Courts have the authority to impose temporary and long term protection and restraining orders. Restraining orders may be obtained within the context of divorce or separation proceedings and can restrain the other party from wasting financial assets or canceling insurance policies. They can also prevent the other party from coming into contact with the protected parties’ home, work place or school. Protection orders can be obtained as part of a family law action, or as independent action having nothing to do with divorce or separation. The orders may be obtained against family and non-family members alike. In either type of order, the court may require one party to surrender all of their weapons. V. Freitas Law is experienced in dealing with protection and restraining orders. We represent individuals who seek to obtain such orders as well as those trying to defend against them. If you believe you need a protection order or are put in a position of having to defend against one, you would benefit from the tough and skilled representation of V. Freitas Law.
If you have been served a Protection Order it is very important that you follow the order precisely, any violation of the order may result in criminal charges being filed against you. Contact an attorney immediately for advice on what your specific order is prohibiting you from doing. Carefully review the order to determine what you are being restrained from doing. Most orders prohibit any form of contact with the protected person(s), whether in person, by telephone, or in writing. They also typically prohibit third parties from contacting the protected person(s) on behalf of the restrained person. If you have any doubt or questions about what the order is prohibiting, err on the side of caution and have no contact with the protected person(s) until you have had an opportunity to meet with an attorney.
A temporary order is effective when issued and will remain in effect until the next hearing date – typically within fourteen days of the date the order was issued, or until the party seeking the order chooses to dismiss it. Important Note: Protection Orders and Restraining Orders are court orders and only a court can dismiss or modify them. If you are served a protection or restraining order, follow it to the letter as long as the order is in effect. The protected person cannot give you “permission” to violate the terms of the order. If they state they no longer want the order, then they need to go to court and have it terminated. It is not uncommon for the protected person to have contact with the restrained party and then subsequently allege a violation of the order. The order does not prohibit the protected person from having contact with the restrained person. The order only limits the restrained person from contacting the protected individual(s). If the restrained party is in a vehicle with the protected person(s) and the vehicle is stopped by police for any reason, the restrained party will be arrested for violating the order, even if the protected person is present and telling the officer that they initiated contact or consented to it.
A protection order is a court order that prohibits one party from contacting the protected person(s). The court will only issue a protection order if there has been a showing that domestic violence has occurred between family or household members. RCW 26.50 defines Domestic Violence as follows: Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members. Household or family member is defined in RCW 26.50 as: Spouses, domestic partners, former spouses, former domestic partners, persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past, persons sixteen years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship, persons sixteen years of age or older with whom a person sixteen years of age or older has or has had a dating relationship, and persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren.
A restraining order can be issued against any party to a court proceeding. The court may restrain one or both of the parties from taking actions, being physically present in a location, or having contact with the other party. It is common for the court to issue financial restraints in divorce cases that restrain both parties from disposing of community assets and from changing entitlements, such as insurance policies, while the action is pending. Courts frequently restrain both parties in a divorce or family law case from disturbing the peace of the other party and the children.