      Reply

  107. mary R

    July 31, 2013

    Some one wrote of a Sociopath, that describes my Satin’s child neighbor. A young woman who has decided that her life is meaningless if she can’t cause emotional stress to me. A 65 and a half year old woman. Since she did not get the out come she wanted thru a false stalking charge, has now decided to try having me charged with animal cruelty. I have now met 6 local sheriffs at my door, they come in pairs. When the first ones did nothing about her accusations of my shooting her horse with a bb gun, she decided to call the national headquarters of Peta. They must not have moved fast enough for her because she then went back to courts with the most ridiculous accusations, from photographing her and her two little boys and that my security light lights up her yard and her deck area. At least now others are seeing the crazy person I have been dealing with over the last few months. Peta, who lets you know thru the mail that there was accusation of cruelty to animals levied against you. said they had discounted the complaint because it sounded too crazy. My neighbor said it was happening to my animals, and I don’t have any animals. But it was nice talking to the Peta representative in Va. I live in NC. Guess my neighbor didn’t think the local animal welfare agent could handle coming by and seeing for herself how I was mistreating the animals I didn’t have. The light is staying on until the electric company can come out and put a pole light, street light, on my property, two of them. If she thinks my little flood light is bright wait until she see how her whole yard is lit up. I love the stars here in mountains but I love peace of mind more. This should also help her see Annie Oakley when she out shooting bbs at her horse and pets. The sociopath comes in, when yesterday she had her youngest, 7 years old, photographing my flood light in the day time. She’s a coward and if she was telling the truth about me, she actually put her child in danger. I have always felt I was dealing with a 13 year old and kept thinking to myself, when will she turn 14. I will be moving when I can sell my house, not going to spend my golden years in the fires of hell

    Reply
    • Sixty-five and a half cracks me up. I’m sorry this is still going on, Mary. PETA? That’s weird. I’ve lived on rural-ish properties for about 15 years now. Around horse people. And I’ll tell you, most of them are good folks, but about one in 10 is psycho. And another one or two are borderline. (No offense meant but always female.) Oddly, too, remoter places seem to draw exactly the kind of people you’re talking about. One of my neighbors isn’t too different. And it’s like they enjoy this stuff. Like it’s a grand adventure. They feed on the conflict and attention (even if it’s negative from all directions). It’s like they’re suddenly visible, and this is exciting to them. I’m guessing this woman is too neurotic just to call on the telephone and ask that everyone sit down and iron out differences? I mean, what’s really at stake here? From my perspective, it sounds like you’ve got some socially/emotionally arrested neighbors with passive-aggressive resentments that probably never would have arisen if people still did what they used to and went around to their new neighbors with something from the pastry shop.

      I did some work for a couple years for a Tucson attorney years ago. One of the most humane attorneys I’ve ever met. He advocated for ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution). I don’t know a great deal about how this works, if there’s a steep price attached to it, or much else except what I recall from reading his students’ papers. The idea is that a mediator helps two parties pacify their conflict.

      Reply

  108. Daniell

    July 26, 2013

    I am receiving threatening calls from a company stating they are taking a restraining order out on me for a bill I didn’t pay. Is that legit? Or are they blowing smoke?

    Reply
    • I won’t tell you this couldn’t be legit, Daniell, but if you don’t recognize the company or the debt it says you owe, see if other people on the Internet have complained of calls from this company. Just enter the telephone number in Google and see what pops up. Here’s a complaint similar to yours:

      i actually received the call from 603-856-0338 today but they called my families number. they said the same thing about restraining order and complaint against me. No other info. except for a asag number? I am so tired of people like this!!!! something needs to be done and when you search it its in new hampshire, so why can’t the law put a stop to it? It’s very frustrating and pisses me off so much. Like one of you above said, no information, no paperwork, nothing. Just alot of threats and wasted cell phone minutes….

      You can also call the company and see what its representative says. Just don’t give him or her any information. If you think you’re being scammed, you can call the attorney general’s office or check with a lawyer for his or her advice. Chatting on the phone with a lawyer for a few minutes isn’t a commitment to pay him or her anything.

      Best.

      Reply

  109. ro jones

    July 19, 2013

    Can I have my name removed off as a “witness” that someone listed when applying for their restraining order against someone else? Was told that I was listed as a “witness” to things I never saw happen..and am outraged that this person took it upon themselves to just add my name to a situation I want no part of..is there anything I can do to have my name removed off that order?? In part they falsified information on their application to obtain this restraining order…

    Reply
    • Not that I know of, but you could certainly go to the courthouse and ask to see a judge about it. You could also of course tell the petitioner of the order that you don’t want any part in the matter. If you have no role in the circumstances (real or contrived) that gave rise to the restraining order, you’re in no way prohibited from communicating with either party to the order. This all gets horribly dicey when you’re talking about someone who’s a willful liar, though. The same person can pull some kind of vengeance stunt against you.

      If you know an attorney or don’t mind calling one, ask him or her. There’s no charge for this.

      There’s unfortunately nothing to keep anyone from using your name in connection with anything (excepting, of course, if they lie about you in a defamatory way or invade your privacy).

      Reply

  110. stacey

    July 14, 2013

    Cps is involved, however both times they made an appointment to come to her house…she has refused to answer the door so its obvious that she is hiding something. Why don’t they just go take the twins out of there as well? I’m aggravated as her boyfriend is getting a raw deal here and so are the kids

    Reply

  111. Mary R

    July 14, 2013

    Nope, no immediate family in this state, a few good friends. I live alone and use to enjoy it. Now I am rethinking my recluse life style. The age thing was a joke. I feel 23, energy of a 40 year old and trying to maintain my enlightened view of the world, in this mist of madness I have found myself. What is the saying “Creator only gives you what he knows you can handle.” He has a high opinion of me; but keeping that in mind I have faith that he knows me better then I.
    This road I travel at this moment in time, is just that, a moment in time. This to shall pass and laughter will fill the air for both of us. All of us

    Reply
  112. Round #2, I don’t think I transmitted the 1st post correctly.
    Hello from California. As the Petitioner, no one seems to know the answer based on what happened at the DVRO hearing. I met the requirements of timely filing all declarations and all my witnesses appeared. The Respondent never provided a written Response, was clueless, but a Continuance was granted. It was conditionally granted, upon the Respondent repeatedly agreeing to understanding that all my filings (i.e., declarations, requests, etc.) were going to be admitted without an opportunity to cross-examine any of the declarants. Having everything admitted is a big plus … But here is the critical question — How many days BEFORE the continued hearing date MUST the Respondent get his written Response into my hands? This is important because I may have to be filing a timely request for continuance. The Respondent will have had my filings for about 4 weeks, whereas I need ample time to get an attorney to review the documentaion, let alone to file a timely Reply. I’m not walking into a hearing with a timing disadvantage. Any thoughts? Thanks.

    Reply

  113. stacey

    July 14, 2013

    if a tpo is placed on a defendant and it says he can’t have utilities shut off, what are the procedures for if the victim moves? She told the defendant of this said tpo that she is moving and he was still going to have to pay her bills. Is that true?

    Reply
    • I would see if you can’t get an answer to this from a judge, Stacey. I’m assuming you got the restraining order against your husband, since I can’t imagine what other kind of domestic relationship would require someone who was evicted to continue to pay your bills. You might also call an attorney who practices family law and ask him or her.

      Reply

      • stacey

        July 14, 2013

        I am writing this in regards to my sister (who is a raging alcoholic) and her boyfriend. She has given her boyfriend 2 of the kids and has 2 herself. I have her oldest daughter. She keeps telling the boyfriend that she is not dropping the tpo because he is payinmg her bills and she is going to be moving and said he will stay pay her bills. This has all happened less than a month ago and she has now resorted to moving in her oldest daughters boyfriend and starting a relationship with him and hardly wants anything to do with the kids

        Reply
        • God, Stacey. I’m loath to direct anyone to initiate any of these kinds of bureaucratic processes, but this sounds like a matter for CPS. It’s really good of you to intervene, but if you feel like the kids are suffering or being neglected, you should probably consider getting a case worker involved.

          Reply

  114. Anonymous

    July 14, 2013

    Hello from California. I’ve asked this question of many, yet know one knows the answer. As the DVRO Petitioner, I did everything necessary, timely filed all declarations, had witnesses in at the hearing, etc. At the hearing, the clueless Respondent requested a continuance, whereas the Response hadn’t even been filed. Lo and behold a Continuance was granted, predicated on the Respondent fully understanding that all my filings were admitted into evidence. Facetiously, my counsel basically said that there was really no point to go to the continued hearing, as everything that needed to be addressed is in the Judge’s hands and the Respondent is unable to cross-examine anyway. Here is the ultimate question — How many days BEFORE the continued hearing date must I have the Response in my possession? This is important, as I may have to request a continuance, as I have no intention of not being unprepared, as it could be too short of notice having an attorney review. Any thought? Thanks.

    Reply
    • The practices of the courts related to these matters vary from state to state (I’m in Arizona). Your attorney would be the best person to ask. Find out whether it’s mandatory that a written response must be submitted and must be provided to you beforehand. Otherwise you’ll have to respond on your feet if you opt to attend the hearing and should prepare any additional documentation you think you’ll want or need to provide.

      Reply

  115. Ricardo

    July 13, 2013

    If an injunction is granted and issued for a calender year, will it be taken off public record after the year is up?

    Reply
    • The injunction will expire after that year is up, that is, you will no longer be vulnerable to police arrest or prosecution for not minding its restrictions. After the year, your Constitutional entitlements to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” will conditionally be restored to you.

      The expired restraining order will still be a matter of public record, though. For anyone to find or publish or bring to your employer’s attention or your customers’ attention if you’re a businessman or your students’ attention if you’re a teacher or your fiancee’s attention if you’re engaged, etc., etc.

      Unless you find a way to have it expunged, it’s there until you’re laid in your grave.

      Reply

  116. Mary R.

    July 13, 2013

    Ah! a fence, I condensed the story as it is long. My state is a fence in state and I felt they should have to follow the law plus I can’t afford the monies for a 200′ fence. Three days after the initial court date they brought a horse to the property and had/have the manure right up to the boundary line of their unelectrified electric fence. About 75′ is within 12 to 20 feet from my house. I can’t open my backdoor or my kitchen window due to the stench. I was in the process of speaking with an attorney about a nuisance suit when I got hit with the stalking charge. After the second court date they removed the horse but the manure is still there and when it rains it leeches on to my side yard. I still plan to file a nuisance suit as they are preventing me from enjoying my property of 10 years. I almost had the attorney start the process but I need to find a way to protect myself from another false charge before I start the next process. The attorney said they would have to have different reason since it wasn’t proven. Ha, they lied the first time I see no problem for them to lie again. The real nightmare is their relative works for the sheriffs department and this being a small town they have an inside track to the magistrate who has the judges ear. I am one of those feminist who stands up for herself, no one needs to encourage me to go up against the machine; they probably should hold me back. I wish I had discovered your blog before court, as I find it comforting to know that there is a place for the true victims to talk with others. I am an old woman, ha, and my heart goes out to you and the turmoil that has caused you to start this blog. If that is your photo, the young man holding his hands. I wish for you that the poet within will resurface, not hardened, but enlightened. Your rock garden calls, go tend it. I wish I lived near you, too.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the encouragement, Mary. I’m in court with a judge who’s a decent man and nobody’s fool. I’m hoping to realize a change. This is fully seven years later. That’s why I try to steer people away from the courts, because these conflicts can drag on and on and on.

      And these processes are so easily abused and are the most prejudicial ones out there. You’re right to be concerned, because even these people’s saying they “had to apply for a restraining order” or “had to report you for stalking” or whatever can bias a judge. And they can make these allegations without you or your attorney being there to object. Every action you take to counteract this stuff is always damage control. It’s a killer. To defend yourself, you have to convince the court to revise its impressions and conclusions.

      You’re not the first person who’s written to say her defense was complicated by nepotism, cronyism, or the other person’s having “insider connections,” either. When you write about this stuff, you have to avoid complaining about too many sources of corruption at the same time or you sound like a conspiracy crank! (It isn’t really a conspiracy; it’s just in most people’s interest that things stay the way there are.)

      You don’t, incidentally, sound so old to me! Still, though, do you have some family around who could help you out?

