If you’re being abused, harassed, or stalked by someone, you might consider filing a restraining order against them. This has been a huge problem in the U.S., with over two-thirds of restraining orders being issued by women against men.

In many instances, restraining orders have saved lives. That’s why at Pacific Northwest Family Law, we have a keen focus on such cases. If you have a partner, ex-partner, or close person posing a threat to you or your family, don’t wait to take action. But before filing, you should take note of a few things.

Do I Have to Serve My Abuser with The Papers I Am Filing

Yes, you will have to serve your abuser with the papers. However, you shouldn’t do it yourself but instead, request the court or your lawyer to send law enforcement to do it on your behalf. And isn’t limited to hand delivery but can also be served through email, text, or even through social media.

Can I Get Protection Right Away with an Emergency Restraining Order?

You can get an immediate ex parte restraining order. Ex parte means getting the order with little or no notice to the other party. In Washington State, a divorce or family law case requiring an immediate/emergency order will resemble something close to a temporary order. This immediate restraining order is enforceable immediately and is often enforceable as the petition for a temporary restraining order is still pending.

This ex parte order is a stopgap measure that will last until the hearing date. You must, however, show evidence of an emergency to qualify for this immediate restraining order. For example, risk of possible domestic violence, threats from the other party to abscond with the kids, or a threat against you that involves money or assets (addressing domestic violence-related restraints, custody, and financial).

How Does the Process Work?

Getting an immediate restraining order will require you to fill out a petition requesting the judge to grant you an ex parte restraining order. You will, however, have to write down all claims against the respondent that show cause.

You need to prepare all the documents, which tend to be under different categories on Washington’s Court Forms Website. You will also need to make at least four different sets of copies, including the original. Because of the nature of the process, it’s best to have a Tri-Cities domestic violence lawyer help you. Because such a lawyer is skilled and experienced in domestic violence cases and restraining orders, you would be in a better position to protect yourself than with other types of lawyers.

How Long Will My Restraining Order Last?

An immediate restraining order takes effect immediately and can last about two weeks in preparation for a show cause hearing where the other party will probably be represented. In the hearing, the courts will decide whether to dismiss the immediate restraining order or issue an order of protection after listening to both sides of the story.

The protection order, by default, lasts one year. However, the court may make it longer, or even forever.

What If I Move to A New State?

The federal law requires that a restraining order be honored and enforced in all states. This means you shouldn’t be worried about your order being revoked once you move into a new state.

Are There Different Types of Restraining Orders in Washington State?

When under threat, you should take advantage of the protections awarded in law. These protections come in the form of orders, and they include:

Restraining Order

This may sometimes accompany a family law case involving divorce, custody, or paternity. But it can also involve several issues such as child support, property, alimony, and domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Order for Protection

Your domestic violence attorney in Tri-Cities, WA, is the best person to help you obtain this type of order. The order aims at protecting people who have been threatened or assaulted by family members. Your DV lawyer in Richland, Walla Walla and Spokane will help you fill out the forms and serve the orders to the respondent. The order will direct the respondent to stay away from you and your home, stop engaging in any further harm, leave a shared residence, among other directives.

Civil Anti-Harassment Order

This is best used in disputes with neighbors and stalking situations with strangers. Work closely with a Tri-cities restraining order attorney to help you in cases where you’ve been harassed, but no threats to your well-being have been manifested.

No Contact Order

This order is part of a criminal case proceeding and is not a family court order. It is invoked as a consequence of the respondent being arrested for a crime and isn’t as long as a civil order.

Should I Request for A Restraining Order or DV Protection Order?

Restraining orders are similar to domestic violence protection orders but can be used in the absence of domestic violence. A restraining order affords all the protections of DV protection orders and can protect your children too.

Unlike a DV protection order, your restraining order doesn’t require any separate petition. In addition, you can combine your petition for a temporary or immediate restraining order with all other types of temporary orders, thus saving you time and energy. But if your case doesn’t require the courts to issue a restraining order specifically, it’s still prudent to seek a DV protection order. The Washington family domestic violence lawyers at our law firm are ready to walk you through the process and help you achieve your goals.

An Experienced Legal Professional Protecting Your Well Being

If you are assaulted or feel threatened, take action today and file a restraining order against the other party. But don’t try to navigate this process alone. Emotions sometimes run high in such situations if the accused feels that the whole case is being blown out of proportion. A family lawyer serving the Tri-Cities, experienced in domestic violence cases, and conversant with protection orders can help you.

Our family law firm takes the time to listen to our clients and carefully handle each case. Our role is to let the court hear your side of the story and protect you so that you can have peace of mind. Call us today at (509) 572-3700 to get started.