Being one of the no-fault states, getting a divorce in Washington is not affected by your partner’s behavior or misbehavior. But a restraining order against them can affect the verdict on various key aspects of the divorce.
If your partner threatens your well-being, children’s welfare, or community property, a restraining order might be necessary. But understanding the impact of this decision can help you make choices that are in your best interest and that of your children. Consider partnering with experienced Tri-Cities family law attorneys that can help you protect your family’s best interests using this strategy.
What Forms of Restraining Orders are Available for Divorcing Couples?
The most common form of restraining order is granted when there’s a threat or actual domestic violence. However, you can also get such orders in several other circumstances. They include restraining orders to:
- Keep one spouse from coming near or harassing the other
- Keep one spouse from taking the children outside the state
- Keep a spouse from taking the other spouse’s name off insurance policies
- Keep a spouse from taking out loans in both of their names
- Keep a spouse from getting rid of a property
The courts issue restraining orders when the circumstances demand for one. You can apply for it in Washington State if your partner:
- Is selling or hiding property
- Is taking assets out of your accounts
- Has threatened to take the children away
- Poses a danger to the children
- Has harmed the children
- Is harming or harassing you
If you aren’t too sure whether to get a restraining order against your partner, a Tri-cities divorce attorney can help evaluate your situation.
How Does a Restraining Order Affect Divorce Proceedings?
Usually, spouses going through a divorce are encouraged to meet and negotiate property division, spousal support, and child custody. These arrangements ensure that each party’s interests are reflected in the final outcome, and fewer resources are used in the divorce process. However, these negotiations may not be possible when there is a restraining order in place.
While the couple can each use their respective attorneys to negotiate in their absence, the process may not be seamless without the presence of the primary parties.’ Additionally, the history of violence or mistrust can complicate how you and your partner handle and agree on key issues.
How Can a Restraining Order Affect Child Custody?
When a couple files for divorce, they are entitled to equal custodial rights until the divorce is finalized. But in some instances, like where violence is involved, one parent can be denied those rights.
A protection order against your partner could mean that they cannot contact you or even the children. It doesn’t matter whether the children were victims of domestic violence or not; the court might place certain conditions on them before they are allowed to be with the children. They might be asked to:
- Get out of the family home
- Get an assessment and/or treatment for domestic violence
- Get an assessment and/or treatment for chemical dependency
- Attend parenting classes
- Hand over their gun to law enforcers
Remember that your partner can pay hefty fines or go to jail if they go against the protection order. So, make sure that you consider all these issues beforehand, and the family law attorneys serving Tri-cities, Walla Walla, and Spokane can offer guidance.
Does a History of Domestic Violence Impact My Partner’s Visitation Rights?
A single episode of domestic violence is not enough to affect your partner’s visitation rights in Washington State. But if they have had several convictions, their visitation rights can be affected significantly.
In this arrangement, the child will only visit the other parent under the supervision of a designated adult. But it is worth noting that this limitation isn’t always permanent because the abusive parent can have it lifted. They simply have to prove that unsupervised visitation is good for the child and that there is no more risk of ongoing or future violence.
Termination of Parental Rights
If the prosecution can prove that your partner’s relationship with their children is not healthy for them, the court can terminate their visitation rights altogether. For instance, a case of extreme neglect or abuse can warrant such decisions from the judge. A parent convicted for sexually abusing, seriously assaulting, or chronically abusing their child can be barred from seeing them.
Notably, termination of parental rights is permanent. The parent cannot appeal to have those rights reinstated for whatever reason.
How Do I Apply for a Restraining Order?
Getting a restraining order against your partner involves making an application stating the facts of your case. And if their actions call for protection, you might be issued with a temporary restraining order that can protect you for up to 14 days. Before the period expires, a hearing will be held to determine whether a permanent restraining order is necessary or not.
Remember, your partner will also be issued with paperwork on the same. S/he will have a chance to narrate their side of events before the judge. You will also do the same under oath in the second hearing. And if the court considers it necessary, it might give a protection order that can last for at least a year. An aggressive and experienced Tri-cities divorce attorney can help you get the protective order in the shortest time possible.
A Legal Professional Protecting Tri-Cities’ Families
Clearly, a restraining order can affect your divorce in several ways, depending on your unique situation. You are morally obliged to protect your children from a partner’s toxic behaviors. And you also owe the same responsibility to yourself. Additionally, if your partner is about to hide or sell properties you acquired together in the marriage, you have to act and protect your kids.
Do not hesitate to seek a restraining order when it’s needful. The Washington family law lawyers at Pacific Northwest Family Law Firm can help you acquire one, after giving you information on the possible consequences. Visit us today or call (509) 572-3700 to book an appointment.