      Reply

  117. ronald

    July 13, 2013

    how come the laws are not strict on women putting tro on men and not have the plaintiff arrested for violation. even pressing charges againts them.

    Reply
    • That’s pretty much the basic beef of this blog and many of its respondents. Here’s some background for you from this blog’s page “What is Restraining Order Abuse?”:

      Restraining orders were conceived decades ago in response to public outcry as a measure to arrest domestic violence, which was largely ignored or discounted at the time. Accordingly, the customary standard for substantiating a complaint brought before the court (namely, proof beyond a reasonable doubt) is suspended in restraining order cases, and plaintiffs are given broad latitude to ensure that those in legitimate need of protection will get it. This also explains restraining orders’ being free or inexpensive to procure.

      This in turn explains the popularity of restraining orders as instruments of avarice, malice, or vendetta. A false allegation of domestic violence, for example, may require no material substantiation and risks a vicious plaintiff nothing yet may cost an innocent defendant everything, including home, property, and access to children and pets—and even, conceivably, freedom and income. Loss of health, reputation, and enjoyment of life goes without saying.

      See also this post: “Knotty, Knotty: False Allegations and Restraining Orders

      Reply

  118. Mary R.

    July 13, 2013

    A success story! I took my neighbor to court over allowing her livestock to run at large on all her immediate neighbors property. In court the judge said she wasn’t guilty and gave her a stern warning to not let it happen again. A month later she and her husband charged me with stalking. I am a 65 year old woman who lives next door to them. I only see them when I am home and have only seen them away from the property twice since they moved in two years ago (library and a store where I worked) In their stalking charge they expressed no evidence of my actually stalking them and claimed I had caused her so much stress by going to the authorities (the da took the earlier case) that they believed I had caused the death of their unborn child (5 month old) – still born. I spoke with an attorney who said even if he came to court with me he could not guarantee I would not still get charge with stalking. I represented myself to a hostile judge and pointed out that this was retaliation to my having taken her to court a month before. I pointed out that I had used the only legal means I had to solve the problem that they had created and that no where her complaint was there any evidence that I had followed, harassed or threatened them. He was still hostile towards me.

    When she tried to show a document to the judge from her dr. he had the bailiff give me the paperwork. I asked her what I was looking at and she said it was from her dr. telling her where to go ONLINE to look up stress and pregnancy. When I pointed out that her dr had not signed it nor was it on her drs letter head, she said dr had her receptionist type it up, even thou the drs name was printed at the bottom. Also pointed out that the computer print out on stress was (at the bottom, we all know) dated two weeks after my neighbor said the miscarriage happened. Final outcomer, the judge said they did not prove their case but it could be revisited. He blamed me for the failure to communicate with my neighbor before taking her to court over her livestock. The livestock situation had started 7 months before and I had spoken with them they just flipped me off, thus I took legal action.

    What I learned. Always ask for a continuance (I didn’t but it worked out), you need the time to think and talk with several attorneys. An attorney would have known to ask for legal documentation on the pregnancy,miscarriage and where/when the burial was. She was never pregnant. Also actual dates and times of the stalking. I am still in fear that they will lie again to the magistrate (their connections) and I will again find myself charge with stalking/harassment. I am looking into what my recourse is, as I now know just what deranged minds my neighbors have.

    Reply
    • I changed your last name to an initial, Mary, just in case.

      Isn’t it horrible how once you get the authorities or courts involved, some petty, stupid, everyday kind of conflict or bone of contention becomes a life-altering experience, enduring source of torment, or undying vendetta? People bicker, scheme, and lie like children (that includes attorneys). I thought the courts were like what you saw on legal dramas: high stakes causes, noble intentions, etc. NO. The courts are riot control.

      I’m glad you felt you got a fair shake. What about putting up a fence? If you lived in Tucson, I’d help you out!

      Reply

  119. stacey

    July 11, 2013

    can a defendant be violating a tpo if he shuts the internet off

    Reply
    • Usually restraining orders restrict contact. This is probably a gray area and hardly seems grounds for having someone jailed unless this person was a stranger to you and having your Internet service shut off was a further act of harassment. If the defendant is a former domestic partner, especially if he was paying for the Internet and is no longer able to use it, having it turned off seems reasonable. Consultation of the specifics of the injunction you obtained may tell you whether this act qualifies as a violation of the court’s order.

      Reply

  120. Anonymous

    July 8, 2013

    My name is Scott and I would like to just write a follow up on my particular case, in the hopes that some poor guy will come here and read this one day as I did back in February, naive about these things and looking for answers. On January 26, 2013 I caught my wife cheating for the second time via text messages (first time was emails 3 months earlier) after a quiet Friday night of unwinding. She had “passed out” after consuming an entire litre of wine (108 pounds) and no dinner with the phone awkwardly in her hands mid-text. When she awoke to see me looking at the texts WW3 broke out and a violent fight over the retrieval of the phone from my hands ensued. This and arguing went on for about an hour, I was physically beaten with everything in the house she could get her hands on before everything settled and she quietly retrieved her phone, made her way into the bathroom, locked it and unknownst to me.. called 911. It didn’t take long for police to arrive, I was sitting calmly and quietly on my couch as they went straight to the locked bathroom door and had her open it for them. They were in there about 5 minutes before coming straight to me, looking like I had been attacked by a pitbull, and made an arrest on me. Before asking what had happened, looking around the house, anything. Of course I was taken straight downtown and arrested and booked on an assault on a family member charge. On the way to the station the arresting officer after hearing my side of the story said to me… “I’m sorry, someone has to go to jail and you weigh 190, she 108 who do you think its going to be?” This was my first taste of what was to come.

    After her being issued a 36 hour mandatory protective order locking me out of my house and all communication with her, her first stop Monday morning was the divorce attorney’s office. I’m almost certain now that a battered women’s group steered her directly to his door where he met her salivating at the thought of what was to come after hearing about her “situation.” On the following day she went before a judge and had a temporary restraining order issued. I had no idea what was going on or what to do as I had no previous criminal record. It was that day that I consulted with my bosses attorney and after hearing what she was about to do, immediately retained him before my arraignment/advisement the following day. There a trial date was set for the restraining order case in two weeks which of course my attorney couldn’t make so he decided that they would hear both the assault and restraining order case on April 1. I was stuck out of my house, scrambling for friends couches to live on with only a duffel bag of clothes she let my brother retrieve from for me, all while trying to maintain my career. This was only the beginning of my nightmare.

    On the day of the trial I felt pretty confident and I was so happy to finally have my day in court to explain that my only mistake in life was marrying a complete cheating sociopath and that they would see it our way and I would be let back into my house (solely in my name) and get my car back (Also solely in my name.) I was sorely mistaken. We proved in court that she was a habitual liar, and a little tidbit that I myself didn’t even know… she was a convicted felon! 11 Fraudulent check charges dating back to 2003. As we caught her in lie after lie on the stand, she herself admitting that she was desperately trying to get the phone back out of my hands (all the while being beaten down supposedly again and again,) none of that seemed to matter, nor the cheating which had caused the entire argument. When it was my turn to take the stand to tell my side.. Finally! I looked around and it was like no one was even listening to a word I said. When it was done the judge looked at me and in a very un-polite way told me that he thought I was undoubtedly guilty of getting jealous and beating my wife. She was then awarded a two year permanent protective order against me! I sat there with my jaw visibly dropping open and tears coming to my eyes. Later my attorney, who I thought truly did his best, said don’t worry J and D courts usually operate this way and we will appeal the decision to the higher circuit court. In the meantime her divorce attorney was outside the door asking “is he ready to settle for what we want yet?”

    I was in a position by this point where I had already been paying for my house and her car for almost two months (she moved her boyfriend in two weeks after this happened) and I was looking at paying for the two of them to live there for 8 more months until the divorce proceedings were finalized! We had a trial the following day set up to determine who got what until it was final and in light of what had just happened to me i decided to settle with an agreement that would let her buy the house and car from me (with no credit whatsoever.) I sat for another 2 months paying the mortgage and car payment I was forced to in order to not ruin my credit awaiting the purchase of those two items. She was awarded alimony in the agreement also as 5 years is the magic year in VA between a short term and long term marriage. with no kids… alimony. Our marriage at the time of the incident was 5 years and 2 months… yeah. I just went back for the appeal which she didn’t bother showing up for since she got everything she wanted anyways. So my verdict was null process on the assault charge and her dropping the restraining order was part of our legal agreement.

    My point is, you have no legal rights when this happens to you. It takes all you have mentally to not go insane and it will change you as a person forever. It takes little or no evidence for this to happen to you. One sociopathic person can and will try and ruin your life and the state will gladly help them do this to you! Just keep your cool and know that eventually it will all be okay. They can’t take away who you are as a person.
    Thanks to this blog and what it does to help people.

    Reply

  121. anonymous

    July 5, 2013

    I just saw this and its very interesting with the time and effort you have put into this blog. Thank you.

    I just have one question. We were together on and off for 10 years and after threatening to kill me I filed an RO.(this wasnt the first time, others physical). The police came to my house and confiscated his weapons and pistol permits.

    Query: I just found out he is now he is living with his family and they have numerous weapons in the home. They are are both in the security field. Is this an violation of the protective order which states no access to weapons?

    I am worried about this as the other night I was walking my dog and came up upon an car like his, with no light on, when we came within 10 feet of it and zoomed away with no lights on.( I didnt even sees it till this happened)

    I cannot be sure it was his car as the lights were not on and I couldnt see the license plate and it was in an dark area, but Im sure it was.

    I greatly appreciatee your answer

    Reply
    • You’d probably have to consult the fine print. For example, I live in Arizona and restraining order forms in my jurisdiction say, “Defendant should not possess firearms or ammunition.” And Arizona courts very rigidly defend gun rights. So does this mean a defendant can be in a household with guns as long as none of them are his property? You’d have to find out about that. If he’s one of the ones you mean is in the “security field,” and his job requires that he possess a gun that your restraining order says he can’t lawfully posess, that would be a violation of the court’s order, sure.

      If you think you’re being followed or watched, keep a log of sightings, point them out to witnesses, and gets some photographic or video evidence if possible.

      Stay safe.

      Reply
  122. they sentenced him 7 years and even hough i begge they made a ro for 10 freaking years. im at a loss

    Reply
    • Cher, the only source of help I could think of I mentioned below. I’m sorry. Obviously I’m not privy to all the details, but if he’s been railroaded, he can appeal the ruling, and you may be able to help with that.

      Reply

  123. smarterthanbefore

    June 16, 2013

    No joke, but in Probate court death easily results — <>
    Add in Probate Abuse. My parent was illegally put into a Guardianship, essentially kidnapped due to an inner ear infection. I filed a Federal District Court Habeas Corpus. The nursing home attempted to get an RO on me for: threatening to kill — (1) Public Guardian, (2) Administrator of nursing home (3) ALL the residents (Why would I want to harm these poor souls?) and (4) MY parent (I’m in FDC to SAVE HER LIFE and get her out of their clutches?). They were idiots to be planting creative ideas!! Idiots is not proper label, Murderes is more accurate. Even the corrupt Judge didn’t grant the RO. Subsequently, they murdered my parent with Black Box Drugs (Neuroleptics aka Psychotropics) to cover up their egregious error by way of “Isolate & Medicate.” To further substantiate this reality review: http://www.anopenlettertocongress.info It makes it dangerous to go to ER or contacting any “protection agency.” Approx. 600,000 annually being illegally guardianized. Seems just as easy as getting an RO, nothing has to be properly adjudicated to verify false accusations. Off you go when APS comes knocking, as you can’t even contact your own attorney, the court appoints it’s own croonies. Read the link, as doing a video (valid for 5 years) is the only precautionary measure one can take. See mid-page 48 “Durable Powers of Attorney and Advance Directives.”

    Reply
    • Everything you’ve shared pretty much points to sickness and corruption in the so-called social services: protective orders, mandated counseling, and elder care. Child protection is also notoriously abused. I’m sorry for all this tumult in your life and for your loss.

