drug addiction

Restraining Orders and Stalking Orders - do you understand the difference?

The information provided here is to give you an overview of restraining orders and stalking orders. I am not an attorney and this is not legal advice. Laws vary from state to state and I urge you to become familiar with the laws in your state.

Restraining Orders, sometimes called protective orders, are legal documents issued by a judge to keep an abuser away from his victim. It may also give you temporary custody of any children and require that the abuser stay away not only from the home but also your place of work, school or any other place you may be.

Who can get a restraining order?You can ask for a restraining order against your spouse or an ex-spouse, anyone in your family or a domestic partner of either sex, if they have been abusive towards you.

To obtain an order you will need to contact your local court. If you do not know where to find them, your local police or sheriff or women's shelter will be able to direct you. After the paperwork is filled out you will have to get it signed by a judge. The clerk of the court will be able to explain more about the procedure in your area.

You can also ask if they have a victim assistance office or an abused women's advocate. Often there will be someone there to help you with the forms and even go into the courtroom with you.

Remember this order will only go so far in keeping you safe. Abusers can ignore a court order especially if they are using drugs or alcohol to cloud their thinking. You have to do your part to stay safe.

If your abuser breaks the order and comes to your home or work you need to call the police.

Stalking Order. The requirements for a stalking order are different from those of a restraining order. You can obtain a stalking order against anyone who is stalking you, even if they are not a family member. As there is different criteria for getting a stalking order, it is advisable to consult an attorney or go to Legal Aid.

The very best advice I can give you is to find out about these things in advance. Even if you do not think you will ever need this help, a few phone calls will give you some information so you will know what to do should things get really bad.

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Copyright Vivienne Edwards/Angels on Wheels LLC; 2008 - 2009
This page updated 2013