Being harassed or stalked by someone can be seriously bothersome, frightening, and at times, traumatic. It’s comforting to know that there are legal actions you can take to force your harasser to leave you alone.
One of the best ways to force a harasser away from you is by obtaining a restraining order against them. As defined by the Oregon State Courts, “A restraining order is a court order to protect your physical safety.”
Keep reading to learn how you can obtain a restraining order.
What a Restraining Order Can Do
A restraining order can do a couple of things, such as:
- Tell the other person (the “respondent”) to move
- Specify locations where the respondent may not go
In addition, you may also file a petition that includes other things that you can request if you believe they will aid in your safety. In your petition, you may request the court to order the respondent an inability to have guns.
Restraining Order Requirements
Not just anyone can obtain a restraining order against another person. According to the Oregon State Courts, the following requirements must be met for you to obtain a restraining order:
You and the respondent must be at least 18 years of age
- If you’re younger than 18, the respondent must be at least 18 years old AND BE
- your current or former spouse or Registered Domestic Partner OR
- someone who has (or had) a sexually intimate relationship with you
- The respondent must be:
- Your current or past spouse or Registered Domestic Partner OR
- Someone you live with in a sexually intimate relationship (or used to) OR
- Someone you have a sexually intimate relationship with (or did during the last 2 years) OR
- A relative by blood, marriage, or adoption OR
- The parent of your child
- In the past 180 days*, the responded must have:
- Physically injured you OR
- Tried to physically injure you OR
- Made you afraid that he or she was about to physically injure you OR
- Commanded that you have sexual relations against your will through the use of force or threats of force
(*Any time period when the respondent was in jail or lived 100+ miles from your home does not count as part of the 180-day period. This means you may still be able to get a restraining order even if it has been more than 180 days since you were abused.)
#4: Ongoing Danger
- You need to be in ongoing danger of abuse at any moment (“imminent danger”)
- The respondent needs to be a threat to the physical safety of you or your children
Where to File
You’ll need to file in the county where either you or the respondent resides. Visit www.courts.oregon.gov/courts/Pages/default.aspx for court contact information.
#1: File the Paperwork
The process of obtaining a restraining order begins with you filling out and submitting the following forms:
- Petition for Restraining Order to Prevent Abuse
- Confidential Information Form (CIF) - file one for you AND the respondent
- Notice of Filing of Confidential Information Form (CIF)
- Restraining Order to Prevent Abuse
#2: Your Hearing
Once your petition is filed, you’ll learn where to go for your hearing. If your order is granted, you’ll receive copies.
A copy will need to be delivered (“served”) to the respondent by a sheriff’s deputy. The court will send a copy of the order to a sheriff for service.
While you’re not allowed to serve the documents yourself, you can have a private process server or any competent adult do it. The server must complete a certificate of service and file it with the court.
The respondent is given 30 days to request a hearing objecting (“contesting”) the order. If the respondent requests a hearing (called an Exceptional Circumstances hearing), it’ll be held shortly after the request. Make sure the court has your current address and phone number so that you’ll receive notice of a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether the order will stay in effect, and if so, if it will change in any way.
How Long an Order Lasts
A restraining order may last for one year from the date it was signed by the judge, unless it’s dismissed or voided by the court. If the judge thinks you’re still in danger upon the order’s expiration, it may be extended for another year.
Keep in mind that if you’d like to extend the order for another year, you’ll need to file the paperwork BEFORE the order ends.
You’re Not Alone
If you need assistance filing for a restraining order, our attorneys are here to help. Here at Baxter Harder, LLC, our team is highly skilled in family law matters. We’ve helped many other people obtain the protection they needed, and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t delay—contact our office with your case right away.
Call Baxter Harder, LLC today at (541) 238-9210 to speak with a Bend attorney about your case.