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"Stay away!": Getting a restraining order

The break-up of any relationship is painful, whether it is between unmarried parties or if an individual decides to file for divorce. A person may feel hurt, anger, bitter, or betrayed. And with emotions running high, your partner may say and do things he or she wouldn't normally do. You may be wondering what you can do to keep your not so better half away from you. This blog discusses filing for a restraining order.

There are different types of restraining orders a person can obtain under varying circumstances. This blog focuses on restraining orders received during a divorce or an action filed between unmarried parents. If parties are unmarried with no children, Washington courts consider the couple to be in an "intimate committed relationship." Persons in an intimate committed relationship can also ask for a restraining order when that relationship ends.

The process starts when an individual files a petition with the court. The petition that is filed depends on the status of the couple's relationship (divorce, separation, intimate committed relationship, or unmarried parents). A petition contains a section to request a restraining order. But asking for a restraining order in your divorce petition doesn't automatically ensure you'll get one.

You (or your attorney on your behalf) file a motion for temporary orders with the court and set it for a hearing. A declaration accompanies the motion. The declaration is a written statement made by an individual under the penalty of perjury. A declaration allows the person to tell the court his or her side of the story. The declaration explains why a restraining order should be entered against the other party. A declaration should not simply state that the other person is mean to you and that you are afraid. It should include supporting facts and evidence about what the other people did and how that made you feel. Evidence could be photos of a hole punched in a wall, degrading text messages, phone records to show never ending phone calls by the other party, etc. A party is more credible to the court when that person is able to back up statements with evidence. This allows for a stronger chance of the court entering the restraining order.

The next blog discusses the types of restraints that make up the restraining order. AKIONA LAW, PLLC makes the information and materials on this blog available for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not intended to be legal advice. See DISCLAIMER.

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