What Do You Need for a Restraining Order? - Zukerman Law

What Do You Need for a Restraining Order?

Navigating the legal process of obtaining a restraining order can be a daunting and emotionally charged experience. Whether you’re seeking protection from domestic violence, harassment, stalking, or other forms of abuse, understanding the requirements and steps involved is crucial. In this blog post, we’ll explore what you need to know about obtaining a restraining order, from understanding its purpose to the legal process involved.
At Zukerman Law Group, we recognize the significance of seeking legal assistance during such challenging times. As specialists in family law and protection orders, we’re dedicated to providing support and guidance to individuals facing situations that require legal intervention.
As we delve into the intricacies of restraining orders, we’ll also highlight how our team at Zukerman Law Group can offer expertise and representation throughout the process. Let’s begin by understanding the fundamentals of restraining orders and why they are essential tools for protecting individuals from harm.

Understanding Restraining Orders

Understanding Restraining Orders

A restraining order, protective order, or order of protection is a legal order that commands a respondent to refrain from certain actions, such as contact, home visits, or workplace visits. These restrictions provide physical distance and communication barriers to prevent violence.
Courts may also prohibit the respondent from possessing firearms, such as in domestic violence cases. Violations of the order can result in contempt of court, additional restrictions, or criminal charges. Restraining orders can be temporary or permanent and can be used to protect the petitioner and respondent.

Purpose of Restraining Orders

Purpose of Restraining Orders

The main purpose of a restraining order, also known as a protective order, is to safeguard a person from potential harm caused by another individual. This is typically enforced through court orders in situations involving threats, harassment, stalking, or violence. Here’s a breakdown of the key goals:

  • Protection: Restraining orders are intended to shield the victim from continued abuse or threats of abuse. This can encompass physical violence, intimidation, or even emotional distress.
  • Limiting Contact: The order restricts the contact the potentially harmful person can have with the victim. This may involve staying a certain distance away from the victim’s residence, workplace, or other frequented locations. Communication channels like phone calls, texts, emails, or social media contact might also be restricted.
  • Preventing Future Harm: Restraining orders aim to deter future incidents and de-escalate situations by creating legal boundaries and potential consequences for violating them.
  • Empowering Victims: Restraining orders can empower victims by giving them a sense of control over their safety and well-being, allowing them to take legal action against their abusers.
The Five Types of Restraining Orders

The Five Types of Restraining Orders

Restraining orders can vary in scope and purpose depending on the jurisdiction, but some common types include:

Domestic Violence Restraining Orders

These are issued in cases of domestic abuse or violence, where the victim seeks protection from a current or former spouse, partner, family member, or household member.

Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

These are issued to protect individuals from harassment, threats, stalking, or other forms of abuse by someone who is not necessarily a family member or intimate partner.

Workplace Restraining Orders

These are designed to protect an individual from harassment or threats by a colleague or supervisor in the workplace.

Elder Abuse Restraining Orders

These are issued to protect elderly individuals from abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation by caregivers, family members, or others.

Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO)

These are often issued on an emergency basis to provide immediate protection to the victim while a full hearing on a permanent restraining order is scheduled.

No-Contact Orders

These may be issued as part of a criminal case to prevent a defendant from contacting the victim or any other involved parties while the case is pending.

Peace Orders

Similar to restraining orders, peace orders are issued in cases of harassment, stalking, or abuse, but they are typically used in jurisdictions where the term “restraining order” is not used or where the legal process differs.

These are just some examples, and the specific types of restraining orders available may vary by jurisdiction. Each type of restraining order serves the purpose of protecting individuals from various forms of harm or harassment.

What Do You Need to Show to Get a Restraining Order?

What Do You Need to Show to Get a Restraining Order?

