What can a restraining order do?

Sharman L. Brooks

If a romantic partner is threatening or harassing you in California, you could protect yourself and your family with a restraining order while you pursue legal action. A restraining order could make it illegal for the individual to contact you, approach you in person or visit your children. However, restraining orders do have their limits.

What happens when the court grants a restraining order?

A protection order makes it illegal for an abusive partner to contact you. This includes approaching you in person as well as calling you, emailing you or messaging you on social media. The law also forbids this person from contacting your children, relatives or roommates. He or she can’t approach your house, school or place of work without potentially being arrested.

Many people don’t realize that a restraining order could also require the individual to move out of your house, pay child support or return property that he or she has taken from you. A restraining order could also require an abuser to relinquish his or her gun ownership. If your partner is abusing you, a domestic violence attorney could help you request a restraining order to keep you and your family safe.

However, there is one thing that a restraining order can’t do: end your relationship. If you’re married, a restraining order does not automatically divorce you from your spouse. You’ll have to go through divorce proceedings if you want to split from an abusive spouse.

How can you get a restraining order?

An attorney could help you figure out if your situation calls for a protection order and fill out the necessary paperwork. You may be able to add additional orders that require your partner to give up his or her property, move out of your house, pay back debts, stay away from your pets or pay spousal support.

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