The procedure for obtaining an injunction against an individual for protection against violence or stalking, commonly known as a restraining order, is fairly easy and costs nothing to file an initial petition. A judge will often grant the complaining party’s petition out of caution for the potential of future violence if an injunction is not entered. Sometimes, as part of an ongoing marriage dissolution case, one of the spouses will file a petition for protection against domestic violence from the other spouse. In many instances the respondent spouse will simply agree to the implementation of the injunction against himself or herself. This decision is made on the basis that the spouses are divorcing and they have no desire to be near the other spouse anyway, or that it would be too expensive to pay an attorney to defend against the petition. However, this is usually not the best course of action because of the consequences of the injunction being entered.
Besides being restrained from going within a certain distance from the other person, an injunction also carries other prohibitions. The respondent will be prevented from possessing a firearm and may be required to attend violence counseling or batterer’s intervention classes. A person’s ability to work in a certain career field can also be negatively affected. For example, a government worker can lose his or her security clearance just by having an injunction entered against them. One of the most under appreciated consequence of an injunction though is the effect it may have on an underlying dissolution case. Violence and the existence of an injunction are factors a judge must consider in ruling on issues such as time-sharing and parental responsibility. Thus, one spouse will sometimes file an injunction petition solely to gain an advantage in this area of the case. However, it is important to note that filing frivolous injunction petitions can negatively affect a spouses standing on such issues.
Because a judge in a marriage dissolution case has a great deal of discretion in making decisions, it is important to obtain the advice of a lawyer when one of these petitions is filed against you. The lawyers at Weber, Crabb & Wein, P.A. have the experience to effectively represent clients in domestic violence injunction cases in an effective and cost-efficient manner. If you or someone you know is involved in one of these cases, do not hesitate to call.