How Does a Restraining Order Affect Child Custody? How It Can Affect Your Child Custody Rights

A restraining order is a legal order that prohibits an individual from contacting, approaching, or harming another person, group, or entity.

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Restraining orders are often issued in cases of domestic violence, harassment, stalking, assault, or sexual assault.

Restraining orders can have a significant impact on child custody arrangements, especially if the parents are separated or divorced.

In this article, we will discuss how restraining orders affect child custody, and what steps parents can take to protect their rights and their children’s best interests.

Types of Restraining Orders

There are different types of restraining orders that vary in duration, scope, and enforceability. Some of the common types of restraining orders are:

1.Temporary restraining order (TRO)

A TRO is a short-term order that lasts until a court hearing, where the judge will decide whether to issue a longer-term order.

It  can be obtained without notifying the other party, and can be issued within hours or days of filing a petition.

A TRO can include provisions for child custody and visitation, as well as other protections for the petitioner and their children.

2.Emergency protective order (EPO)

An EPO is a type of TRO that is issued by law enforcement officers at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

It  is effective immediately and lasts for up to a week.

An EPO can also include provisions for child custody and visitation, as well as other protections for the victim and their children.

3.Permanent restraining order (PRO)

A PRO is a long-term order that is issued after a court hearing, where both parties have an opportunity to present evidence and arguments. A PRO can last for years or indefinitely, depending on the circumstances of the case.

It can also include provisions for child custody and visitation, as well as other protections for the petitioner and their children.

READ ALSO : Can I Sue My Divorce Attorney? What You Need To Know

Effects of Restraining Orders on Child Custody

A restraining order can affect child custody in several ways, depending on the type of order, the terms of the order, and the existing custody arrangements. Some of the possible effects are:

Loss of custody

A restraining order can cause the restrained parent to lose custody of their children, either temporarily or permanently.

The court may award temporary or sole custody to the protected parent, if it finds that the restrained parent poses a risk of harm to the children or interferes with their welfare.

It may also consider the restrained parent’s history of violence, abuse, neglect, substance abuse, mental health issues, or criminal activity when making custody decisions.

Loss of visitation

A restraining order can also cause the restrained parent to lose visitation rights with their children, either partially or completely.

The court may limit or deny visitation to the restrained parent, if it finds that the visitation would endanger the children or expose them to violence or abuse.

It  may also impose conditions on visitation, such as requiring supervision, counseling, drug testing, or other interventions.

Modification of custody

A restraining order can also trigger a modification of existing custody orders, if there is a significant change in circumstances that affects the children’s best interests.

The court may modify custody orders to reflect the current situation and protect the children from harm.

Steps to Take When Facing a Restraining Order and Child Custody Issues

If you are involved in a restraining order case and have child custody issues, you should take the following steps to protect your rights and your children’s best interests:

Consult a lawyer

A lawyer can help you understand your legal options and represent you in court.

The lawyer can also help you gather evidence and witnesses to support your case.

A lawyer can also advise you on how to comply with the terms of the restraining order and avoid violating it.

Follow the court orders

You should follow all the court orders regarding the restraining order and child custody.

Contact, approach, or harm the protected person or their children, unless you have permission from the court.

You should also follow any conditions or restrictions on your custody or visitation rights.

Violating a restraining order or a custody order can result in serious consequences, such as criminal charges, fines, jail time, or loss of parental rights.

Seek help

You should seek help from professional or community resources if you need assistance with your situation.

Seek support from family members, friends, or other trusted people who can help you cope with your situation.

Conclusion

A restraining order can have a significant impact on child custody arrangements, especially if the parents are separated or divorced.

Restraining order can cause the restrained parent to lose custody or visitation rights, or trigger a modification of existing custody orders.

If you are involved in a restraining order case and have child custody issues, you should consult a lawyer, follow the court orders, and seek help from professional or community resources.

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