      Reply
  124. i have far too much to write. i’m the “victim” who basically while under the influence of prescription drugs (surgery for a compound fracture) a so called friend called the police on my boyfriend and from that point on he has sat in county jail for over a year now awaiting a 8 to 15 year sentence for false and forced statements made by me in a police report. From telling me he could steal my child to he will kill me and they want him off our streets calling him a terrorist and a future serial killer tryed to deport him back to germany you name it they say it..from a slap to now a felony domestic violence child endangerment terrorist threats great bodily injury and attempted murder the list goes on. I have shown up to his court only to be told i am a victim who needs counseling for victims remorse. I never wanted this order and nothing i do or say is listened to or taken seriously. He started to call me and over a year they listened forming a case against him. now with bits and pieces taken from our calls they have the case they wanted so instead of facing a jury trial he settled for 7 years. Now with that behind him and prison to face he again called me to say his goodbyes to me and our baby girl and the district attorney told the judge during his final sentencing hearing. now the judge takes it a a personal insult and the deal is off he now faces more charges (yes he knows he broke the law, hanging by what little self esteem and no friends and a family that has given up) and we are left with our lives ruined and a court that has given us a 3 years more restraint when our daughter now is in early intervention for autism. I never wanted this. For some reason they are making us an example not listening to me needing his support for my baby. I tried calling anyone who will listen and i’m left alone with no one to listen. i even wrote his lawyer and gave him my prescriptions and anything i could. when i called the da office to speak to her boss i was hung up on and suddenly called by victims advacacy someone telling me i need help and my kids are being victims of me….. what and who the hell will help me? I want to scream out to all real abuse victims saying do anyhing BUT NEVER EVER GO TO THE POLICE. THEY WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE MORE THAN YOU COULD EVER IMAGINE. im alone and i cant do anything about this.

    Reply
    • What’s behind this, Cher, is years of conditioning of our judges and authorities and the erection of vast network of interrelated service providers that has as its nucleus “protection of women and children.” Billions of dollars in public funds are devoted (diverted) to these services (see here). The policy becomes “You’re a Victim, Let Us Help You.” If you’re a “victim,” they get money; if you’re not a “victim,” they get nothing. This isn’t to say everyone in this cottage industry is crooked or cynical or venal but that convincing you you’re the victim is in everyone’s interest except that of the one guy who goes to jail or mandated anger management counseling or gets kicked to the curb.

      Obviously your child’s father’s lawyer should be defending him, and it sounds like he isn’t. Have you contacted the German Embassy or a consulate to see what they could do? If you did in fact make the statements you describe, that’s pretty damning evidence, and it’s going to take more than some pain scripts to prove the statements were coerced or delusional. You really need a lawyer who’s getting money from you. It sucks that credibility, loyalty, etc. depend on money, but that’s usually the case.

      Here are the German consulates in the U.S. Which one you would contact depends on where you live.

      What’s clear to me and should be clear to others is that you’re conflicted and in pain, and I’m sorry.

      Reply

  125. smarterthanbefore

    June 10, 2013

    I want you to know the great benefit your list provides. Thank you for the value of your time and effort. I’m waffling on getting the RO for the reasons you mention but the Police and 2 therapists I know insist I get an RO. Maybe they know more than I do … also, he was going to be working close to me. Bumping into someone I know stalked me, etc. is unnerving and would be a set back on my progress. If he’s too scared to come around, that would be a good outcome. Note: Narcissists only love themselves, feel no empathy, otherwise feel only fear and anger. Past and future matters (unrelated to RO), alone could anger him more, thus I would also preemptively protect myself. Better that an RO is in place, whereas there would be no issue that I wasn’t the privoker. I’m so double-minded, but fear the process. I truly am afraid … I’ll let you know the outcome. Thanks for your caring.

    Reply
    • Best wishes, truly. And remember that even if you do get the restraining order, there is some wiggle room to have the matter expunged later. A restraining order isn’t going to protect you, per se. The practical value of one is leverage. You have this thing in place that gives credibility and urgency to future allegations you make. You know best what the truth is and what’s real. Therapists and authorities materially benefit ($) from “advising” people to get restraining orders. Which doesn’t necessarily mean their hearts aren’t in the right place; it probably does mean, though, that their responses are to a degree based on reflex, standard operating procedure, etc. Stay safe.

      Reply

  126. smarterthanbefore

    June 10, 2013

    Would the following possibly be eligible for a RO? (1) Now know that was stalked at beginning of relationship, others will substantiate (2) Acquired an STD predicated on fraud for which a PI/sexual battery case is filed and (2) have Police report for theft of keys. Upon having communicated the above as instructed by experts, now have been threatened, not to mention the emotional distress of having this person making any form of contact. The dilemma — to not file for an RO or to file — both are scary options.

    Reply
    • Hi again. I’m sure you could easily obtain a restraining order. In some jurisdictions, all a woman has to say is, “I’m scared.” The things I would caution you to bear in mind are the same ones I mentioned before: (1) narcissists never play to lose and never reconcile differences (there’s no conscience there to “kick in”); (2) whatever you report to the court, especially on a restraining order form, is public record; and (3) a restraining order is just a piece of paper. What you’ve enumerated/gathered here is overkill for a restraining order, which can be approved just on your alleging that you’re afraid. If you feel you’ve been grievously abused, you might consider a lawsuit. Like I cautioned before, though, these kinds of actions can lead to being indefinitely or permanently connected with someone you may just want to put in your rear view mirror. On the other hand, it’s entirely possibly someone like this, especially if “restraining order” has been voiced, will try to beat you to the punch. Men can get restraining orders against women, too. And narcissists are among the smoothest liars out there.

      Reply

  127. Angelican

    June 2, 2013

    I changed my mind about placing a protective order on my boyfriend. I have a family member who’s a probation officer. Will she be able to see that? Is it on his record? There was a temporary protective order in place for maybe a week before it was non suited (dropped)

    Reply
    • You’d think these things would just vaporize in cases like this, but it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to look and see if there’s any residue. Some people have complained of being denied jobs years later because of vacated restraining orders (ones that were dropped or tossed out on appeal). Civil injunctions are public records, so even if the application remains available, employers can get a hold of it. Best to you both.

      Reply

  128. darcy

    May 30, 2013

    I just spent the last year as the recipient of a false restraining order.

    I am probably in the minority here. I AM THE MOTHER

    Ultimately, after over $50,000, hundreds of hours of research, paperwork, writing, tracking down important papers and the use of a custody evaluator I won both legal and physical custody and the judge determined the restraining order he had taken out on me was for punitive reasons and the renewal of it was denied.

    My ex-husband used every dirty trick in the book. The restraining order (alleging I threatened to shoot him). Physical abuse allegations to our children. Sexual abuse allegations to our children. He attempted to coach our children to say they were afraid of me in the presence of a therapist. Drug abuse allegations. Mental instability allegations. Immanent danger protective orders against me to try to gain sole custody. All were eventually proven false. All were equally disgusting.

    The most disturbing aspect of this was the sexual abuse allegations in which he stated that our children had been exposed to a relatives penis AND I quote “I HAVE CONCERNS ABOUT THE MOTHER AS WELL, AS I CURRENTLY HAVE A FAPA AGAINST HER”. Like the two are somehow connected…

    During this year of the RO he called 911 at least 8 times to report “sightings” and other unfounded violations of the RO. And he did have me arrested and put in jail for driving by his house and yelling that I wanted my property (ironically he still has my property… what he hasn’t sold anyway). He later specifically requested that all charges be dropped and the whole thing be stricken from my record as he was concerned it would affect my job and/or ability to maintain my license to practice, make money and provide him with child support, which was his entire motive for the custody battle. I had been the primary parent/caregiver for our children as well as the breadwinner.

    The false RO caused a lot of emotional harm to both the children, who were taken from their mother and primary parent and prevented from seeing me for weeks at a time. The RO prevented me from being involved in their school and volunteering there. (My ex went as far as to call their teachers personally to remind them that I was to have no contact with our children or the teachers at the school). Financially I am devastated now.

    The judge just signed the divorce paperwork less than 10 days ago. He has 30 days to appeal it. The restraining order was not renewed in late January 2013 during the sentencing phase of the trial by the judge and he said that it had been used for punitive reasons only. I want to sue my ex for damages, both financial, emotional and punitive damages for what he has done. I am in Oregon. Is it too late? Where do I begin?

    Reply
    • God, Darcy. You know, people just can’t grasp what a toll a few crude lies can exact. Tens of thousands to the system (besides the costs to the system from all the legal actions), years off people’s lives, lasting pain and damage to everyone exposed, compound humiliations, enduring distrust toward you and from you toward others. It’s a disgrace.

      Good for you for persevering.

      It shouldn’t be too late to sue, no. For defamation, you usually have to sue within a year. Or within a year of when the last b.s. was slung. Other torts like abuse of process have a two- or three-year statute of limitation. Check out your state’s definitions and statutes of limitation for fraud, defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false light, and abuse of process/malicious prosecution (the last of these are separate but related torts, which your state might recognize one or the other of or both). You can ask your local law librarian for a book of pleadings or book of jury instructions. These would show you what other people in your state have sued for and what the instructions to the jury were. Instructions to the jury spell out to you what the requirements are for substantiating (proving) each tort (a.k.a. “count” a.k.a. “civil crime”) that you allege.

      Obviously if you can still swing it at this stage consultation with an attorney would be a good idea. Unless you just want to sue in small claims for a few grand, you’re going to be suing in Superior Court, and the demands and expectations steepen dramatically.

      Good luck to you and best wishes.

      Reply
      • I contacted one attorney. He said that because I initially fought the restraining order and had a hearing (2 months after it was filed and it was up held, though the restrictions were loosened) that I cannot sue for damages even though most of the abuse occurred within the following year after it was up held in court. Have you heard of this?

        Reply
        • The attorney you spoke to is probably of the opinion that the matter is a res judicata, that is, a (previously) “judged thing.” The doctrine of res judicata is supposed to keep plaintiffs from repeatedly suing someone for the same thing. Your arguments against res judicata or “collateral estoppel” in the restraining order case are that (1) adjudication of restraining orders is sketchy at best, and many of the grounds for your suit may never have been litigated (aired) in the first place or judged; and (2) grounds for a lawsuit that occurred after prior judicial rulings cannot be limited by those judicial rulings. Basically you’re arguing that what you’re complaining about has not been previously heard or judged by the court.

          Many lawyers, Darcy, don’t know anything about the restraining order process. They don’t comprehend that a plaintiff’s allegations are scribbled on a form and approved after a five- or 10-minute interview and that a defendant granted an appeals hearing may be “heard” for all of 15 minutes. That’s a decent coffee break, but it’s not a trial.

          Also, the judge pretty much agreed that your ex-husband abused judicial process to injury you, right?

          Look up “res judicata” and “collateral estoppel” to familiarize yourself with the concepts, and call some other attorneys.

          Reply

  129. Anonymous

    May 29, 2013

    what’s the statute of limitations on filing restraining orders? If I haven’t contacted he/she for over 18months, will he/she still be able to get a RO against me in the future?

    Reply
    • Legitimately, no. The point of a restraining order is to restrain conduct that’s ongoing or that couldn’t be expected to stop without the court’s intervention. That doesn’t mean, though, that a judge is going to notice the dates on old emails or texts or whatever nor does it mean that the other person couldn’t lie to obtain a restraining order.

      Reply

  130. BabyDaddy

    May 28, 2013

    Can an Order of Protection issued for one year prevent me from adopting a baby in the future?

    Reply
    • It’s possible, I suppose. The record of the order is a public one, and presumably background checks on applicants trying to adopt a baby are extremely thorough. The restraining order is a civil instrument, of course, and doesn’t make you a criminal; it’s the implications of it that could sour your attempts to adopt. This is among the reasons these instruments are so evil. They don’t prove anything, but they taint and corrupt everything. A lawyer could help you either with trying to get this peeled back off your public record or maybe with presenting the matter to a screener in a way that ensured it didn’t compromise your chances of getting a child. Best wishes.

      Reply
  131. If I have a restraining order against someone but decided I now want to see them what are the consequences?

    Reply
    • Probably none, Lis, unless you did a switcheroo and used the renewal of relations to have the person jailed. If you’ve changed your mind, it would be a very good idea, especially in consideration of the other person’s interests, to get the restraining order vacated (canceled). Strictly speaking, the other person would be guilty of contempt of court and violating the court’s order in meeting with you and would be subject to arrest and incarceration. You can ask the court to vacate/expunge the order, or you and the defendant could mutually apply for its vacation with the help of a lawyer if the court said no to you.

