Should I Fight My Restraining Order?
Updated: Dec 1, 2021
I often meet clients who have restraining orders that they never fought so the restraining order remained in place. These can have an effect on future cases so I am always curious why my clients never asked for a hearing or tried to fight their restraining order.
I ask them why and the answer is usually the same - 1) either they don't want to have contact with the person who filed or 2) they got back together with the person who filed so it doesn't matter. These two explanations are both good reasons that a judge might dismiss the restraining order after a hearing.
When a person files for a restraining order, they are able to get one granted by the Court at "ex parte" - meaning the judge only heard one side of the story before they granted the order. The sheriff then serves the "ex parte" restraining order on the Respondent and if the Respondent does not request a hearing in time the restraining order goes into place for one year. It can then be extended by a judge after one year.
Respondents should always AT LEAST ask for a hearing. If the person who filed the restraining order does not show up then the restraining order is dismissed. There is no harm then in sending in the request for a hearing.
The two reasons I mostly hear for clients not fighting their restraining order are both good reasons that a judge might dismiss the restraining order after a hearing. It is very important that if you are served with a restraining order that you contact an attorney to discuss your options.