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In Rhode Island, restraining orders are protective orders issued by a judge typically after an allegation of domestic violence or domestic abuse.  Restraining orders are commonly issued through the family court as part of divorce or child custody proceedings regarding a minor child.  If you need help obtaining a RI restraining order for yourself or a minor child or you need help defending yourself after someone has filed a restraining order against you, contact the family court lawyers at the Braatz Family Law Firm today for help.  They are available 24/7 at (401) 440-1171.

At Braatz Family Law, our seasoned restraining order attorneys represent Clients throughout Rhode Island’s legal system including in the Family Court, District Court, and Superior Court.  We understand that each of our clients have unique family law needs and goals in obtaining legal representation.  We have worked with many clients who going through a difficult time, dealing with a host of family law issues, and are seeking unique legal solutions to safeguard them from physical abuse, emotional abuse, threats of violence, sexual assault, workplace violence, or financial harm due to domestic violence or abuse.

Our protective order lawyers work with our clients to provide clear legal guidance for each client’s unique circumstances, so they are fully informed regarding whether obtaining restraining order will fit their unique needs.

It’s extremely important that you hire a law firm that has the skills required to fight for you and dedicates the time to educate you about all your legal options. The more you know about your legal options, the more prepared you will be to proceed with your case with confidence and the happier you will be with the outcome of your case. That is what our Rhode Island family law protective orders attorneys seek to provide our clients. We provide assurance that you are moving in the right direction, so you can feel confident about your future and know you are taking the right steps to address your domestic violence issues.

What Is a Restraining Order in Rhode Island?

In Rhode Island, there are several different types of restraining orders that can include an array of different provisions. There are typically no filing fees to take out an emergency protective order. Essentially, they are a legal document that prohibits the restrained person from certain actions and orders how the restrained person must behave going forward.

Why Would I Take Out a Restraining Order?

In Rhode Island, there are several different reasons for taking out a restraining order or emergency protective order. Here are some of those reasons:

  • Contacting, calling, or sending any kind of messages
  • Stalking
  • Threatening
  • Attacking, striking, or battering (physical harm, physical abuse, physical violence or sexual abuse, however it does not require you to have suffered a severe injury)
  • Destroying personal property
  • Harassing
  • Disturbing the peace of the protected people
  • Elder abuse

What Different Types of Restraining Orders Are There in Rhode Island?

  • Family Court Restraining Order: Family Court restraining orders are issued by the Rhode Island Family Court and apply when the person to be restrained is married or you have a child together.
  • Criminal No Contact Order: A no contact order is a protective order that is issued by either the Rhode Island District Court or the Rhode Island Superior Court as part of a criminal domestic violence case, such as a domestic assault charge.  It prevents the accused from contacting the victim of a criminal offense.
  • Civil Restraining Order (substantive): When the parties involved in a restraining order are in a dating relationship or engagement relationship or have been within the prior six months, the Rhode Island District Court has the authority to issue a civil restraining order between the parties.
  • Superior Court Civil Restraining Order (non-intimate): A Superior Court restraining order that is granted for individuals who are not romantically involved. For example, we typically see these orders arise during disputes between two people that are neighbors.

Restraining orders are not specific to family violence, but in our experience they are common within families and are very common in divorce proceedings. Regardless, they provide legal protections by prohibiting one individual from certain actions, for example, contact or harassment after proper notice of the order. In family law, actual examples of restraining orders include: prohibiting both parties from emptying bank accounts, taking out new loans or credit cards, or talking negatively about each other to other parties. Overall, they help to regulate the behaviors of each party, so the divorce can proceed in a civil manner.

These orders simply say stop this behavior now! If you have questions about the broad range of restraining orders in Rhode Island, the restraining order lawyers at Braatz Family Law we can provide the information you need to pursue the order as a temporary solution to your current family dynamics.  If you have questions or you don’t want to go it alone, call our law office today at (401) 440-1171.

Frequently Asked Restraining Order Questions

Here are a few of the most common questions your attorney can give you legal counsel on once you have retained them.

Question: What type of relationship does a family court restraining order apply to?

Answer: Family court restraining orders apply to family and household members. Rhode Island law defines family and household members as:
– Spouses and former spouses
– Parents who share a child or children
– Relatives, either blood or adoptive
– Individuals who live together, regardless of their relationship
– Current or former partners
– Current dating partners, even if they do not live together

Question: What is the name of the form that I need to file a family court restraining order and where can I find it?
Answer: The form can be found on the Rhode Island state judiciary webpage under the Family Court section. If you scroll to the next page of this section, the form is titled “Complaint for an Order of Protection.”