      I’m in the States, and I see you’re in the U.K., but I’m sure the basic principles are the same. Best wishes to you, Lis.

      Reply

  132. junebug

    May 4, 2013

    My husband and I decided to divorce (we have 2 young children) and he moved out of the family home (owned by his father). After one month he served me at the same time with divorce papers and a TRO (based on his allegation that my 5 year old told him I slapped her upside the head and yelled at her). He did not witness this (and it did not happen), but he obtained the restraining order to get immediate custody of the kids (he said he didn’t want to pay child support) and to get immediate use of the home without me in it. He is telling lies to the court (I’m an alcoholic, I have mental health issues — all untrue). He’s keeping me from seeing my kids (I’ve been allowed supervised visits until our next hearing). He’s a lawyer by the way. I don’t know how to proceed. I have a lawyer, but I feel like they just sit on my case.

    Reply
    • If possible, get a different lawyer. Get a female lawyer. You know, the horrible fact is if you wanted to be as unscrupulous as your ex-husband, you could probably shut him down fast by using the same allegations or worse ones (domestic violence, for example). Or by claiming your “mental issues” are a direct result of his verbally abusing you night and day or of his bizarre sexual demands, etc., etc. This process thrives on sensational lies and hysteria and rewards liars. And lawyers can tear you apart. If you have to face a judge before getting some competent legal help, explain your ex-husband’s a liar/lawyer who’s cheap, venal, and vicious and doesn’t want to pay child support. Use sharp words like fraud and perjury. Speak bluntly, too, just short of using any vulgarities. Call him a monster if you think he is. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied. The meek get eaten alive. Talk to a local women’s shelter and see about getting some good feminist representation. Find someone you can count on who specializes in castration.

      Reply

  133. Katara

    May 1, 2013

    My boyfriend got arrested because the cop said he was drinking while on a protection order, but he wasn’t drinking, and the cops didn’t even give him a b.a. so there is no proof. Can he fight this charge?

    Reply
    • Sorry, Katara, I don’t fully understand. A protection order doesn’t forbid a person from drinking. What exactly is the allegation against him? (And whatever it is, sure, fight it if it’s false.)

      Reply

  134. Mgdgurl

    April 29, 2013

    I advised my so called landlord (monster-in-law) that i was going to personally remove my family out of her Residence, due to her husband being a registered sex offender, an why she’d hid it from us for years, as we have 3 girls, ages 11,7,&4. She got totally offended an got angry. Two days later she stuck an EVICTION NOTICE on door, fine we are gonna leave anyway..Then days later she filed a TRO, which she made false allegations, jus to make things look good on her behalf..
    EVICTION NOTICE removed by date May 6, 2013…TRO removed by date IMMEDIATELY…So Y even file an Eviction, giving days until eviction when jus file a TRO it removes u on the spot with jus the clothes on ur back! SAD WORLD WE LIVE IN (with no ABSOLUTE LAWS).

    Reply

  135. Mgdgurl

    April 29, 2013

    First Landlord gave an EVICTION notice, then she filed a TRO, just to get us out of her residence quicker. An of course made false allegations, which of course made her look right, an we were told by police to leave the residence, may be able to come back in 24 hrs. To get some belongings..So we informed the police, we then went to the home an of course landlord didnt like the idea, even with law enforcement there..She argued to officers about us being there, an gave us 30 minutes to gather belongings for a family of 6. IMPOSSIBLE! Can landlord take our items an remove them even though we don’t have a rental agreement (Family)?

    Reply
    • Someone sent a question to this page about six weeks ago asking whether a restraining order could be used to quickly evict someone. I didn’t respond to it, but I’m sure this happens all the time. You can appeal the restraining order and explain it’s a fraud/abuse of process, introduce evidence of the husband’s criminal record, and actually question the wife about it in the presence of a judge. If you could get the restraining order vacated (canceled), then you could probably get your stuff back. You could also sue in small claims and ask for the return of your belongings and damages (monetary costs, including the cost to replace anything sold off or destroyed, and compensation for stress and suffering) for fraud, false light (misrepresenting you to the court), malicious prosecution, etc.

      Reply
  136. If a person files a restraining order against you and then shows up at your house. Does that void the restraining order?

    Reply
    • You’d think that would be the case, but, no, restraining orders prescribe limitations on their defendants’ actions, not on their plaintiffs’. If you’re harassed or threatened by the plaintiff, there are steps you can take, clearly. But only the court can alter or vacate the restraining order. It’s very possible that the plaintiff could run you down with his/her car, and the restraining order would keep on tickin’.

      At least a few people are brought here with questions like this every day. See above. They’re called by, emailed by, texted by, followed by, or visited by people who’ve applied for restraining orders against them.

      Reply

    • Anonymous

      April 21, 2013

      My attorney explained this very scenario to me. The plaintiff could come to my house and if I were to open my door or even speak to her through the door I would then be in violation of the no contact order.

      Reply

  137. Anonymous

    April 21, 2013

    My wife put a protective order on me and took our daughter. Is she in violation of her order if she contacts me through third party?

    Reply
    • Not really, since you’re the defendant. If the restraining order were against your wife, her contacting you, even indirectly, might qualify as a violation. Because she’s the plaintiff, she can pretty much do what she wants. You’re certainly free to talk to the third party, though. Maybe you could patch things that way. Just be sure you trust the third party and keep some evidence of the exchanges and their nature. Some people who write in are literally dealing with sociopaths who could doctor something innocent into something sinister. For example, you say your wife’s friend contacted you. A sociopath would take this and say you were trying to contact her through her friend. Fliparoo. See what I mean? Just be vigilant to fishiness and don’t get baited into violating the order, because you’d be the one who was taken to jail. Best wishes.

      Reply
  138. My wifes ex husband filed an ex parte TRO. of course they granted that. I hired a lawyer and disputed his nonsense. At our hearing he was denied the restraining order, and was ordered to pay me 500 dollars for lawyer fee’s. I was curious if i could sue this person for the BS lies he made up in court? He was trying to get a restraining order and listed my wifes son on it to keep him from being in our home. to destroy our family, and we have a 1.5 year old of our own as well. he made claims of abuse, harassment etc which there was none. However i do want to whip his ass for pulling this suck head play, i would rather hit him legally.

    Reply
    • Yes, you could sue him for malicious prosecution/abuse of process and for the losses and suffering you sustained. Whether it would be worthwhile will probably depend on how much you’re willing to invest in teaching him a lesson and how much you could hope to recover in damages. I understand your impulse very well. No one who hasn’t been publicly lied about appreciates what a violation it is. Congratulations on your vindication, Jason, and good luck with evening the score.

      Reply
      • I dont want to even the score per say. But want to keep this guy from harassing my family. the restraining order process is broken. and like my lawyer said there needs to be blood on the floor to take away a persons rights. This guy has nonstop been keeping us in court and right after a hearing where the judge stated there would be a custody change he filed for this TRO then 5 days later filed for a contempt on my wife which is a criminal charge.Common sense tells me the courts should be well aware of this kind of manipulation. He should have a price to pay for abusing the court system and what it’s in place for. I am very angry and want this person to have a consequence for these actions.

        Reply
        • There are no consequences for lying, and lying as the guy in your story does doesn’t cost him a thing. He’s rewarded with attention every time. What motive is there for him to stop? You’re right to try to break this person’s predatory will.

          Reply
  139. I came home today and found a nasty note from my (now ex-) girlfriend saying that she’s filed a restraining order against me. Two nights ago she went to jail for throwing candles at me and being so crazy I called the cops. Not to arrest, but intermediate. That doesn’t happen in WA state. She was taken into custody. I work a 9-5 and don’t have time to see if this is valid or blown smoke… Either way she’s lived with me for over a year and lots of her things are here. If she comes over and I’m here, what’s my option? Ask for other people to pick up her things I’d assume? Thanks Todd.

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear about this and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. If you guys live separately, yeah, you could have a friend return her things or just leave them outside. If she’s the one applying for the restraining order, it’s you who has to stay away from her; she can do whatever and go wherever she wants. Definitely appeal the restraining order if it turns out she’s telling you true. Best, Andre.

      Reply
  140. if my boyfriend put a restraining order out on me in september of 2012 and moved in with me later is it still valid

    Reply
    • The court won’t know the situation has changed, Julie. Your boyfriend should apply at the courthouse to have the order vacated (canceled, nullified) to hopefully clear your record and insure there aren’t any legal consequences to your renewing your association in violation of the injunction. Since you’re the defendant, you’re the one at risk of police interference.

      Reply
  141. Hello. My wife obtained a restraining order on me back in December of 2012. According to the order, I am not allowed near her or to contact her unless to discuss the kids. Since then, she has contacted me several times, as well as I her, to discuss our relationship and possible reconcile. This past week, i found out that she was having an affair over the course of six months, and originally obtained the order so I wouldn’t be able to find out. Last Friday I sent her a text message letting her know I knew the truth and she wanted to meet me to talk about things. We met for two hours in a public parking lot and she agreed to reconcile our marriage. A few days past and she sent me an email stating that she had contacted a police detective and said that he would press charges for violating the order, if I do not give her divorce papers. It is going on two weeks now and I wanted to know if I can still be in trouble for seeing her and talking to her?

    Reply
    • How awful for you. I’m really sorry. Obviously there’s some coercion going on here (blackmail). So much to do with these orders is about arm-twisting to achieve ends they weren’t meant to serve. To tweeze out who’s in violation of what, I’d strongly recommend that you engage the services of an attorney if at all within your means (or at least consult with one on the phone if money is tight). Save all communications that can be documented for your defense, come what may. If the order was for a year, and that year has passed, it’s uncertain to me whether you would still be vulnerable to prosecution for violating the order. Though meetings during the term of the restraining order were consensual, which I think you could credibly establish, they were still, strictly speaking, in violation of it prohibitions. Look out for yourself, J.

      Reply
  142. Ive had a restraining order placed on me by my boyfriends mom. He was angry she did so and against it in every way possible. If i started a petition and got enough signatures (because everyone is on my side except her) can I have it repealed if I present it in court? I really care about this young man and he feels as I do. We don’t want this to stay any longer than it has to.

    Reply
    • Sorry, Niki, to hear about this. What were the grounds? Is the boyfriend a minor and you’re not? Petitions can work an effect on corporate and government administrators and legislators but not so much on judges. Similar to but more persuasive than gathering signatures on a petition would be taking statements (gathering affidavits) from others to present to a judge in support of an appeal to dismiss/quash the order. Appeal this order, of course, if you’re still able. A judge probably will care less about who’s on your side than whether the mom’s allegations are true and accurate and whether these in fact justify a restraining order.

      Reply

      • Anonymous

        March 31, 2013

        Yes. He’s a minor. And I JUST Turned 18. Does that make a difference?

        Reply
        • If you weren’t a legal adult, the order probably wouldn’t be valid; same goes if your boyfriend were an adult. If you were a minor when the restraining order was served, you probably have grounds to argue that it’s void because improperly issued.

          If you can still request an appeal, do so immediately. First thing tomorrow, call the courthouse. Then if at all possible, retain an attorney to defend you. It’s a disgrace on the “justice” system that someone can force this expense upon you, but it’s your best shot of getting clear of this through legal channels.

          Alternatively—especially if spending thousands on an attorney would be a terrible strain on you and/or your family—there’s no reason why your dad couldn’t call your boyfriend’s dad or meet with him and try to resolve this matter between the families.

          Meanwhile make sure you observe the restrictions on the court’s order to the letter.

          Oftentimes (maybe most of the time) people who seek restraining orders from the court never consider the consequences to others. All they see is red or green. They lash out in anger or jealousy.

          Reply

          • Anonymous

            April 2, 2013

            Well I was 18 when it was served. But not by much. His mother filed the petition for protection against sexual violence. But we didn’t engage in any activity after my birthday. (we both know it’s illegal) but she went through his phone and use some texts we’d sent each other as evidence. It was humiliating to be downgraded like that. Isn’t invasion of privacy against the law? So not only can I not see him but ultimately I can be arrested for acts I didn’t commit. All because she’s angry she can’t control her child. She had to blame me.

