Questions About Domestic Violence and Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

1. When are Domestic Violence Restraining Orders Issued?

When a person is threatened with physical or severe emotional harm by a spouse, domestic partner, cohabitant, boyfriend or girlfriend, or close relative, the person can apply to the court, including on an emergency basis, for issuance of restraining orders to prevent harm.

In the context of the domestic violence action, a party can also obtain orders determining paternity, for child support, spousal support, child custody orders, control and return of property, and for attorney fees.

Once a restraining order issues there are mandatory orders for relinquishment of firearms.

2. When are Civil Harassment Restraining Orders Issued?

Individuals who do not qualify for domestic violence restraining orders may obtain civil harassment restraining orders, to prevent physical or severe emotional harm.  These orders are more difficult to obtain than those between parties who are relatives or have been in an intimate relationship.  An example of a civil harassment matter is a dispute between neighbors.

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