The Law Office of Jennifer Marshall, Esq

“Civil Restraints” the Alternative to a Final Restraining Order in Domestic Violence Cases

I know I have written on this topic before, but I wanted to refresh the conversation. I have had several clients come to me after receiving a Temporary Restraining Order. They feel their lives are over and they must either accept a Final Restraining Order or take it to trial on the issue and hope the judge dismisses it. Either way they feel neither option is a good one or a “slam dunk”.

Most of the cases I get hired for involve married couple who are already on their way to divorce. The Court offers a more safe alternative to a Final Restraining Order. It is called “Civil Restraints”. It is an agreement made between the parties which outlines terms, such as the parties live separately and only communicate by text or email. The communication is key especially when children are involved. The agreement can also work out financial issues while a divorce is pending so both parties can protect assets. Most importantly, the agreement is just that an agreement that is treated like a civil order not a criminal order. So if someone violates the Civil Restraints no one gets arrested, instead they have to file a motion to enforce it and the usual sanction is money related. In addition, having Civil Restraints means no record on any background checks. If you get a Final Restraining Order you get fingerprinted and it goes on your record. With Civil Restraints that does not happen.

Not all cases will end in Civil Restraints, unless both parties agree there can be no agreement and the parties must go through the Final Restraining Order hearing to decide.

If you or someone you know is in a situation that could benefit from Civil Restraints, give me a call.