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How long does a restraining order last?

by | Aug 2, 2021 | Domestic violence

Allegations of domestic violence can disrupt the lives of everyone involved. For an abuse victim, they can start the crucial process of finding safety and protection for the victim and their children. For the accused, allegations can cause problems in many areas, including time with their kids and even their jobs.

A restraining order is a common next step after the allegations. Restraining orders are an order from the court limiting or barring the alleged abuser from contacting the accuser. An important question either side may have about any restraining order is how long will it last?

The temporary restraining order

If you decide to pursue a restraining order, the first step is to request a temporary restraining order (TRO). You would fill out the paperwork explaining to the judge your reason for requesting the TRO. The judge reviews the paperwork and will either grant or deny the request, often by the next day. The judge will set a hearing date for a permanent restraining order, usually about 20 to 25 days out. The TRO will last until your hearing date. The TRO might cover:

  • Keeping a certain distance from locations or people
  • Not calling, emailing or texting a person
  • Limiting custody or visitation of children
  • Stating who can stay in the family home

Before the hearing set at the time of the TRO, the accused has the chance to respond to the allegations.

How “permanent” is a permanent restraining order?

At the hearing, both sides have the opportunity to argue their cases, either for or against a longer-lasting restraining order. If either side does not show up for the hearing, the judge may rule in favor of the person who is there. If the judge grants a permanent order, the conditions from the TRO often extend to the new order, including child custody and visitation issues.

Despite the name, a permanent restraining order will last up to five years. If the order affects child custody, child support or visitation, however, that may stay in effect until the child reaches the age of 18 or another judge changes the order.

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