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Restraining Orders

There are different types of restraining orders. Most restraining orders can order a person to not contact someone and stay away from them. Some restraining orders can include more protection, like order a person to move out, or include protections for your children or other family members.   

A restraining order (also called a “protective order”) is a court order that can protect someone from being physically or sexually abused, threatened, stalked, or harassed.  

The person getting the restraining order is called the “protected person.”  

The person the restraining order is against is the “restrained person.”  

Sometimes, restraining orders include other “protected persons” like family or household members of the protected person. 


What does a restraining order do?

In general restraining orders can include: 

  • Personal conduct orders 
    These are orders to stop specific acts against everyone named in the restraining order as a “protected person.” Some of the things that the restrained person can be ordered to stop are: 
    • Contacting, calling, or sending any messages (including e-mail); 
    • Attacking, striking, or battering; 
    • Stalking; 
    • Threatening; 
    • Sexually assaulting; 
    • Harassing; 
    • Destroying personal property; or 
    • Disturbing the peace of the protected people. 
  • Stay-away orders 
    These are orders to keep the restrained person a certain distance away (like 50 or 100 yards) from: 
    • The protected person or persons; 
    • Where the protected person lives; 
    • His or her place of work; 
    • His or her children’s schools or places of child care; 
    • His or her vehicle; 
    • Other important places where he or she goes. 
  • Residence exclusion (“kick-out” or “move-out”) orders 
    These are orders telling the restrained person to move out from where the protected person lives and to take only clothing and personal belongings until the court hearing. These orders can only be asked for in domestic violence or elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order cases. 

For the person to be restrained, having a restraining order against him or her can have very serious consequences: 

  • He or she will not be able to go to certain places or to do certain things. 
  • He or she might have to move out of his or her home. 
  • It may affect his or her ability to see his or her children. 
  • He or she will generally not be able to own a gun. (And he or she will have to turn in, sell or store any guns they have now and not be able to buy a gun while the restraining order is in effect.) 
  • It may affect his or her immigration status if he or she is trying to get a green card or a visa. 

If the restrained person violates (breaks) the restraining order, he or she may go to jail, or pay a fine, or both. 


 Which restraining order applies to my situation?

Situation  Types of restraining orders 
You need protection from someone you had a relationship with (more than friends), like your spouse, an ex, or your child's other parent. Or you need protection from a close family member like your child, parent, grandparent, or sibling (not an aunt or uncle or cousin).  Domestic Violence (external site)
You need protection from someone you never had a relationship with (never more than friends) and are not closely related to. For example, you need protection from a neighbor, aunt or uncle, or coworker.   Civil Harassment (external site)
Someone who is either 65 or older or a dependent adult needs protection from someone else (like a caretaker or adult child) who is abusing or neglecting them.  Elder Abuse (external site)
Typically, a police officer or sheriff who thinks someone might hurt themselves or someone else with a gun. This can stop that person from buying or owning a gun. It can't order them to stay away from someone.  Gun Violence (external site)
 An employer who needs to protect one of their employees.  Workplace Violence (external site)
 A chief administrative officer (principal, president, or highest-ranking official) or a school safety officer from a private postsecondary school asking for a school violence restraining order  School Violence (external site)
A tribal protective order needs to be registered with the court.  Tribal Court Order (external site)


 


Types of Restraining Orders

Order Who can file

Domestic Violence Restraining Order 

 

You can ask for a domestic violence restraining order if: 

  • Someone has abused you,  

AND 

  • You have a close relationship with that person (married or registered domestic partners, divorced, separated, dating or used to date, have a child together, or live together or used to live together — but more than roommates), or you are closely related (parent, child, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, in-law). 

Find more information about Domestic Violence

Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Order 

 

You can ask for an elder or dependent adult abuse restraining order if: 

  • You are 65 or older, OR 
  • You are between 18 and 64 and have certain mental or physical disabilities that keep you from being able to do normal activities or protect yourself. 

AND 

  • You are a victim of: 
  • Physical or financial abuse, 
  • Neglect or abandonment, 
  • Treatment that has physically or mentally hurt you, or 
  • Deprivation by a caregiver of basic things or services you need so you will not suffer physically, mentally, or emotionally. 

Find more information about Elder and Dependent Abuse. 

Civil Harassment Restraining Order 

 

You can ask for a civil harassment restraining order if you are being harassed, stalked, abused, or threatened by someone you are not as close to as is required under domestic violence cases, like a roommate, a neighbor, or more distant family members like cousins, aunts or uncles, or nieces or nephews. 

Find more information about Civil Harassment.   

Gun Violence Restraining Order 

Only certain people can ask for a gun violence restraining order if they think someone is dangerous and should be restricted from having or buying firearms and ammunition, including:  

  • Law enforcement officer or agency 
  • The person's immediate family member, including a spouse, parent, child, grandparent, or any other person who regularly lives with them now or lived with them in the last 6 months  
  • The person's employer 
  • The person's co-worker who has regular contact with the person and has worked with them for at least a year, and has the employer’s permission to ask for this restraining order  
  • An employee or teacher at a school that the person has gone to in the last six months, who has permission from a school administrator or staff supervisor 

You can ask a law enforcement officer to ask for a gun violence restraining order. If it is an emergency, you can call police and ask for one right away. 

Find more information about Gun Violence (external site).

Workplace Violence Restraining Order 

You can ask for a workplace violence restraining order if: 

  • You are an employer, 

AND 

  • You ask for a restraining order to protect an employee who has suffered stalking, serious harassment, violence, or a credible (real) threat of violence at the workplace. 

An employee CANNOT ask for a workplace violence restraining order. If the employee wants to protect him or herself, he or she can ask for a civil harassment restraining order (or a domestic violence restraining order if the abuser is a partner/spouse or former partner/spouse or close family member). 

Find more information about Workplace Violence (external site).

School Violence 

You can ask for a school violence restraining order if: 

  • You are the chief administrative officer (principal, president, or highest-ranking official) or a school safety officer from a private postsecondary school can ask for a school violence restraining order. 

AND 

  • Ask for protection for one or more students, as well as the student’s family or household members.

Find more information about School Violence (external site).

Tribal Court Protective Order

You can ask for the registration of a current tribal court protective order. 

Instructions on How to Electronically Submit (eSubmit) Registration of Tribal Protective Orders

Domestic Violence, Gun Violence (external site ), and Elder or Dependent Abuse Restraining Order petitions may be filed electronically via eSubmit and at no cost to the petitioner.