Restraining Order Law & Legal Definition


Restraining order is a court order restricting a person from doing something. It can be temporary or permanent.

For example, a court order prohibiting family violence is a restraining order. This type of order is issued most commonly in cases of domestic violence. The court order can prohibit a person from harassing, threatening, and sometimes merely contacting or approaching another specified person. A court may grant an ex parte restraining order in a family-violence case if it is necessary to (1) achieve the government's interest in protecting victims of family violence from further abuse, (2) ensure prompt action where there is an immediate threat of danger, and (3) provide governmental control by ensuring that judges grant such orders only where there is an immediate danger of such abuse.[ Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 92 S.Ct. 1983 (1972)]

A restraining order may be issued in a divorce matter to prevent taking a child out of the county or to prohibit one of the parties from selling marital property.

Also, a person who is a victim of harassment may seek a restraining order from the court. The person or guardian of a minor who is the victim of harassment may seek a restraining order on behalf of the minor. The restraining order prohibits harassment. A restraining order may be issued against an individual who has engaged in harassment, or against organizations which have sponsored or promoted harassment. The distance required to be maintained is governed by the language of each specific order, which may include places of work, school, etc.

Often the restrained person will ask for a mutual stay-away order. If the other party nevers want to see this person again, it may be irrelevant if they are restrained from visiting the restrained person's house. Therefore, by staying away from eachother, their needs may be met and court avoided by stipulating to a mutual order.

A temporary restraining order is an order of a court to preserve current conditions as they are until a hearing is held at which both parties are present. Temporary restraining orders typically expire on the hearing date, but local law should be consulted for specific requirements.

Restraining orders are also referred to as protection order or protective order or stay-away order.