Domestic Violence and Protection with Provisions

The breakdown in a relationship can cause a great deal of tension, stress and high emotion with sometimes volatile behavior, which leads to domestic violence. Whether the act of domestic violence is a one-time event in your marriage or a reoccurring pattern, it may result in the involvement of police and the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), which is often the point in time when the decision to divorce is made.

Some parties may decide that rather than going through the emotional and financial stress of a lengthy trial to obtain a final restraining order (FRO), entering into a separate written agreement which restricts the parties’ behavior in specific ways may be the best way to resolve their domestic violence case. This “civil restraints” agreement may be an appropriate alternative when the violence is not extreme or expected to recur and the parties have issues of high importance such as custody, parenting time and support which can be resolved more efficiently in a Consent Order with Civil Restraints. This is a desirable option for some litigants because civil restraints will not affect the defendant’s employment the way a domestic violence restraining order might. Some professional licenses or professions requiring the ability to possess and carry a weapon may be in jeopardy if the person has a domestic violence restraining order against them. In addition, a victim who is dependent on the offender’s continued support may opt for protection under a civil restraint agreement because the issue of ongoing support can be addressed more efficiently in the Consent Order.

The parties can agree on what goes into the order. The terms will include an order restraining one party from contacting the other or mutual orders of non-contact. In the alternative, the parties can agree on the method and frequency of contact, for example, once weekly through email or text message unless there is an emergency, and only for purposes of communicating about the children. The terms can include a visitation schedule with children. The agreement can also restrict one or both parties from going to places where one party works, lives, shops, or may likely frequent. And of course, the agreement will restrict behaviors that threaten harm to the other, such as harassmentstalking, or other offensive conduct. The agreement can also include provisions of support to be paid and address who remains in the family home.

If there is a violation of the civil restraints, the other party can petition the court for sanctions for violating the civil restraints agreement, but there will be no criminal action taken. It is important to remember that if there is another act of domestic violence, the victim can always contact the police and request a restraining order. With the help of our family law and domestic violence lawyers at Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann and Knopf,LLP we can work to ensure your needs are met and interests are protected, and you are able to reach solutions based on your unique situation.