Question: Where and what is the name of the form that I need to file a civil restraining order (dating relationship only)?
Answer: The form can be found on the Rhode Island state judiciary webpage under the District Court section. If you scroll to the next page of this section, the form is titled “Domestic Abuse Complaint” and this District Court restraining order applies to individuals in a substantive dating relationship.

Question: I have a restraining order against a family member that includes a no contact provision, are they allowed to text me?
Answer: Legally, we would need to see a copy of the Court’s actual and precise Order to accurately answer this question.  In general, if a no contact order or restraining order is in place, this will make it unlawful to contact the protected party while the order is in effect. This includes all types of contact, whether phone calls, text messages, notes, mail, fax, email, through a third person, or delivery of flowers or gifts.

Question: Someone I have a restraining order against stopped by my school this week. Should I be worried?
Answer: Yes, as this is not allowed and you should report this immediately. A majority of states, including Rhode Island, implement a “stay away” order as part of the restraining order. This implies that the person in which the restraining order is against shall not stay away from you, your home, your workplace, or your school.

Question: I’m worried that the person I have a restraining order against may retaliate with gun violence. Is there something the court can assist with?
Answer: Yes. In the restraining order legal process there is the option to include “Relinquish Firearms” that most states including Rhode Island can include in the restraining order. In certain cases, some courts might be able to order the abuser to turn over any guns, rifles and ammunition he or she has.

Question: What are some other provisions that can be included in restraining orders?
– Cease abuse- order the abuser or restrained person to stop hurting or threatening you.
– Stay away- the majority of states’ orders can instruct the restrained person to stay away from you, your home, your workplace, or your school.
– No contact- to prohibit all contact, whether by telephone, text messages, notes, mail, fax, email, through a third person, or delivery of flowers or gifts.
– Exclusive use- to award you sole use of a home or car owned by both of you.
– Restitution- to pay you for medical costs or property damage caused by the abuser, for example.
– Relinquish firearms- some courts might be able to order the abuser or restrained person to turn over any guns, rifles and ammunition s/he has.
– Custody, visitation, and child support- many jurisdictions also allow the court to make decisions about the care and safety of your minor child, known as temporary custody, when you file for a Family or District Court protective order. Courts can order the abuser to stay away from and have no contact with your children’s doctors, daycare, school or after-school job and many courts can make temporary custody and visitation decisions. Some can even issue child support orders regarding the minor child within the restraining order. You can also ask the court to order supervised visitation, or to specify a safe arrangement for transferring the minor child back and forth between you and the abuser.

Question: If I have a restraining order against me that I deem unnecessary, what steps should I take?
Answer: The first event that will happen is that you will be served with a temporary restraining order and you should obey the temporary restraining order to not cause further issues with the order if you intend to fight against it. You should then contact an experienced restraining order defense attorney immediately, so that you can prepare for the hearing on the permanent restraining order.

Question: What will my lawyer have me do to prepare for the case?
– Meet with you to discuss what happened and what options you have prior to the hearing.
– Pull together any physical evidence relating to any incidents or events the petition refers to, such as clothing, photos, videos, and objects.
– Gather any documents or records that could relate to the case, such as letters, emails, phone records and GPS records, computer records, and records that might show where you were at the time of an incident, and
– Create a list of possible witnesses—include every person you think has information about the incident, the accusations or the petitioner—and obtain the witnesses’ contact information.

Question: How would the above preparation be important to my case?
Answer: If the person who has applied for the restraining order has made false accusations, you may have photos, videos, or witness statements that could contradict allegations against you or show that they are in-fact the abusive person. Even GPS records may enable you to disprove an accusation if the petitioner states you have been driving by their house.

Braatz Family Law: RI Restraining Order Legal Assistance

If you find yourself in a position where you need to obtain a family court protective order or you have been served with a family court restraining order, let the Rhode Island restraining order lawyers at Braatz Family Law Office put their experience with the Providence Family Court and the Rhode Island Family Court system and restraining order hearings to work for you today.  Even if you do not plan on contesting the restraining order, if the Court has issued temporary custody orders addressing a minor child, it is extremely important that you hire an experienced attorney who can utilize the legal process to protect your parental rights and attend the hearing in person with you.  There is a limited period of time to prepare for your permanent restraining order hearing and failure to quickly take these steps to prepare could severely limit your ability to see your minor child. They are available 24/7 for legal assistance at (401) 440-1171.  Time may be limited to file or defend yourself.  Don’t delay, call today.