What are the Different Types of Restraining Order Forms?

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  • Originally Written By: Florence J. Tipton
  • Revised By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2020
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In general, there are three different types of restraining order forms: those for temporary orders, emergency orders, and permanent orders. There can be some variance when it comes to what’s available where, and different jurisdictions may have alternate names for each form. Some may even have additional varieties available, depending on the circumstances. Almost every place allows for both short and long-term orders, though, and emergency orders are usually issued when someone seems to be in immediate danger. The forms needed for each type are usually pretty similar. Applicants need basic information both on themselves and on the person from whom they want to end contact, and there must usually be some sort of judicial review, too. Except in emergency situations, it’s common to face some sort of waiting or processing period, and one or both parties may also need to appear before a judge.


Restraining Order Basics

Restraining orders are legal tools that are used to prohibit a person or group of people from contacting another. They’re usually filed in court and are enforceable by both the courts and the police — people who violate the order are usually subject to arrest and might also be brought up on civil charges. These orders don’t just happen, though. People have to apply for them, and doing so usually requires a series of forms. Lawyers are often the ones to fill these out on behalf of clients, but in most places individuals can also access them, fill them out, and file them, all on their own.

Required Information

The information required on each type of form is essentially the same. It must usually include the names of the accuser and the accused. A full description of the incident that prompted the need to seek a restraining order is also usually required, as well as the names and contact information for any witnesses or references who can verify the applicant’s statement of events.

Generally, the accuser must file the complaint with the legal authority responsible for processing restraining orders. In most cases this is a county, city, or other local court. The filing becomes an official, legal recognition by the authority that unwanted behavior occurred between the accused and accuser. Once the forms are completed, a judge will usually issue a ruling to either validate or dismiss the claim.

Temporary Restraining Orders

People typically use temporary forms to stop behavior in the short-term. These sorts of restraining orders are usually valid for about a month or so, and are usually best for situations where the hostility between two people is expected to be over pretty quickly. These are some of the easiest forms to file, and can usually be resolved with a brief hearing before a judge. The judge may require both parties to be present, though in many instances the applicant is the only one required to appear.

In Emergency Situations

Emergency restraining order forms are used to provide immediate protection from behavior that is unwanted or inappropriate. A law enforcement official could make the request to the judge on behalf of the accuser, which means that the officer may actually be the one filling out and filing this sort of form. The purpose of this particular process is to provide immediate protection for a person who is thought to be at risk of violence or harassment within the next few hours or days.

Though similar in purpose, there is a slight difference between a temporary and emergency restraining order. The judge may grant a temporary restraining order several days after an incident occurs. Conversely, the emergency restraining order may take effect on the same day the judge receives the request from law enforcement, and it often doesn’t require a hearing at all. It doesn’t last for long, though. People who want continued protection usually have to get the forms for temporary or permanent order once they are able.

Permanent and Long-Standing Orders

A permanent restraining order form is typically submitted during the court appearance for the temporary order. During the court hearing, the accuser makes a formal request for the judge to grant permanent restrictions on unwanted contact. Information in this request might include more supporting facts about the unwanted behavior, and applicants often submit entire packets of documents and other information.

In most places, the judge will decide how long a “permanent” restraining order is active. It’s usually rare for these instruments to be truly permanent; in most cases they’re good only for a set number of years. Depending on the circumstances that led to the permanent request, though, a judge can often renew the same order after it expires.


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