            Reply
            • Because your boyfriend’s a minor, he probably has no entitlement to privacy from his mom (who may pay for the phone, besides). It sucks not to have control over your life and decisions. How awful for you. And to have to kick off your adulthood with something like this taped to your back. There’s a decent chance that these allegations are on the restraining order application, which means they’re accessible by the public (attached to your name). It sounds like this is all about mom’s anger/jealousy and probably has very little to do with you.

              As I said, you really need to get an attorney if possible. Otherwise this kind of thing can cling to you forever (to your record and to your mind). You need to be thinking about college and fresh opportunities. This kind of thing has a way of miring you in the past. Not to mention corrupting your present relationship—which was probably the point.

              This is called “malicious prosecution,” that is, mom isn’t afraid of you or afraid of what you’ll do to her son (other than “lead him astray,” maybe); she’s angry and hurt. When someone does something like this, the natural reaction is to run and hide. You’re going to have to face what she’s alleged and deflate it. Clearly whatever sexual relationship there was in the past was a consensual one. Since your boyfriend is unavailable for you to talk to and/or obtain testimony from, you may have to subpoena him to testify. I presume from what you’ve told me that he is the “plaintiff,” but mom petitioned the restraining order on his behalf as his guardian. It’s likely that his presence would be required at an appeals hearing, but you need to make sure this is the case, because it’s his testimony that’s going to square this. I can’t even imagine what would lead a person to trash an 18-year-old girl’s record with allegations as ugly as “sexual violence.” Is there a religious component to this?

              Do whatever it takes to see that you get legal representation, and find an attorney you feel comfortable with. Consider a female attorney since a lot of what we’re talking about here is estrogen-fueled (men hit people; women lead people to hit others or themselves, that is, women know how to use barbed innuendo to inflict maximal damage without ever having to lift a finger).

              The facts that the relationship was consensual (albeit furtive, as teen relationships have to be) and that you are even now barely an adult should serve your case. Strike now, though, because everything in law is about acting promptly. If you let this stand, it’s likely to stick to you indefinitely. You can always sue this woman later, but from what it sounds like, you want to salvage your relationship with her son, so you probably don’t want to ruin his family. You need to resolve this and hopefully mend bridges.

              Reply
              • Can they keep me from going to my church?

                Reply
                • They could probably complain if you were at the church at the same time they were. If I were you, I would explain the situation to church authorities/administration. It may be you and they could agree (through the church) to attend services on different days or times. The church might even be an avenue to resolve this matter now or in the future. Just be sure to observe the court’s order to the letter. Do not contact these people yourself by any means at all.

                  There’s certainly no reason you couldn’t tell the court (and any police officer involved in the matter) that you attend the same church as the plaintiff. I doubt a judge will keep you from attending services.

                  Reply

  143. Anonymous

    March 29, 2013

    I have a restraining order placed on me. Does this me that I can’t hunt? Do all restraining orders require you to give up firearms or does the judge have to specifically authorize that?

    Reply
    • I’m a vegetarian, so I’m tempted to mislead you, but probably the order of the court would specifically prohibit you from possessing firearms if this were among its restrictions. In my state of Arizona, for example, gun rights are sacrosanct. People here walk around with guns on their hips and in their purses. You can even wear/carry your gun into a bar. To be forbidden possession of firearms by the court here, someone has to allege you explicitly threatened to shoot him or her (in which case a restraining order reads something like “order the defendant NOT to possess firearms or ammunition”).

      Reply

  144. Anonymous

    March 24, 2013

    Don’t know how well my situation is being followed, I’m not that familiar with blogs.

    As I had mentioned before, I had made an attempt to file an order of protection against the scorned sociopath woman who put one on me. I was told I could not, yet nobody was able to tell me the statute on this or tell me what the law says except “you cannot put an order of protection on anyone who has one on you.”
    I did however file a Motion to Dismiss (vacate).

    One day last week I was going to visit my Mother for lunch, one of the few places I will go, she lives downtown. While on the way to visit her I decided to first make another attempt to file this order of protection, the court building is very close to where my Mother lives. I went to the major court house and was ultimately told by a clerk (as well as lawyer who had overheard me) to file a restraining order I had to go to another “building” specifically for this. This new court house building is about 3 years old. I took a taxi to the new building, made it into the area to file, gave my info, signed in and waited. 90% were woman and most “looked” like trouble. There were no secretes here, questions and answers were in the open for everyone to hear. There were some very legitimate people although I could see a lot of these people where simply looking for trouble. Not one was turned away.

    They should get a revolving door put on soon.

    There were about 20 forms to fill out, I was handed samples’ of how to fill it out with arrows, underlines and checkmarks where everything goes. However I had already filled mine out in advance, online PDF. I handed the paperwork in and gone over with me before the helper entered it into the computer. A short while later a woman called my name, she asked me if had a case with this woman, I said yes, she said she sees me in the computer for a motion to vacate, she says “vacate what” I said restraining order, she says, “you cannot put an order of protection on a person who has one on you”. I said , I have not been out of my house in a year, I am the one who needs this, this woman is a scorned sociopath and she is looking to get me in trouble. She said, a judge usually won’t hear a case like this. I said “the constitution says we have equal protection if the law.” She said let me see what I can do. Short while later another woman calls me and says the judge will see you at 2. I sat around and phoned my Mother saying lunch was off. 2:00 rolls around, I head to the courtroom and see the youngest female judge I ever seen (my 4th “female” judge). I thought to myself, she looks like a nice woman, I think she will be unbiased.

    I honestly think people become possessed by daemons when they put that black robe on. Most of them anyway.

    While I waited to be called I did see a couple cases that were legit orders. I also seen some “are you serious” orders. One woman just wanted her ex boyfriend to stop calling her and bugging her. I thought, no way is she getting one. The judge asked her “are you afraid he will hurt you” she says “no”, judge says I cannot issue one if you have no fear of him? she says “I don’t think he will hurt me, I don’t want him to bug me” as she was stubbing over what else to say. The judge again leaned in, stuck her head forward and says, “I am going to ask you one more time, do you fear him?” She says “yes”. Bingo! you just won a restraining order, congrats!

    Now I was called.

    The judge had thought my order was up in a couple weeks although it was the motion to dismiss. She said “I cannot give an order of protection to anyone who has one on them from the other party.” I said “what about the US constitution and the IL constitution that state equal protection of the law?” She was cocky and said “oh really, where exactly does it say that”? ** I went into my carrier that has a stack of paperwork for this case, I pull out the full constitution and say “ARTICLE I; SECTION 2 “nor be denied the equal protection of the laws” I heard gasps in the back of the court room. She says “well, it is law I cannot give you one.” By the way this was the fastest talker I ever encountered in my life, adderall added I’m guessing. I grabbed my pen and said “I have looked all over for such laws and cannot find it, can you give me that statute? She grabbed a book and said it is on the IL restraining law book on page (I missed the page #) statute 75060/215. I tried to find this book or that statute and had no luck, I must have written it down wrong, or she made it up because she found it as fast as I could get pen to paper.

    The good news is she made the RO “pending” and it will be heard the same day as the motion. Her final words were “You made all the proper steps so far.” Like a game eh.
    If that book does exists (I’m sure it does), I’d love to buy a copy!

    IF I do not have a dismissal I may have to file for “conflict of interest” The first judges uncle and my lawyers father were sorta friends, I have a picture of them shaking hands. My lawyer never gave me a clue he knew the first judge – who signed off on the order.
    And it will not stop at that.

    ** Our stupidity of the law is why majority end up in messes like this and worse. It is up to us to know the laws and ignorance of the laws is no excuse. They use legalese tricky of words that confuse anyone. Just knowing the correct words can end things immediately, so do we all become lawyers to live in this new age of new laws It’s a business, not Justice (just for us). Judges, cops, and lawyers know this. By the way, Police do not protect, they arrive to the scene of trouble.

    Reply
    • You may be my hero. Seriously, good for you. The judge wasn’t quoting a rulebook, per se. Here’s the statute she was referring to (along with the exceptions that would authorize you to apply for a restraining order, too):

      (750 ILCS 60/215) (from Ch. 40, par. 2312-15)
      Sec. 215. Mutual orders of protection; correlative separate orders. Mutual orders of protection are prohibited. Correlative separate orders of protection undermine the purposes of this Act and are prohibited unless both parties have properly filed written pleadings, proved past abuse by the other party, given prior written notice to the other party unless excused under Section 217, satisfied all prerequisites for the type of order and each remedy granted, and otherwise complied with this Act. In these cases, the court shall hear relevant evidence, make findings, and issue separate orders in accordance with Sections 214 and 221. The fact that correlative separate orders are issued shall not be a sufficient basis to deny any remedy to petitioner or to prove that the parties are equally at fault or equally endangered.
      (Source: P.A. 87-1186.)

      All related statutes are here. They derive from the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, the title of which and date of which should tell you a lot.

      I’m with you that’s it’s important that citizens know their rights under the law. However, people can’t be expected to be walking encyclopedias of legal quotidia. We elect and pay representatives (lawmakers, that is) to look out for us and our interests. And we pay judges to interpret and apply laws fairly. That’s all judges are there for. Nothing else. And they’re paid well.

      All of your states’ statutes are here, FYI. Laws pertaining to restraining orders are under the subhead “Rights and Remedies: Families.”

      Once again, very good luck in this. I just got justice = just us: nice one.

      Reply

  145. Not Afraid of this POS

    March 22, 2013

    Well…update time! Judge dismissed my ex’s application for protective order even after I totally broke decorum in a Texas court. My socio ex was crying giant tears about how he feared for my son’s life. I snapped and my exact words were, “Your Honor, these are the exact tears he cried when he was beating the crap out of me in 2003.” That elicited an excited response from the judge but I won nevertheless. And my ex had to take my son out of school early so I could see him before my flight. Of course my ex couldn’t totally lose so he had one of his famous flat tires in traffic with a dead phone and I missed my flight. Now I’m on standby at the airport but it was totally worth it.

    Reply
    • Congrats and good for you. I wonder how many people end up eating crap, because they were too polite to use the word in court. Best.

      Reply
  146. Hi Todd! Thanks for the information. I do have a question though..8 years ago, when I was married, my ex’s mother became crazy (literally) when my son was born. Everytime she saw my son, children services were called to investigate abuse. We were always cleared but we knew it was her. My ex and I cut her off for the most part, only visiting her once in 2 years. The last time we were at her house, we went home and not even 1 hour later police were at my door saying they received a complaint that my son had hand prints on his back, he was malnourished and scared of us. They made me get my son up out of bed so they could basically strip search him. Again, we were cleared. My ex didn’t want me to press charges and promised she was out of the picture. After that she didn’t see us or my son for years. Well, my ex and I divorced and out of nowhere (without my permission) he allowed her to see our son again. Coincidentally the night before I had my boys at the skating rink and they both had a few bruises on their legs and arms from falling every 2 seconds. (They are 8 and 9) Anyways, not even 3 days later Children Services were at my house AGAIN! This time though, she somehow convinced my ex that I was hurting my son. During the CPS investigation, my ex filed for a ex parte custody order and gained temporary custody of my son. Shortly after CPS finished their investigation and their conclusion was I was not abusing my son and he was safe, happy and healthy. Through the courts I gained custody back but I am honestly worried that everytime my ex mother in-law sees my son this will happen. Would I be able to get a restraining order against her so this doesn’t continue to happen? I should note that in the past, she as threatened to take my son and run off, promising to give him a better life. So I have a few concerns that I think are pretty legit, but I don’t want to waste time and money if they are not “restraining order worthy”

    Reply
    • The system horrifies and disgusts me, obviously—for exactly the things you’re complaining of: anyone can dial in some terrible allegation and the whole mechanism rouses to action. Reports are typed up, agents are dispensed to investigate, hearings are scheduled, and your life is capsized. Literally based on malicious bullsh*t. Then, if you manage to scrape this off, the same farce can be stirred up the next day or two weeks later or two months. New caseworker, new agents, new reports. And on and on. And even if you’re cleared, you can count on someone in the bureaucracy saying years later: “We see that you were reported multiple times for allegedly beating your children. You can count yourself very lucky they weren’t taken from you.” And then if you do what you should do—slap the impertinent robot—you’re thrown in prison!

      So I hate the system.

      On the other hand, there’s such a thing as fighting fire with fire. Absolutely go see a judge about this woman. Bring all the reports and tell him exactly what you’ve said here. Say you’ve tried to leave this person alone, but you can never be sure when she’s going to attack you again; and though you’re reluctant to take this step, she has a fantasy about making your sons her own, and she won’t stop.

