If you believe that you are in danger or another emergency situation, always call 911 first. However, if you are not in immediate danger, but you think you might need a restraining order with respect to a family member, you need to know the facts and the law about restraining orders in the state of Washington.

Washington law provides for different types of restraining orders, depending on your situation. A domestic violence order for protection is a civil court order for which you file a petition with the court when you have been threatened or assaulted by a family member. In a true emergency situation, you can get a temporary domestic violence order for protection that lasts up to 14 days; the court will schedule a court hearing during that timeframe in order to determine whether the order should become permanent. A domestic violence order for protection can contain provisions ordering your family member to stay away from you, leave your shared home, attend counseling, and engage in specified visitation with any children whom you share.

A restraining order is a much broader court order that a judge routinely enters in a family law case, such as a divorce or paternity case, upon your request. This type of order sets forth certain directives to the parties about custody, visitation, child support, and alimony. It also can contain an order directed toward the prevention of further domestic violence behaviors.

On the other hand, a no-contact order is part of a criminal case. The judge in the criminal case issues a no-contact order; you do not need to file a petition in court in order to get this type of order. A no-contact order typically does not last as long as a domestic violence order for protection or restraining order. You also cannot get the same type of relief that you would get with a domestic violence order for protection in a no-contact order; it simply orders the defendant to stay away from you.

The Washington divorce lawyers at Pacific Northwest Family Law are eager to answer your questions and help you understand the ins and outs of restraining orders and how they operate in your divorce or family law case. As your attorneys, we will focus on how best to represent your interests and achieve the goals that you wish to reach, whether your objectives involve the use of restraining orders or not. We have handled countless divorce and family law proceedings over the years, and we will work with you to create the best strategy possible in your case. Call our offices at (509) 581-4342 and learn how we can help you with your Washington divorce, legal separation, or family law case.