What is a Restraining Order? How is that different from an Order of Protection or a No Contact Order? My clients are often confused by these differences, and the differences are important. Allow me to explain.
A Standing Restraining Order is typically automatically issued at the beginning of every domestic relations case, like a divorce. It restrains both parties from harassing each other, from selling or disposing of property, and from removing the children from the jurisdiction of the Court, if there are children involved. This kind of order is not particular to you and does not prevent you from contacting the other party. Here is an example of a Standing Restraining Order from Washington County, Arkansas.
An Order of Protection is a court order that is issued when there has been an allegation of abuse that threatens the safety and security of the petitioner. The Order prevents communication between the parties and restrains the alleged abuser from going to the home or workplace of the petitioner. The Court will often enter an "Ex Parte" Order of Protection first, which will be temporary and will last until there is a court hearing where everyone can be heard. If the Court finds that the alleged abuser is a continuing threat to the petitioner, then the Court will issue an Order of Protection for a longer period of time, such a one year or even up to ten years.
If you are the victim of domestic abuse and believe that there is a threat to you or your children, here is a step by step guide on how to file for an Order of Protection.
Lastly, a No Contact Order is entered in criminal cases and prevents the alleged perpetrator of a crime from contacting the alleged victim. These are routinely issued in domestic violence, assault and battery cases. There can be no contact whatsoever. This includes text messages, and also includes sending messages through third parties. If either party violates the Order, they can be charged with an independent crime.
If you have a question about a restraining order, contact Leslie so that she can advise you on your rights and responsibilities under that order. Better safe than sorry!