How Do I File a Harassment Restraining Order?

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  • Written By: Renee Booker
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 28 March 2020
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When a person feels that he or she is being harassed by another person, the option to file a harassment restraining order may be available. The definition of harassment, as well as the procedure to file for a restraining order, will vary by jurisdiction, but in most cases, a restraining order is a civil order, and therefore a petition must be filed in a civil court to grant the order. The respondent will be notified of the petition and given an opportunity to respond. If the judge is convinced that it is warranted, then he or she will grant the order.

There are a number of different types of orders that a court can issue preventing contact by a respondent, including a protective order, a no contact order, or a restraining order. A protective order is the term frequently used to apply to a domestic violence situation when a victim requests protection from an abuser. As a rule, a no contact order is the term used in a criminal case when the defendant is ordered to have "no contact" with the alleged victim in the case. A restraining order is more general in nature and may apply to all other situations where a petitioner requests that the court restrain the respondent from having contact with him or her.


In order for a petitioner to convince a judge to issue a harassment restraining order, he or she will need to allege and prove facts that would constitute harassment. Jurisdictions vary in their definition of harassment, but it commonly includes a pattern of behavior by the respondent that is intentional in nature and intended to scare or bother the petitioner. Although stalking is often included in this definition, a respondent may also be found to harass a victim by telephone, by e-mail, or even over Internet social networking or blogging sites. A petitioner who feels he or she needs a restraining order should first research the definition of harassment in the jurisdiction where the order is requested to ascertain whether the respondent's conduct meets the legal definition.

The petitioner must then file a motion with the court asking for the issuance of a harassment restraining order. The petition must allege specific facts that would allow the judge to conclude that the respondent has, indeed, been harassing the petitioner and that an order is justified. The court will then notify the respondent that the petition has been filed and provide him or her with a copy. A hearing will be set at which time the petitioner must convince the court that the facts in the petition are true, and that a restraining order is needed to protect the petitioner from further acts of harassment. If the court is convinced, then it will order the respondent to refrain from continued harassment and may order the respondent to refrain from any contact at all with the petitioner.


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Post 8

My ex best friend keeps writing and posting things that are not true on her facebook and and I'm getting all types of names. I told her to stop but she will not. She tried to run me down twice in 2012. Three other cars have tried the same thing because of the things she has been posting for a year and a half. I have been threatened a million times by her that she is going to beat me up and kill me. Her boyfriend has been doing the same thing.

I am a walker, so I walk every day and I've taken the same path for two years now. All of a sudden, she is starting to complain

that I am stalking her because my house is between her mom's house and grandma's house. Can I get her for slander, harassment and threats? Can I get a restraining order since I have enough evidence on paper and recordings of her threatening me and stuff?
Post 7

@Oceana – No, you don't have to have an attorney. If you feel like you need help filing for a restraining order, you can talk to someone who works for a domestic violence program. They could probably help you understand the process and the forms better.

My best friend filed for one without hiring an attorney. There is a fee for filing the order, but sometimes, courts will help you out if you are in a bad financial situation.

Post 6

Do I need an attorney in order to get a restraining order? I can't really afford one right now, but I really need help. My ex has been stalking me, and I am afraid that he will do something drastic.

Post 5

@JackWhack – Judges can issue temporary restraining orders. My sister got one against her ex-husband, because she was able to prove that he was a danger to her, and the judge could see that she needed immediate legal protection.

She got the temporary restraining order on the same day that she went to court to ask for a permanent one. The only time that a judge would refuse to issue a temporary order would be if there wasn't sufficient evidence of danger.

Post 4

It seems that getting a restraining order takes some time. What if you don't have time, because you feel like your life is being threatened?

Do judges ever give out emergency restraining orders? It would be tragic for someone to get kidnapped or killed while waiting for the restraining order to kick in.

Post 3

@umbra21 - That is one of the reasons why anyone who seeks a restraining order for harassment needs to be absolutely clear on the terms of it. I've definitely heard of people who have managed to break their restraining order by letting the person over once or twice in order to get their things, or visit the kids or whatever and then were taken by surprise when they needed the police to intervene for some reason and they had no authority to do so.

A restraining order can be expensive and it can be a lifeline, so if you need one, get it properly and make sure that you follow the terms of it to the letter.

Post 2

@anon268035 - As far as I know, restraining orders are only good if they are enforced. So, if your girlfriend doesn't want to enforce her restraining order, you should be fine. The only reason it's a problem at the moment is because she's a minor and her mother can enforce it on her behalf.

However, you might want to talk to the police or a lawyer about this, as it probably varies from state to state and country to country. It might also depend on the type of restraining order.

My mother has one against one of my sisters that is pretty much permanent but allows her to see my sister without breaking it. There are other kinds which are broken

the moment the "victim" invites the person they have the order against back into their home.

So, yeah, my advice is to get more information about the type of order it is from someone who knows what they're talking about.

Post 1

Well i just want to know and have something cleared up. I just turned 18 last November and I have a girlfriend and she will be turning 16 in two months. Her mom put a restraining order against me.

I haven't harassed her in any type of way. It's just the fact that her mother doesn't want us to be together. I want to know if, when she turns 18 will the restraining order be dropped or does she have to go to court for it to be dropped?

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