Modifying Restraining Orders
Restraining orders are meant to protect individuals who fear violence from another individual, often their former spouse. Many people obtain these after breakups or divorces, especially if they experienced abuse in their relationship. Because situations may change over time, however, courts allow you to file a petition to modify your restraining order. That said, modifying a restraining order can be a confusing and complex legal process.
Why Modify Your Restraining Order
If you are the one who filed the restraining order, there are many reasons why you may seek to modify it. After you file a restraining order, it is valid for 30 days until you have a formal hearing in court to establish a more permanent order that may last up to 12 months. After this order is issued, however, your circumstances may change and you may wish to modify the stipulations of the order. You may wish to increase the duration of the order, for example, or change the specifics of what the restrained party can and cannot do. Such changes can be accomplished by working with a reputable attorney who can file a Motion to Modify on your behalf.
You might also decide that you wish to have the restraining order removed. It is not uncommon that after two people stop fighting, they wish to resolve their differences or even reconcile their relationship. Your restraining order is still in full effect, however, until you file to modify your order and gain the court’s approval. If you fail to do so, your ex might face legal consequences for violating the agreement.
In most cases, however, Motions to Modify are used by the person who the restraining order was filed against in order to alter its stipulations and reduce its consequences. If you face a restraining order, you can go before the court and ask that the order be changed if it is too broad, meaning that it does not provide enough specific guidelines. You might also do so if the order is too burdensome, meaning that it impedes your ability to carry out necessary tasks or duties in your everyday life. Furthermore, if you feel that the order is no longer necessary because you have attended therapy or made other significant life changes, you might also wish to file a Motion to Modify in order to make the restraining order less strict or harsh. Additionally, if you feel that you did nothing to prompt a formal restraining order and can prove your innocence, your lawyer can present this information to a judge to fight against your initial restraining order.
How to Modify a Restraining Order
In order to modify a restraining order, you must file a Motion to Modify, typically with the help of an attorney. There are special forms that you must fill out in order to clearly explain how you wish to modify your restraining order. In approaching this process, it is important that you seek experienced legal counsel to ensure that you thoroughly and knowledgeably complete each step of the process. After your motion is filed, a court hearing is scheduled, and each party must come to court to provide their testimonies. A judge will listen to your case and make a decision based on your petition. Modifying a restraining order can only be done through a court hearing.
In reviewing your petition, the court will consider a number of factors. The judge will assess the present nature of your relationship, including details such as the proximity of your residences or any shared parenting responsibilities, in order to determine whether or not the current restraining order is suitable.
The judge will also review the restrained party’s history of compliance with the order and their history of violence before and after the issuance of the order. In order to protect victims, the court will also listen to the testimony of the party who initially filed for a restraining order in case they have any objections or reasons why the order should not be modified. A testimony recounting past abuses and explaining the fear of future abuse may persuade the court against granting a modification.
Efforts on behalf of the restrained party are taken into consideration, however. If you are the restrained party and are trying to modify the order, your legal team must prove three things before the court. First, your attorneys must demonstrate that there has been a material change in circumstances, meaning that you have made clear efforts to improve your situation. As previously mentioned, this might include seeking counseling or therapy (especially if there is a history of family violence). Your current age and health status will be factored in, as well as any hardships the order may have created in your life. Second, your attorneys must convince the judge that you will not act violently towards your spouse or another affected party in the future. And, lastly, your attorneys must clearly explain how justice would be served by modifying or terminating the order, meaning that the court would be preserving your legal rights and freedom by making this change.
It is also important that during these proceedings, whether you are the petitioner or the restrained party, you do not contact the other party directly about modifying your restraining order. Doing so might violate the order, ultimately hurting your case and potentially resulting in criminal charges against the restrained party. Consequently, it is crucial to communicate with each other only through your attorneys to avoid any risk of further legal ramifications for either party involved.
Why Consulting an Attorney is Important
In modifying a restraining order, it is important to consult with a skilled restraining order lawyer to ensure that you get the best results possible. In filing your Motion to Modify, Kessler & Solomiany, LLC will strive to ensure that even the smallest details are carefully taken into account. We will work closely with you to help strengthen your testimony and to improve the likelihood of your motion being approved. Our compassionate lawyers are here to assist you throughout this difficult time. We know that the outcome of your petition ultimately affects the safety and freedom of you and your family. Contact us today at (404) 688-8810 for a completely confidential case evaluation.