Burning Questions About Restraining Orders

Many times when people are seeking divorce advice in Pasadena, they are also wondering how to file a restraining order. We see couples in the news like Mel Gibson and ex-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva file dueling restraining orders. We hear about everyone from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to reality TV star Jack Osbourne filing restraining orders against harassing parties. Yet what do we actually know about restraining orders and how to file them?

First off, when should we file a restraining order? According to the LAPD's website, restraining orders are there to protect victims of civil and domestic abuse and/or violence -- so people who feel threatened or fear that abuse will continue should file restraining orders right away. On the other side of this, restraining orders shouldn't be filed simply out of spite or revenge. In California, restraining orders are reviewed carefully and judges do not look favorably on restraining orders that are a waste of time.

Next, which type of restraining order needs to be filed? There are several different types of restraining orders that an individual can file. A Civil Harassment Restraining Order is used to prevent harassment from neighbors, coworkers or other acquaintances, while a Domestic Violence Protective Restraining Order is a temporary measure that protects applicants for three weeks up to three years. Criminal Protective Orders, on the other hand, must be issued by a California District Attorney and pertain exclusively to active domestic violence cases. Finally, Emergency Protective Orders are issued by law enforcement agents and valid up to five days. Talk to your family attorney in Pasadena to figure out which kind of restraining order may be right for you.

What happens after the restraining order has been filed? Again, the point of restraining orders is to provide peace for the person who filed; legally, contact from the harassing party must stop immediately. Violation of a restraining order can mean jail time or further legal action from law enforcement. Communication after restraining orders have been filed is key. Letting close friends, your attorney, your family and, most importantly, the police, know if the respondent has contacted you is vital.

In the end, restraining orders aren't just juicy topics for tabloid fodder. They are a last resort legal action to be taken quiet seriously. If a you are being harassed, contact a family attorney in Pasadena to see if you need to file a restraining order.