      Fraudulent abuse of these systems to gain custody of children isn’t a new idea. A family attorney (who deals with these abuses daily—and possibly practices them, too) might have some other options for you but in terms of best bang for your investment, a restraining order can’t be beat. Also, it’s a wonder this woman hasn’t applied for a restraining order against you using allegations similar to the ones she’s made to CPS; so your beating her to it may short-circuit what could be another bureaucratic weapon for her to attack you with down the road.

      Good luck, Leah, and best wishes.

      Reply
      • Thankyou for your response. I am going to start the necessary steps this week, and hope that I can do something to stop all of this! The system has indeed failed me in this case many times and I can’t take this happening again. Neither can my son. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for them to gain custody, with no real proof. Again, I appreciate your response, and the little push it gave me :)

        Reply
        • You’re welcome, and I hope it works out. Keep in mind, Leah, that a lot what “qualifies” an ex parte order is impression. Think beforehand about things like: should my children come along and talk to the judge with me? If your sons are creeped out by your former mother-in-law, their testimony or presence may be of value. Establish there’s a history of her maliciously abusing the system to hurt and humiliate you, but emphasize that this has escalated and express any and all concerns you have related to your children’s wellness and safety today, right now. If, for example, you think your ex-husband and his mom are trying to turn your children against you, that might be worth mentioning. Especially worth bringing up are any psychological consequences: anybody having bad dreams, showing signs of anxiety, withdrawal, apprehension, etc.?

          You might want to get together with the boys over some ice cream or French fries and find out what they’ve been told and how they’re feeling, etc. Kids have strong feelings but don’t always put them in words or try to psychoanalyze themselves.

          Reply

  147. Anonymous

    March 15, 2013

    Hey Todd, Your blog is excellent!! I share custody of an amazing three year old boy with a woman whom I believe to be a sociopath. On sept. 6th of 2008 I was mourning the murder of a good friend with far too many alcoholic beverages at a local pub. This is also the first time I met his mother, as well as the date of our sons conception. I was too drunk to drive home so I was her damsel in distress:) Four months later she informed me she was pregnant and that there was a slight chance our child was mine as she was seeing someone at the time we slept together. I helped her with money and many kind words while she was pregnant because she told me that her boyfriend, after finding out she was pregnant, wanted nothing to do with her. Of course this was not true, he had no clue I existed and thought that he was going to be a father. Shortly before our son was born I started to obtain an awareness towards her emotional immaturity and volatile temper. For our sons sake I treated her with kid gloves and literally let her bully and manipulate me. When he was a year old she got mad at me during an exchange and shoved our son into my chest hard enough for me to have to take a step back and catch my balance. I am six fout four inches tall and I weigh 240 pounds. I told her,” she had better never handle our son like that again”. Of course I recieved a phone call from a Sherriffs deputy who started the conversation by calling me a fucking stalker, he then told me that I had ripped our son out of her arms and then threatened her and that she had a witness to this. No charges were filed because there was no witness. I believe he was just trying to intimidate me into incriminating myself which was impossible because my account of things was the truth. This was in May of 2010. Ten months ago our sons hand brushed against a hot pan in the kitchen and he had a blistered burn on his knuckle about the size of half of a pea. This burn initiated the most ridiculous sequence of events I have ever been involved in. She took him to the doctors, spoke to child welfare, and told them I had burned our son intentionally and tried to go that route to seperate our son and I. This didn’t work. Five days later I was served with a completely false ex parte restraining order. I have never even so much as cursed at this woman! I immediately requested a hearing and luckily my parents were kind enough to borrow me the money to obtain an attorney. My attorney contacted her to find out how she proposed to exchange our son, I had him, she then lied to my attorney stating that she had representation which then made it somewhat immoral in” lawyer world” for my attorney to negotiate the terms of our parenting time exchanges with her. My attorney simply told her to have her attorney cantact us. Days went by with no contact from an attorney. She then took out a completely false order for protection obo our son and he was taken from me by the Sheriff deputy. She then got involved with a shelter for abused women and children and was kind enough to sign me up for supervised visits and psychological evaluations at my expense. They’re hourly rates are comparable with an attorney’s! My son comes running into my arms whenever he sees me coming and hides and cries when he sees her. My faith in everything except god at this point was gone. I couldn’t fathom how this was even possible in America. I didn’t eat for a month, could only sleep with the help of far too many sleeping pills, lost twenty pounds, damn near wore a hole right through the floor pacing, and spent alot of time on my knees praying! The anxiety that goes along this form of abuse is far worse than anyone realizes unless it has happened to them!!! And certain parts of the system acts as an advocate for it!!! When our day in court came we made that B#%^$ look like the lying sociopath that she is:) Within an hour after court the ellation of victory subsided and the realization set in that everything I had to endure was going to go unpunished and everything was supposed to just go back to normal? My story has a much better ending than so many others, I thank god for that and pray for those whose endings didn’t turn out like mine. I have been fascinated by this restraining order process ever since. What you do is a god send for so many people out there in the midst of the worst time in they’re lives!!! All a person has is questions when this is happening to them. Even if a person has an attorney, to ask them all the questions one has would cost a damn fortune. I apologize for the time you’ve spent reading this, I do have a question for you. What can a person like me do to raise public awareness for this form of abuse? Don’t say “zippo”:)

    Reply
    • I’m so relieved to hear you were able to get free of this noose. Is your son with you now? This woman’s conduct certainly corresponds with sociopathy.

      Dominance, self-preoccupation, manipulation, deviousness, hypercriticism, sexual confidence/forwardness and an impulse to vengeful cruelty are all character traits of narcissists, as is the willingness to lie (and brutally). When they feel stressed, scorned, or jilted, narcissists are capable of unleashing hell to defend their egos. And when they enlist the courts and police to do their bidding, they’re usually very successful, because they’re cunning liars, and judges and police have been trained (literally instructed) to come down hard on men they perceive as abusive to women (which perception is based solely on these women’s allegations).

      The restraining order process, which is as slack and pandering a judicial procedure as could possibly be conceived, is ripe for abuse by any liar but an especially potent source of havoc for a sociopath, particularly a female sociopath for the reasons I’ve just mentioned.

      You’re lucky you weren’t driven to suicide—and you know I’m not exaggerating—and I hope for your son’s sake that you can gain custody if you don’t have it already. Do you even know if he’s your blood? A lawyer could probably request a DNA test, but as I say, I hope for the boy’s sake that you’ll endeavor to get him free of this woman, too. A hell of a burden to bear for one night’s indiscretion, I know.

      A blog I loosely follow called The Narcissist in Your Life is pretty much all about the damage that sociopaths do to their kids and spouses.

      My suspicion is that this happens a lot, and that most people are just overwhelmed by it. I’d guess since I started this blog that about 50 to 60 people have been led to it who knew they were dealing with “narcissistic sociopaths” or “sociopaths.” Since people like this are statistically as many as one in 100, it’s anyone’s guess how many victims out there never learn to put a name to the psychopathy that’s turned their lives upside down.

      I won’t tell you there’s nothing you can do to raise public awareness of abuses/abusers like this, though “zippo” is about right! :)

      Opposition to criticism of any process that’s popularly perceived as aiding women is pretty unyielding. You can, of course, write to legislators, the governor, the president, the head of the National Organization of Women, the ACLU, or at least your county prosecutor; start a petition or sign some; construct a Facebook page; publish a blog, etc. Chances are, though, that you’ll exhaust yourself for very little reward. No one wants to be the first to step up and call the restraining order process what it is: a golden ticket for any turd with a malicious impulse. For your sanity’s sake, I’d say talk about it in any medium that stands to at least register that this kind of thing happens but don’t get so obsessive about it that it takes over your life. You can crusade yourself right into the dirt. And it sounds like you’re due for some R&R.

      Definitely do see that your record is sponged clean of this woman’s excremental spew. Also, you might considering suing her. This is the worst possible enemy to have, because a person like this is completely devoid of scruple. You may just want to count yourself fortunate to be able to put your back to the whole affair and forge on.

      Good luck and god bless. And don’t hesitate to write again. I know it can be a load off just to voice things that have been constant sources of humiliation and anxiety.

      Reply

      • Anonymous

        March 16, 2013

        Thanks for the reply! To answer your questions. Yes there was a blood test. I do have our son 50% of the time but since custody was established she has moved far enough away so that we will have to go back to court to find out where our son is to live while he attends school. In essence what she did could very well help me gain custody of him

        When I found your blog I just started reading your Q and A and didn’t read anything about you and your situation, although it did dawn on me quickly that you must have been through something similar to me. When I got to the bottom I wrote you about my experience. I have since read your posts and the parallels with my son’s mother are incredibly similar. Fortunately for me she is nowhere near as intelligent. I always knew there was something wrong with my sons mother but never thought to look into any kind of disorder. It wasn’t until I was in the midst of her outrageous actions that I was able to put a name to it. I was watching a court case on TV and the defendant was a woman and they described her as a sociopath and went down the reasons why. I googled sociopaths and read the ten most common characteristics of a sociopath. My sons mother fit every single one of them!:( When I use the term to describe her, I can tell by the look in peoples eyes, whomever I am speaking to thinks I am exaggerating. People automatically assume sociopaths are horrendous criminals. I also realized that my sons mother fits the characteristics you listed of a narcissist. It is very scary to have to share custody with someone like this but until he is of school age I really don’t have enough to try and change custody. To walk into court and say she is a narcissist and a sociopath would probably not go very well for someone with no background in psychiatry? I am working on an outline of sorts for the custody study where I think I can open with saying that she exhibits narcissistic and sociopathic behaviors. Place the characteristics of both in the hands of the mediator and then start from the very beginning of our, (I hate to use the word but for the lack of a better one), “relationship” and hope that by the end of it all the truth will convince them that it is imperative that I be our sons primary caregiver and that I am not exaggerating. Just to give a brief list of things in her life that I can use to prove this. She has moved 8 times in the four and a half years that I have known her,(although now she is in subsidized housing so I doubt she’ll have to move again), had 8 different jobs that I know of, 6 boyfriends, countless lies, 2 accusations of theft that I know of, a false restraining order and order for protection, 5 false police reports, and so on. Don’t get me wrong I am no angel. I have 2 DUIs. Which have been brought up countless times by her!!! I quit drinking almost 4 years ago though.

        Do you have any advice about how to go about trying to explain her behaviors as narcissistic and sociopathic without running the risk of sounding over the top and stupid for thinking that I can make that conclusion??

        As far as suing her goes, how do you get blood from a turnip?:) I did ask my attorney that at the conclusion of court and she said not to bother. I thoroughly agree with you that challenging the restraining order system isn’t the answer because of all the fricken deusch bag men in the world that are too weak to control their tempers. The solution is deffinitely changing the lack of punishment towards the people who abuse the process!! Sorry I’m preaching to the choir.

        I’m sorry this happened to you as well!! I like your style in not just laying down and taking it. I agree wholeheartedly, this is something that affects us negatively every day of our lives. The anxiety is still very high for me. I have a constant fear that she might actually get someone in these social service agencies to believe one of her lies and this will start all over again and our son will be the one to pay the ultimate price. I also worry about what lengths she is willing to take with our son to exact her revenge on me for taking half of what she considers her property,(our son) I know she is still plotting and scheming! In essence that is what is at the core of all of this. That and her mental illnesses.
        Let me know about your childrens literature. I’m sorry this affected your career so horribly, god has a funny way of using us to do his work, the good you do in giving this advice is definitely his plan. I was a bit embarrassed after I had wrote to you and I spoke a bit about praying and mentioned god. I thought maybe you would take offense to it. There was a time in my life not long ago that I didn’t believe in god. He changed my mind:) God bless you too!

        Reply
        • Sorry, this will be brief, because I don’t have an Internet connection at home, and I’m outdoors right now and getting cold! Thanks for your understanding. It means a lot. I grew up with Southern Baptists. Evangelical Southern Protestants are a special kind of religious. “Righteousness” is mostly about not getting caught with your hands in the cookie jar, and they’ll bend every moral there is to guarantee that no one notices the crumbs on their shirts.

