When couples begin to fight, it often does not take long for things to get out of hand. You may find yourself saying hurtful things or even making idle threats. There may be shouting, finger pointing, maybe even shoving.
If your partner feels threatened or simply wants to get even with you for something you said or did, he or she may use the power of a civil restraining order. Reserved for the protection of those who are at risk of harm from an abusive relative, partner or former partner, a restraining order gets the law involved in your situation, but it may create long-term problems for you.
What's at stake?
Certainly, you understand the benefit of a restraining order for someone who is the victim of domestic abuse. The CRO creates clear boundaries, and if the subject of the order violates those boundaries, he or she faces severe consequences. If you are at risk of becoming the subject of a CRO, you would be wise to seek legal guidance as quickly as possible. The immediate damage a CRO can cause may change your life. For example, a California judge's order may include the following stipulations:
- You may not go within a certain distance of your partner or have contact with your partner, even by phone or sending messages through other people.
- The order may restrict you from returning to your home if your partner lives there, even if the residence is in your name.
- You may need a police escort to gather clothing, money or items for your job.
- You will not be able to contact your children except perhaps through supervised visitation, and you will likely lose custody to your partner if custody is at issue.
- Your court order may include a mandate for you to undergo treatment for anger management, drug or alcohol treatment, or other types of counseling, which may jeopardize your career if you hold a professional license or security clearance.
- Your partner may ask the judge to include other restrictions.
In most cases, the accuser will appear before the judge first, and you will not be present to defend yourself. This is for your partner's protection. For the second court appearance, you will have your chance to state your side. You would be wise to have your defense in place and to have the solid representation of a skilled attorney.