Domestic Violence: Getting a 'Permanent' Restraining Order

By Aditi Mukherji, JD on October 07, 2013 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, as the White House announced last week. To potentially help the millions of Americans who live in daily, silent fear within their own homes. FindLaw's Law and Daily Life is producing a series of blog posts on this devastating issue as a resource for victims and their loved ones.

Yesterday, we discussed the nuts and bolts on how to get a temporary restraining order (TRO).

In this post, we'll explore "permanent" restraining orders. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Standard of proof. Generally, a permanent protective order can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story. The victim must demonstrate that clear and convincing evidence exists to suggest the offender has threatened the victim and that the permanent order is necessary to protect the victim.
  • Effective date. Permanent orders are part of the final judgment of the trial. It takes about a month to get a permanent restraining order, according to the Family Violence Law Center.
  • Duration. The use of the word "permanent" is a bit misleading. Typically, a "permanent" restraining order lasts anywhere from several weeks to many years. The duration depends on the circumstances of your specific case and your state's protective order laws.
  • Modification. At the victim's request, a permanent restraining order can usually be extended, renewed or modified with new provisions added. Such victims would need to file a request with a judge, who will then make a decision in light of any changed circumstances.
  • Termination. In some situations, a permanent restraining order can be "lifted" or "dissolved." To do this, the offender must file a request to have the order lifted or dissolved. Offenders may also be required to supply evidence of rehabilitation, such as proof of completion of a domestic violence counseling course. They may also need the victim's consent.
  • Violation. A violation of a restraining order can result in criminal penalties, such as jail time, fines, or an order of contempt.

To get an idea of what a restraining order form looks like, here's one from Colorado. For additional support, you may want to speak with an experienced domestic violence attorney who can help guide you and your loved ones to safety.

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