The specific criteria necessary to obtain a restraining order vary by state, but generally, you must demonstrate the following:

  • Specific instances of abuse or harassment (such as intimate partner sexual assault)
  • The potential for further abusive behavior or harassment

In some states, you may also need to establish:

  • A qualifying relationship with the respondent (e.g., current or former intimate partner)
  • A reasonable fear of imminent physical violence

When completing your petition, precision is crucial. Instead of vague claims like “he abused me repeatedly,” provide detailed accounts such as “on this date, at this location, witnessed by these individuals, he physically assaulted me and threatened my life.”
Your petition must be thorough. Any omission may lead the court to overlook crucial details during the order hearing.
While the process may seem daunting, many courts offer standardized forms to streamline it. These forms ensure compliance with statutory requirements (e.g., contact details and children’s information) while allowing you to present your narrative.
Though you may complete the form independently, consulting a family law or domestic violence attorney is advisable. Initial consultations are often free or low-cost, and given the high stakes involved, their guidance can be invaluable.

What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Your Case?

What Evidence Do You Need to Prove Your Case?

Now, let’s delve into how you can substantiate the claims outlined in your petition. You’ll need to present evidence that the court will find credible, and evidence generally falls into two categories: direct and circumstantial.
Direct evidence directly proves a fact. For instance, bringing in a witness who saw the respondent hit you offers direct evidence of the harm inflicted.
On the other hand, circumstantial evidence functions a bit differently. Although just as compelling as direct evidence, it requires you to draw conclusions to establish a fact’s existence. For instance, if you walked into a room to find a body on the ground with the respondent holding a smoking gun, you could infer that they pulled the trigger.
Restraining order cases often involve a mix of both types and sometimes, a single piece of evidence, like a police report, can support multiple aspects of your case.
In most states, you’re tasked with proving these elements by a preponderance of evidence, meaning they’re more likely than not true. However, in some states, you need to meet a higher standard of proof known as clear and convincing evidence.

Demonstrating Harm

Establishing specific instances of harm is typically straightforward. You might do so through:

  • Your own testimony regarding the harm inflicted by the respondent
  • Testimony from witnesses, such as family members, who observed the harm
  • Police reports documenting any physical harm you endured
  • Medical records detailing treatment for the harm suffered
  • Photographs showcasing injuries caused by the respondent

Demonstrating Threat of Harm

Proving a threat of harm is often even simpler. If the respondent verbally threatened you, your testimony or presenting threatening voicemail messages to the court can suffice.
If they put their threats in writing, providing the court with copies (e.g., text messages, emails, social media posts) holds significant weight. Nothing quite drives the point home, like presenting the actual words used by the respondent to threaten you.

Demonstrating Reasonable Fear of Imminent Harm

In states requiring proof of fear, your testimony expressing your fear may suffice. However, circumstantial evidence can strengthen your case. Detailing precautions you’ve taken to ensure your safety, like avoiding certain places or changing locks, can bolster your testimony. Moreover, a police report indicates the seriousness of your concerns and the reasonableness of your fear. Testimony and documents supporting your apprehension will help establish this element.

Consider Consulting a Lawyer

Consider Consulting a Lawyer

At Zukerman Law Group, we understand the urgency and sensitivity surrounding restraining order cases. With years of experience in British Columbia family law, our team has a proven track record of successfully guiding clients through the process of obtaining a restraining order. We are dedicated to ensuring your safety and well-being and work tirelessly to achieve positive outcomes for every case we handle.
Our team is highly skilled in navigating the legalities of restraining orders, from understanding the different types available to gathering evidence and presenting a compelling case in court. We understand the emotional toll such situations can take and prioritize clear communication and compassionate support throughout the entire process.
If you need a restraining order, contact Zukerman Law Group to schedule a free consultation. Our team is here to help you understand your options and explore the best course of action for your safety. Call us at 604-575-5464 or visit our website to learn more.

Conclusion

No one deserves to feel unsafe. If you are experiencing abuse or threats, seeking a restraining order can be a crucial step towards regaining control and protecting yourself. Remember, you are not alone. Zukerman Law Group is here to help.

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

    You’ll need to gather police reports, photographs of damaged property or injuries, witness testimony, or recorded conversations.

  • 2- How long is a restraining order in Canada?1

    In some jurisdictions, a restraining order can last as long as five years. During this time, the terms of the restraining order must be followed, or a violation could occur.

  • 3- Can you get a restraining order on someone in Canada?1

    A family court judge can grant a restraining order to limit the person receiving it from coming within a certain distance of the couple and their children.

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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.