          You’re right to worry that you’ll be shot down if you make clinical observations about your son’s mom’s mental illness. To do this effectively, you’d have to get a psychologist to testify for you after first interviewing mom, and that’s way beyond consideration. A rule of fiction writing is “show don’t tell.” Instead of saying she’s a sociopath, enumerate all the behaviors you do in your comment. At the end of this inventory, if you introduced a clinical definition of psychopathy (like the Hare Psychopathy Checklist), something on paper that you could provide to whomever’s presiding over the hearing, that might fly. Don’t hesitate to admit that you’re not a psychiatrist but that your ex-girlfriend’s behavior causes you to worry about the effect she’ll have on your son. (You’re right: everyone equates “psychopath” or “sociopath” with “serial killer.” Wrongly.)

          Thanks, too, for your interest in my writing. I’ve been away from it for so long.

          Reply

      • Anonymous

        March 16, 2013

        I’m sorry, my name is Aaron Ethen.

        Reply
      • I just did some reading on Linda Martinez’s blog. Thank you so much for the link! This information is going to help me help my son so much! I thought I had to just put all of this behind me and forge on like you said. Then for some reason I felt compelled to do some more reading about false restraining orders the other night when I found your blog. I am amazed at how in the dark I have kept myself about these disorders when they are such a prevolent factor in what has taken place over the last 4 years! Thank you!!!!!

        Reply
        • You’re very welcome, Aaron. I hope you guys get yourself clear of this and that you’re able to hang onto junior there. He looks like somebody to fight for. Best wishes to you both.

          Reply

  148. Not Afraid of this POS

    March 13, 2013

    Hi, Todd. I have a question. I just got served with a TRO by my ex-husband who has my son and is apparently unable to follow our possession order in Collin County, Texas. I live out of state and his childless girlfriend is attempting to insert herself as my sons mother. Anyway, since my ex has a repeated history of not following our possession order and I informed him I would take him to court, he decided his only course to avoid losing was to file a restraining order. It is full of lies and relies mainly on the actions of an incarcerated family member, not even me. He even said he didn’t know where I lived yet had me served at my home address that he has been to. He, in fact, abuse me in the past, but he is a skilled liar and I was naive at the time of our divorce. I am not afraid of representing myself, but I was wondering if you know where I could find forms to use in filing my response. I also intend to file a Motion to Vacate/Dismss and a Motion to Expunge.

    Reply
    • This search term brought someone to the blog the other day: “my husbands girlfriend filed a restraining order against me so they can try to take my baby away what can i do.” These are the games of restraining orders. This process varies a little from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. If you look on the restraining order, it should explain either how to file for an appeals hearing or when you have one (sometimes these are automatically assigned). I’m not sure whom you would file your motions with prior to an appeals hearing, because the restraining order itself is a judgment/verdict. The judge who approved it is off the case, and you have to appeal to another guy. It’s possible that you have been or will be assigned to a specific judge. Then, as far as I know, you can file these motions right away. It’s also possible that what judge you’ll get will be random, that is, whatever judge is on the bench at the time you’re slated to wade into the courtroom. To file these motions, you’ll need a judge’s name.

      To get some sample text to work with, do a search engine query using the names of the motions. Formatting the motions is really just a matter of captioning them right (any legal motion will show you how this works). Definitely double-space. A judge might send your motion back to you otherwise. But as far as sounding like an attorney, don’t worry too much about that.

      This is worth a shot, too: you might be able to make these motions at the courthouse by getting some kind of boilerplate application from the clerk and writing in what you’re requesting. Obviously the more lawyerly you sound, the more merit the judge is going to perceive in your request. If you know a lawyer (or legal assistant or aide), run this problem and your questions past him/her. Call around. Somebody’s bound to have a cousin or nephew or whatever who’s a lawyer who might agree just to rap with you over lunch or for a few minutes on the phone.

      Good luck to you, and take this very, very seriously, because it’s so easy for someone to get f*d by the court, and this can have a very enduring effect on your quality of life (sanity, health, productivity, etc., etc., etc.).

      Reply

      • Not Afraid of this POS

        March 13, 2013

        Thanks. I have been researching all day and since all I have is a TPO and the actual hearing for the PO is upcoming, I do not yet need to file a Motion to Vacate, but I may file the Motion to Expunge as I do not want even an attempt to get a PO against me on my clean record. I do have a case number and an assigned judge, it is always the same judge in this court, so that is a plus. As far as forms, I was unable to get in contact with their law librarian today who in the past has been extremely helpful, so for now, I am “winging” it in my response as the county cannot discriminate formatting when it comes to POs. It’s hard to really believe that he will get the PO since the evidence he provides pretty much shows that I am a victim of DV, not the other way around. Basically, he needs protection because I am the victim of DV in the eyes of my state. I am brushing up on legal terms and preparing my argument in both evidentiary and non-evidtiary form. Thanks for the wishes of luck. Your blog has been of immense help already. I will keep posted.

        Reply
        • I’m really glad, especially if it actually helps! You should be able to find examples of motions (or complaints, that is, lawsuits) online. Actual motions and complaints that have been filed in the past. These are good templates. You can look for info on sites like this one, too:

          How to Write a Motion to Dismiss

          Reply

          • Not Afraid of this POS

            March 14, 2013

            Another question…since this case spans two states, what is the likelihood that I can sue in my state and force said POS to defend himself here?

            Reply

            • Annette

              March 14, 2013

              Hi I just want you to know your blog is great and it really helps people including myself!! Annette Hemberger

              Sent from my iPhone

              Reply
            • Venue and jurisdiction are tricky. Figuring them out can be a pain even for attorneys. Usually where a matter is tried is where it occurred. If the plaintiff filed from another state, you could have some research ahead of you to determine what court (venue) to file in.

              Reply

  149. Anonymous

    March 13, 2013

    I went to file a restraining order against that woman and was told I cannot because she has one on me. I explained my situation and he said I simply cannot. I said what is the statute that states this? Where is it written? He didn’t know. I said within the US Bill of rights and the state of Illinois bill it states “equal protection of the law” He said, ok, go to room blah blah and ask for a woman named blah blah. Again, I went through the same thing with her. I looked her in the eyes and said “I am the one needing protection, I have not been out of my house in a year because of this” She told me to file a motion to vacate. She said she rarely sees these tossed out though. She said to make copies of all the text etc. I explained that the judge wouldn’t look at them when we had the hearing. She shrugged and said “I know”

    The clerk (who knows me well now) told me it would be a $60 but if I motion to dismiss it is no charge. When she was stamping the paper work she said “these things ruin so many lives, over what? a fight or someone mad” she said it’s the most ridicules thing she sees.

    Anyway, I have this shot that I feel better about.

    As I said to my wife (who has stuck by my side this entire time), Nobody can show me this law that says one cannot put an RO on another who has already done so. Maybe there is a law about this, I can’t find it, I’d love to see it though.

    Reply
    • These orders and the way you’re treated and made to feel when you’re the recipient of one make it such a relief just to be able to fight back, right? Resistance in this process is like kicking a wall. A really tall, really thick wall of dumb. A judge will screw you over just because he thinks you’re uppity. In other words, just because he can. This is, incidentally, the same reason people rape (not because they have to but because they can). If you scan this catalog of search engine terms, you’ll see that people get restraining orders against people who have restraining orders against them all the time.

      “restraining order ruins his life”: A Review of Queries Leading to This Blog

      There are also mutual orders of no-contact for precisely the reason that people feud, and it’s not one or the other of a pair who’s “more to blame.”

      Women are pandered to, plain and simple. There is, incidentally, nothing barring you from reapplying for a restraining order. And you’re under no legal compulsion to tell the judge that the defendant has a restraining order against you (which, as you say, shouldn’t matter). And if the county court blows you off, go to the city court (these are the games people play, sometimes to get multiple restraining orders against a single defendant).

      It’s interesting, isn’t it, to hear the people who witness how this process plays out criticize it? But they’re as fearful as everyone else of speaking against it in a way that might actually stimulate change.

      If a lawyer had accompanied you to the court to apply for the restraining order, if a lawyer had represented you at the appeal, the judges’ behavior in both cases would have been very different. Judges have J.D. degrees, but there’s a reason they’ve opted for a comfy $120,000/yr. from the state over the prospect of billing for $200-$500/hr. in private practice. Some might say it’s the prestige. I think it has more to do with personal limitations.

      Reply

  150. Anonymous

    March 8, 2013

    I filed an appeal in June, I receive a phone call from the Daily Center probably 2 months later saying the files were ready. Went down to Daily that week and brought them to the IL building for processing. The cleark said I could not file them because it was late, I said I just got the phone call, she said “I know, I know, it happens all the time but it is your responsibility to stay on it.” Then I file a motion to file record in stanter, it came back to me “ALLOWED” which made me happy. I waited until last month to finally receive a letter that the case is “DISMISSED FOR WANT OF PROSECUTION” and it is signed by one of the same JUSTICE that signed the “ALLOWED” Prior. wtf… so now I believe I have to write of a “MOTION OF REINSTATEMENT OF APPEAL” And I am having a hell of a time trying to find any information on that.

    I am also submitting an emergency restraining order on the scorned sociopath tomorrow or Monday.

    Reply
    • I’m not following you. Any document you file with the court you should immediately have a time-stamped duplicate of. Take multiple copies of any documents you file with the court and have them all immediately time-stamped by a clerk. You submit one copy to the court and keep the rest for your records.

      What is the “Daily Center,” and why do you have to wait for an appeal to be “processed”? What’s to process? A document submitted in an appeal should go to a judge for a ruling. The in stanter motion the judge allowed probably meant that the court expected you to file whatever it was you were supposed to file that day.

      Reply
      • As far as filing the “motion of reinstatement of appeal” goes, don’t worry so much about the finical details. Caption the document right (your name, judge’s name, case #, and title of motion) and explain as clearly as you can exactly what you’ve reported here. A judge will rule on the merits of your explanation not on whether your presentation is lawyer-quality.

        When you file this motion, go to the clerk’s office with several copies of it and have all of these copies time-stamped by the clerk. Immediately: “Hi. Please stamp these!” Take the extra copies home.

        Good luck to you.

        Reply

  151. scott weber

    March 7, 2013

    I have a question. I have found out my wife is cheating and she is mentally and verbally abusive towards me. She has threatened me with an opp. During one of her extremely abusive tirades towards me in earshot of my kids i decided to use my phone and record the abuse towards me. I live in illinois, can I use the recording to fight the opp under the grounds that I was at the time a victim of a crime via Mayhem? Also, can a opp be awarded if I contact the man my wife is cheating with?

    Reply
    • You’re saying the only abuse is coming from your wife and that her basis for a protection order would be pure spite for your finding out about her adultery? If that’s the case (which isn’t a surprising one), then you’d appeal a restraining order by asserting abuse of process, confirming the adultery however you could, and, sure, introducing your wife’s verbal abuse. Women get away with murder because they can claim violence and threat and usually be taken at their word. Even when there is some kind of push-and-shove altercation, no one allows that the “passive” person in the argument may have been verbally brutalizing the “aggressor.” It sounds like the one who needs the injunction is you. You might seriously consider beating her to the punch. Then your recording (and any similar evidence you had) would absolutely serve your case.

      As far as contacting the illicit sex partner, you’re doing so or not doing so shouldn’t be relevant to the court’s approving or not approving a restraining order. Your doing so could, though, be the thing that sends your wife off the deep end.

      Good luck to you, and look out for those kids.

      Reply

  152. Anonymous

    March 6, 2013

    In August 2012 I had a retrain order extened for a year from my x girl friend in MA. In Jan 2012, I motioned to have it vacated and provided the courts with documents that could possibly prove prior her testimony was fraud. The judge took this under consideration and needed to review the documents. After about 2 weeks the jugde ruled to give me a new hearing, resulting in vacating the order, stating in his decision I was credible and she was not credible.
    Questions: What motins can the other side file against this decision?
    Am I able to now file a suit against her, although the word fraud is not written, but assumed thats why I was given a new hearing. If I can sue, under what can I sue for? I has cost me thousands in leagal fees, conitined false accuations on and on?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Congratulations, truly. If the woman lied, it’s unlikely she’s going to press the matter unless she’s extremely vindictive (which is possible). Her lying to the court is a felony crime, and she probably doesn’t want to draw further attention to herself (plus her having a restraining order dropped is no skin off of her nose). Yes, you can sue. Torts applying to a matter like this would be fraud (on the court and maybe on you and the police: that is, lying to mislead and cause injury), false light, defamation of character, and possibly intentional infliction of emotional distress. You can find definitions of these torts and the qualifications you’d need to meet to substantiate them in your state online. A lawsuit is a big deal. If you just wanted to sue for $5,000, you could accomplish this in small claims, representing yourself. A lot less stress. A lawsuit progresses very slowly. You wouldn’t actually go to court until seven months down the road.

