Men need to think about restraining orders as well. In these days of readily available handguns and other weapons, any physical threat must be taken seriously. Is your wife calling you repeatedly day and night? Is she calling you ten times a day at your work place? Michael’s wife could not bear the issue of being separated from her husband. Her sense of loss and fear for the future caused her to become extremely anxious and hysterical. Since she was convinced he was seeing another woman, she would call him at 2, 3, 4 o’clock in the morning just to see if another woman would answer the telephone. “I’ll kill her and you!” she’d scream into the phone. During the course of the day she would call him at his office, screaming abusive remarks to his secretary and also to him. Michael’s boss, finding him distracted from his work, spoke to Michael about the need to control his wife. Michael spoke to his lawyer about this, a restraining order was issued and the harassment stopped. Click here to visit the restraining order help center.
Legal Remedies Have Limited Shielding Power Restraining orders are pieces of paper. They are not shields. They work only when the person against whom they’re issued will abide by the orders. For some individuals, the threat of legal action and even criminal penalties are not enough to keep them away from you. Take the physical precautions you feel are necessary to protect yourself. Get an unlisted telephone number; do not tell your batterer your address. Install outside security lighting; install an alarm system; change the alarm code. File a copy of the restraining order with your children’s school.
What the Orders Can and Cannot Do For You
Court orders are useful for self-protection in cases in which the person against whom the order is issued will abide by the order, or who will violate the order in such a way as to permit police intervention. The orders provide legal protection, which means that a police officer can enforce the orders and impose criminal and civil penalties (like jail time and fines) to anyone who violates the orders.
The vast majority of people against whom restraining orders are issued abide by them. A few people feel the need to test the orders by violating them in some small way, such as parking in front of your house or calling on the phone, and a quick call to the police allows law enforcement officers to enforce the order. Click here for more information.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
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- How do I Enforce the Orders with my Spouse?
- Temporary Restraining Order
- Order for Protection: Criminal Court Relief
- More on Violence and Abuse
- If You are at Risk for Violence