Lancaster County Restraining Orders and Protection Orders Attorney
Restraining orders often make people think of courtroom drama and high-stakes legal battles, yet their purpose goes far beyond these stereotypical depictions of proceedings. They serve a critical purpose within our judicial system by protecting individuals against threats of abuse or harassment. They can use this legal safeguard as part of their arsenal to defend themselves from threats to their safety and peace of mind. By understanding their legalities more fully, victims can ensure that their well-being and peace are protected for themselves and their loved ones.
Understanding Restraining Orders
Restraining orders (also referred to as protective orders) are legal documents issued by courts to safeguard people against harassment by others. Whether domestic abuse, stalking, or threats are taking place, the primary goal of a restraining order is to ensure that the person who feels threatened is safe.
These orders typically prohibit certain behaviors by an individual (the respondent) against someone who requested them (the petitioner). Such prohibited actions might include:
- Making contact
- Coming within a certain proximity
- Threatening violence against them or attacking them in some form
- Engaging in violent behavior against them
Some orders even specify no firearm ownership by the respondent.
There are various kinds of restraining orders, including:
- Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): These temporary orders of protection are often issued when immediate protection is needed. They are often granted solely based on petitioner statements without the response of the respondent. They last only until a full court hearing can take place, usually within several weeks.
- Permanent Restraining Order (PRO): These are issued following court hearings where both the petitioner and respondent present evidence and make their cases. The petitioner may be granted a restraining order for either an extended timeframe or indefinitely. Otherwise, PROs typically last from 6 to 18 months before expiring automatically.
- Emergency Protection Order: Law enforcement officials in some jurisdictions can petition courts for such an emergency order in response to domestic violence incidents, providing temporary protection until hearings can take place on potential longer-term orders from courts. These typically only last a few days before being replaced by new long-term orders by the court system.
While restraining orders offer legal protection, they should not be considered the only preventative measure one should take. All individuals should still consider additional safety measures and reach out to local law enforcement or domestic violence hotlines for help when required.
How to File for a Restraining Order in Lincoln and Lancaster County
Filing for a restraining order is a critical activity to protect yourself from further abuse. Below are the general steps required for filing in Lincoln and Lancaster County. Keep in mind that specific procedures may differ. For the most effective results, it would be a good idea to speak to an attorney experienced in such matters to ensure you follow proper protocols.
- Collect Evidence: Before filing a restraining order, collect any evidence of harassment, threats, or abuse, such as text messages, emails, photos of injuries sustained, and medical records.
- Obtain the Necessary Forms: Visit your local courthouse, or its website, to acquire all necessary forms for your specific situation (i.e., domestic abuse and harassment). Your specific needs will determine which form is relevant. For example, you may need a petition to start the restraining order process or an affidavit of proof to help demonstrate why you need this legal protection.
- Fill Out Forms: Submit all required paperwork outlining why a protective court order is needed, with specific dates, locations, and descriptions of incidents that justify this need. If you are feeling overwhelmed or uncertain of yourself, seek assistance from local domestic assault organizations, legal aid services, or a family lawyer. Once completed, submit the forms to the clerk of court for processing. A filing fee may apply, depending on your locality. This can often be waived under certain circumstances, such as financial hardship or domestic abuse.
- Attend the Hearing: If a judge believes there’s an immediate threat based on your application, they may issue a temporary restraining order and set up a full court hearing within several weeks to discuss both your and the respondent’s arguments. This is something you might wish for if either party plans on hiring legal representation for themselves at this hearing.
- Receive Your Restraining Order: Once granted at the hearing, judges typically issue an order outlining all restrictions against the respondent. Always keep a copy in your possession and provide one to local law enforcement for record-keeping purposes.
- Enforce the Order: If someone who you have issued a restraining order against violates it, immediately report this action to law enforcement. This constitutes criminal conduct with serious penalties attached. The additional consequences they now face can offer even more protection.
Remember, your safety should always come first when engaging in this process. Be sure to implement a safety plan and reach out for assistance through local resources for victims of abuse or harassment in your community, in addition to your protective order lawyer.
The Intersection of Restraining Orders and Divorce Proceedings
There is a significant connection between restraining orders and divorce. This is commonly seen in scenarios where there have been domestic violence accusations. The following are some examples of how they may work in a divorce case:
- Protection From Additional Abuse or Harassment: If one spouse is accused of acting violently toward the other spouse, their partner has full authority to file a restraining order for protection. This could prevent the alleged abuser from coming within a predetermined distance of their home address. It also has the power to keep them away from where they work or anywhere else they spend a lot of time and want the order to specify.
- Temporary Orders During a Divorce Proceeding: While advancing through the legal system for divorce, a court could offer a temporary “status quo” order against the alleged abuser. This can help protect any martial assets or children that might be negatively influenced without an order in place. For example, it could prevent your partner from taking out a ton of money from a joint bank account or selling property that you both own together.
- Child Custody and Visitation: A restraining order will be a point of discussion in any cases where children are in the middle of a domestic violence allegation or if there is any suspicion of child abuse. The court will prioritize this to keep the child safe. This is especially true when they are making decisions on custody and visitation schedules. For example, they could decide that one parent is only allowed a limited amount of time to see their child post-divorce. In extreme cases, they could be prevented from seeing a child completely.
- Finalizing the Divorce: Once a divorce is over, it does not automatically mean that a restraining order expires. Depending on the terms, it could last for many years after the divorce or even indefinitely. This could have severe implications for the details of how custody, spousal support, and property division are played out.
By closely examining the concept of restraining orders and the process of divorce, you will quickly see how confusing the details can be. Legal advice from an experienced family law practitioner can significantly increase the speed and level of protection you have during and after divorce.
How a Family Lawyer Can Help With Restraining Orders
There is no doubt that having a family lawyer around during personal issues like domestic abuse and divorce can be valuable. They are formally trained in family law and the different negotiation tactics and tools available to resolve these conflicts.
First, they have a grasp on how to navigate the emotional complexities of these cases to stay focused on the desired outcome. No matter how difficult the process may get, taking on a ton of the legal burden while you cope with the divorce can be a huge relief. They prioritize their clients to make sure that they are always available to hear your concerns and adjust any of their strategies as new information unfolds throughout the process.
Formalizing a protective order also requires their assistance. The initial request will need to be reviewed by your attorney to make sure that there are no missing details that would delay your protection. In the courtroom, they can also serve as your advocate against the defense to make sure the outcome prioritizes your safety. There could be a lot of creative refuting against the prosecution to try to find holes in your accusation. Being able to hire an attorney who has a history of combating points and creatively negotiating can ensure that you are maximizing your odds of success. These are only a few concrete examples of how restraining order attorneys can make a difference in how fast and secure you feel moving forward.
Contact Stange Law Firm Today
If you need protection from violent crimes, and would like to explore the possibility of a restraining order, seek abuse protection at Stange Law Firm today. We are a team of family attorneys who work directly with victims of various acts of violence. Our compassion and motivation for a safer community in Lincoln drive us every day to help people just like you. Contact us now.
Lancaster County (Lincoln), Nebraska Office (402-204-5002): 421 S. 9th St., Suite 205, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508