      Reply

  153. Confused

    March 4, 2013

    I have a stalker that lives close by me. We never had any contact other than hi and bye. He keeps filing for restraining orders against me. The judge dismissing the charges because he is unable to prove the claims and the RO is denied. I have been to court several times with this person trying to get a RO against me. What can I do to stop this person from filing for RO.

    Reply
    • People who’ve never been exposed to this process can’t comprehend that someone would abuse it to get attention. But restraining orders are as easy to get as candy from a dispenser, and oftentimes they’re less expensive. Of course people are going to abuse them. If this person were a woman and you were a man, the lack of evidence probably wouldn’t be an obstacle.

      How awful for you. What have you told the judges you’ve had to talk to if any? Restraining orders occupy a legal Twilight Zone. You could have a lawyer send a cease-and-desist sort of letter. This could cost you one or two thousand dollars. Appalling, right? You could apply to a judge for a restraining order against your accuser, alleging harassment. This costs you nothing, but you’d have to substantiate your own claim. If you have any evidence of this person following you around, looking in your trash, calling your voicemail, etc. you could probably get an injunction. This, unfortunately, won’t prevent him from reapplying for a restraining order against you, though it would provide you with some leverage. It’s ridiculous. Even if he got a restraining order and lied to do it, you’d have an impossible time trying to prosecute him.

      This guy apparently isn’t that shy. I don’t know whether he would be intimidated by a phone call from the police or not, but you could call the PD or go into a local precinct and report this conduct (and anything else this person has done that’s odd) and ask an officer to call him and warn him to stop. It’s a toothless warning, but it might accomplish want you want.

      A lawyer might have some other recommendations. Or he might not. Either way, he’ll charge you $175 to $500 an hour to chat. You could call some lawyer’s offices, explain your situation, and ask what they recommend or what they could do for you. You might get some other ideas at least. Brief phone consultations are free.

      I’m tempted to say ask this guy what he wants, but someone who knows how easy it is to play the system can use any little toehold like this to spin a yarn for the courts. And you’d probably just add fuel to the fixation.

      Reply

  154. anonymous

    February 27, 2013

    what if you was served a temporary PO but didn’t go to court, but the police keep gong to the old address i was staying at to serve me the new one ,but i no longer stay there. will they stop looking for me

    Reply
    • Probably not. My advice would be to appeal the order. Avoidance is just going to motivate law enforcement to get more creative. I’ve heard of an Australian guy being served via Facebook. You don’t want a constable or police officer showing up at your place of work. Best to you.

      Reply
  155. Hi im just wondering if i have a restraining order on someone and I see them and I walk up to them and hit them if I could get in trouble. My friend said that she could and it sounded off so u wanted a professional opinion.

    Reply
    • I’m not a legal professional. If you walked up and belted someone in front of witnesses who could attest there was no provocation, you could get in trouble, sure. In the absence of witnesses, a restraining order would let you get away with a lot and lie about it, that is, your story would probably be believed over the defendant’s. Violent abusers and stalkers sometimes obtain restraining orders against their victims precisely to gain that extra control and measure of impunity.

      Reply

  156. Kristin R.

    February 26, 2013

    I was just served with a Civil PO today from my boyfriend’s soon-to-be ex-wife. Their hearing is March 6th. I haven’t had any contact with her without the presence of another party and until the 4th and last encounter, said nothing to her, made no move toward her or even looked her way. I was even the witness to their dissolution filing (my name is on the legal documents). I’ve not called her, messaged her or driven down her block alone. The two times I was at her home was in the company of her soon-to-be ex. I admit, the last encounter, they argued, she refused to pay off some bills that are her responsibility but are falling in his lap. I admit to saying “That isn’t our problem.” She then flipped me off and called me a name. I opened the door and asked if she had something she wanted to handle and called her multiple names our of sheer anger. Her sister told me to leave. She said she would call the cops. I said go ahead. Mind you, I’m still in the car and it is rolling away. There was no bodily threat, nothing. Now I have this PO on me for basically having an argument, which I assumed wasn’t illegal.

    Going forward, I have never contacted this woman via phone, email, FB. I’ve only said a handful of words to her in total, all with a witness. I assume she has filed this PO as a sneaky revenge which, in turn, my keep me from getting hired at a much anticipated job.

    Family has advised me to contact a lawyer but I’m a struggling, unemployed college student with zero income and no other way to get help. I’ve gathered copies of phone records to prove I haven’t contacted her and have two witnesses to state that I’ve been perfectly mute during this messy process except for the last encounter. I am petrified. I’ve never been in trouble before. What do I do?

    Reply
    • Petrified is how you’re supposed to feel. I’m sorry this happened to you. Your family is right to recommend an attorney. Look, it costs you nothing (but a little dignity) to call around and ask if an attorney would help you. If you find one who says s/he can, decide whether you feel confident about the person, and if you do, explain your financial situation. It may be that you could pay him or her in installments that you could swing with some support from family and friends. It’s a moral outrage that you should have to figure out how to pay for an attorney to remedy a situation like this that’s probably based on nothing but this woman’s hysterics, but that’s the case. Any unscrupulous turd can walk into a courthouse and mangle your life over her lunch hour, and having a lawyer is going to be your best hope of shutting this down. Otherwise what you’re going to want to emphasize is that you’ve only ever had one altercation with this woman and that it was purely verbal and amounted to your calling each other names. Explain very clearly to the judge that this woman is your boyfriend’s ex-wife and that she’s not doing this out of fear but out of jealousy and revenge. Also that you’ve never wanted anything to do with this woman and have no interest in ever seeing her or hearing from her again. Female jealousy/revenge is the motive people report over and over and over for fraudulent restraining orders. To quote my dog’s behaviorist (my dog is also bad with other girls): “They don’t call them bitches for nothing!” Go to the courthouse and ask for more time if you need it and try to get a copy of this woman’s affidavit to the court. This is her written “story.” You have to be aggressively insistent for a clerk to agree to give you a copy of this, but if you get it you’ll know exactly what this person is alleging and what you’ll need to produce to show it isn’t true. Since you’re a woman, you’ve got a decent shot at getting this quashed, but honestly I’ve had quite a number of people write to say they were sure some falsified or histrionic allegations would be laughed out of court that stuck instead. If at all possible, get an attorney.

      Reply
  157. Hi. I’m a female college student who moved out of my fathers house when I was legal because his wife does not like me and kept me from my mother’s(who is deceased) side of the family. I lost all contact and I called a wk ago to inform my father that I’m doing well and in college he hung up on me. I was served a TRO saying I’m in a gang and that I threatened him two months ago. None of that is true I can’t get my phone records in enough time for court. I have a witness to say I’m not in a gang and to testify that I am a person of good character. I believe his wife is a narcissist and will do anything to make me look bad. Do I have a chance in court against her? Even though my father’s name is the one on the restraining order. He just goes along with what she says. I’m already taking off from work and school for this I just don’t want this to last nor to be on my record for when I get a job. I did nothing wrong. I was not asking for support of any kind.

    Reply
    • I’ve heard stories like yours over and over: woman puts her boyfriend or husband up to making false allegations on a restraining order to get even with a female rival for his attention or affections. I’m sorry. This is the last thing you needed, right?

      Okay, if you’ve got a hearing looming, file a motion with the court asking for more time (an extension) to gather evidence in your defense. Don’t hesitate with anyone you speak to about this in the legal community or court system to say this is a fraud orchestrated by your disturbed step-mother. Your phone records are probably available online. Give a call to your service provider.

      If your father’s name is on the restraining order, you may be able to request that your step-mother be barred from participating in the hearing. Explain that you think she is coercing him into making false allegations. You may ask your father (through the judge): “Did your wife put you up to this?” If you can swing an attorney, great, if not you at least have your sex going for you. If you were a guy with tats and a rap sheet, you’d be screwed. But since you’re female, the judge will be a little more attentive to what you’re saying. Everything is appearances with these procedures. Be politely assertive and tell the judge you’re a self-supporting college student and that this has placed a terrible emotional strain on you and compromised your work. Tell him you’re not in a gang and never have been (?) and that you don’t understand how completely bizarre allegations like this can even be accepted by the court and ask whether the courts know how upsetting it is to be abused like this. Tell the judge anything you believe is relevant but focus on responding to the allegations on the restraining order.

      If you file a motion for more time at the courthouse, also ask for a copy of the affidavit your father wrote out. This is a narrative to the court explaining his need for a restraining order. It’s always kept from the defendant. Say this is a fraud and you really need to have a copy to defend yourself. Put your foot down.

      Good luck to you.

      Reply

  158. Anonymous

    February 22, 2013

    how an a convicted felon get an order of protection against an innocent person ?Especially when the magistrate seen he is the aggressor,then let him out,then to have him place false accusations to get an ppo against the victim and the person who is innocent is served papers. In Virginia

    Reply
    • Injunctions aren’t awarded on the basis of criminal/non-criminal or good/bad or anything else. Someone walks into a courthouse, fills out a form, and chats with a judge. That’s it.

      Reply

  159. Anonymous

    February 22, 2013

    After all this time I just received a letter from the appellant court stating

    “This cause having come before the court on the courts own motion, the court finding that the appellant has failed to file a brief within the time prescribed by Supreme Court Rule 343 (a);
    It is hereby ordered that this case is DISMISSED FOR WANT OF PROSECUTION.”

    I was not late, I filed immediately and then was phoned two weeks after the files were ready saying I could pick them up and bring them into the other building etc.

    I motioned to file record in stanter. It was allowed.

    Reply
    • What are you appealing, a restraining order? Whatever document you say you filed should be time-stamped. This stamp will confirm that you submitted it before the deadline.

      Reply
  160. Thanks for the insight Todd. The woman in question used to be a friend for a few years now. We were gaming buddies but our only contact was ever online. I don’t normally use an alias and I keep most of my information public. I’m using one here for my wife’s sake.

    I would assume the motive is from me putting distance between us and ultimately cutting her out of my group because the nature of our friendship started changing and I did not want to risk my marriage on it. This girl quite likes to be everyone’s center of attention and I simply stopped.

    It does seem fishy, however all the basic pieces fit. It is a bizarre and unfortunate situation and what I think I will do at this point is small the officer back, lay out all the facts and notify him that I have not received any formal notice of a restraining order and that I will be blocking any further communications from him and to not attempt to contact me further. Does that sound like a reasonable measure? It all boils down to her filling a domestic restraining order on the premise that we were dating and it was a “very manipulative” relationship, when in fact I have never met her in real life.

    Reply
    • So you think this woman formed an emotional attachment, was pissed that her interest wasn’t reciprocated or felt betrayed that you cut her out of your group, and is using the restraining order to get back at you. This is an international twist on a scenario I’ve heard over and over. I’m guessing you had a few confidence-sharing email moments and these held more meaning for her than they did for you. Probably she’s printed out some kind of exchange you had and given it to the court.

      Understand that the officer you call may claim you’ve been served because of the call. Again, my advice (and what I would do) is fight this. The woman is obviously disturbed, formed a “cyber-bond,” and feels jilted. If this woman says you had a relationship, and you tell a judge the basis of this “relationship” was a video game and that you’ve never met her before and don’t even live on the same continent, you have a good shot at getting this quashed in an appeal. If she’s a narcissist or borderline narcissist (lovers of being the center of attention), she could continue trying to destroy you in any way available. People like this don’t drop a grudge, and they have sociopathic tendencies or can be full-blown psychopaths. That doesn’t mean she’d come after you with a carving knife; it means that she could construct elaborate lies and schemes to f* up your life.

      Whether you attack the order or not should depend on what “incriminating” evidence may be out there, like an injudicious email that would sound hateful to a third party or that could be represented as sinister, etc.

      Everything about this process is appearances. What you have going for you is that you’ve never been within 500 miles of the plaintiff.

      Reply