Understanding Restraining Orders Against Family Members - Zukerman Law

Understanding Restraining Orders Against Family Members

Understanding the need for a restraining order against a family member is a serious and often emotionally challenging situation. Whether you’re experiencing domestic violence, harassment, or threats from a family member, it’s essential to know your legal rights and options for protection.
In this guide, we will explore what restraining orders entail, why you might seek one against a family member, and the steps involved in obtaining this legal protection.
At Zukerman Law Group, we understand the sensitive nature of family legal matters and are dedicated to providing compassionate yet effective legal support.

What is a Restraining Order?

What is a Restraining Order?

Restraining orders are protection orders issued by courts in British Columbia to safeguard family members or others from violence or harm. These orders, typically in the form of a family protection order or peace bond, can be used to protect individuals from potentially unsafe situations.

Reasons for Seeking a Restraining Order Against a Family Member

Reasons for Seeking a Restraining Order Against a Family Member

When considering a restraining order against a family member, it’s important to recognize the serious circumstances that may necessitate such legal action. Here are some common reasons why individuals seek restraining orders against family members:

Domestic Violence or Abuse

One of the primary reasons for seeking a restraining order is to protect oneself or family members from physical, emotional, or sexual abuse within the household. Domestic violence can have long-lasting effects on individuals and families, and a restraining order can provide immediate legal protection.

Threats or Harassment

Persistent threats, intimidation, or harassment from a family member can create a hostile and unsafe environment. A restraining order can establish boundaries and prohibit abusive behavior, offering a sense of security and peace of mind.

Stalking

If a family member is stalking you, monitoring your activities, or making unwanted contact despite your expressed desire for them to stop, a restraining order can enforce legal boundaries and prevent further intrusive behavior.

Child Custody and Visitation Concerns

In cases involving child custody disputes or concerns about the safety of children, a restraining order may be sought to protect minors from potential harm or abduction by a family member.
Seeking a restraining order against a family member is a significant decision, often made in response to serious and ongoing threats or abusive behavior. If you are considering taking this step, it’s important to gather evidence and seek legal advice promptly.

Steps to Obtain a Restraining Order

Steps to Obtain a Restraining Order

1- Legal Assistance

Seeking legal assistance is advised if you’re going through a process that requires legal help. At Zukerman Law Group, our team is here to offer guidance and support throughout the process of obtaining a restraining order.

2- Eligibility Criteria

Each jurisdiction has specific eligibility criteria for obtaining a restraining order against a family member. Generally, you may be eligible if you can demonstrate a legitimate fear of harm or harassment from the family member in question. Factors such as the nature of the relationship, recent incidents of violence or threats, and the potential for future harm are considered.

3- Filing for a Restraining Order

You must go to the Family Court in your municipality to file an application for a restraining order. A thorough justification of your concerns for your own safety or the protection of any children you are responsible for must be included with your application. You also need to demonstrate that there are valid reasons for this fear.

Steps Involved in Filing

1- Gathering Evidence:

Before filing for a restraining order, gather any evidence that supports your case. This may include:

  • Documentation of threatening messages or emails
  • Records of past incidents of violence or abuse
  • Witness statements or testimony
  • Medical records (if applicable)
  • Photos of injuries or property damage

Strong evidence strengthens your case and increases the likelihood of obtaining the restraining order.

2- Filing the Petition

  • Contact your local courthouse or family court to obtain the necessary forms for filing a restraining order. These forms typically require detailed information about the incidents leading to your request, details about the family member in question, and any supporting evidence.
  • Fill out the forms accurately and truthfully. Seek guidance from legal professionals if needed, especially if you’re unsure about certain sections or requirements.

4-Conditions and Enforcement

A restraining order may include a list of restrictions, like forbidding the person from approaching you, your children, your house, or workplace. The police have the authority to enforce restraining orders, and breaking them can result in jail time, fines, or even arrest.

Types of Restraining Orders in BC

In British Columbia, Canada, there are different types of restraining orders available to address various situations involving family members or other individuals. The specific terminology and details may vary slightly, but generally, the following are common types of restraining orders:

Standard Restraining Orders

This refers to the family protection orders where a family member has a reasonable fear of harm.

Peace and Good Behavior Orders

Peace and good behavior orders can be issued in non-family situations where there is a credible threat of harm but not enough evidence for criminal charges.

Emergency Restraining Orders

Emergency restraining orders are issued in domestic situations when there is a credible and immediate threat of harm, lasting up to six months and being renewable.

No-contact Restraining Orders

No-contact restraining orders are protection orders that prohibit direct or indirect contact with the petitioner.

Conclusion

Seeking a restraining order against a family member is a critical step toward ensuring your safety and well-being, as well as that of your loved ones. It’s important not to underestimate the seriousness of the situation if you are facing threats, harassment, or violence from a family member. Legal protections such as restraining orders can provide immediate relief and establish legal boundaries to prevent further harm.
Obtaining a restraining order involves navigating complex legal procedures and requirements. Consulting with experienced legal professionals, such as the team at Zukerman Law Group, can make a significant difference in your ability to obtain the necessary protections and understand your rights throughout the process. Our firm specializes in family law and is dedicated to providing compassionate yet effective legal representation to individuals facing difficult family dynamics. For more information or to set up an initial consultation, contact us at 604-575-5464 or contact us.

FAQs

  • 1- What is the difference between a protection order and a peace bond?1

    You can obtain a peace bond against anyone, even someone you’ve only briefly dated or don’t know well, such a coworker or a neighbor, in contrast to a family law protection order, which is restricted to protecting you from an abusive family member. A peace bond may be issued for a maximum of one year.

  • 2- What proof do you need for a restraining order in BC?1

    Present any proof of physical violence before the judge, including photos of bruises, wounds, and damaged property. Tell the judge any previous arrests the abuser has been involved in, or request the arrest reports. These may be available from the local law enforcement agency or sheriff’s office in the area where the abuse was previously reported.

  • 3- How long does a restraining order last in Canada?1

    Peace bonds are not renewable and have a maximum 12-month expiration date. A fresh application must be submitted if another peace bond is required. Restraining orders can be as short as 90 days or as long as three years, depending on the province.

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author

Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.