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Modifying or Terminating a Domestic Violence Restraining Order

A Domestic Violence Restraining Order (DVRO) is a civil order issued by the Court to protect a person or persons when there are allegations of abuse or threats of abuse. A DVRO offers civil legal domestic violence protection to both women and men victims of domestic violence. The different types of domestic violence include, but are not limited to, sexual assault (sexual abuse), civil harassment, physical abuse (including any physical threat or bodily injury), verbal abuse, and control.

There are three types of domestic violence restraining orders:

  1. Emergency Protective Order: An Emergency Protective Order can be obtained from a law enforcement agency upon response to your call to the police in the event of a domestic violence incident. These emergency orders last for five (5) business days or seven (7) calendar days — enough time to allow you to petition the court for a longer term order if necessary.
  2. Temporary (Ex Parte) Restraining Order: If you are in immediate danger and need an order of protection right away, you can request a temporary (ex parte) restraining order, or TRO, which will be in effect for fifteen (15) days, or until a full hearing occurs, which is usually three (3) weeks from the date the temporary restraining order is granted.
  3. Restraining Order After Hearing: After a hearing is held, the court may grant a long-term restraining order, which can remain in effect for up to five (5) years, and which can be extended or renewed thereafter based on the presentation of additional evidence.

After you’ve obtained a restraining order, you may ask to modify (change) or terminate (end) the orders before they expire. To modify or terminate any orders made by the Court in the long-term restraining order, you must file a request in Court before the date on which your restraining order expires.

You may ask the court to change or end any of the orders contained in the restraining order, including:

  1. The restraining orders that protect persons from violence or threat of violence by others (i.e., no contact, stay-away, or move-away);
  2. The list of persons protected by the orders;
  3. Child custody, child visitation (parenting time), or child support orders; and
  4. Spousal or domestic partner support orders.

In order to ask the Court to modify or terminate your restraining order, you must complete a request for orders and other documents, file the documents with the Court, and serve the request for order on the other party. Once you submit your request for the Court order, the Court will provide your case with a hearing date to review your request to modify or terminate.

Be aware that the Court often looks at requests to modify or terminate restraining orders for domestic violence cases with some suspicion of the aggrieved party. If you’re the protected person or party requesting to terminate the restraining order, the Court will ask questions to try to determine whether you’re still in danger or whether you’ve been improperly influenced to do so. If you’re the restrained party, most generally the abuser, requesting to terminate the restraining order, the Court will inquire of both parties to determine whether the restraining order is still necessary.

After the hearing, if the judge changes the restraining order, you must fill out a new restraining order form which accurately memorializes the changed orders. If the judge terminates the restraining order, you must complete the findings and order to terminate restraining order after hearing. Upon completion of these amended forms, you must personally serve the other party.

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and are contemplating requesting a modification or termination of your domestic violence protective order, long-term, or temporary restraining order, contact the experienced family law attorneys at Bremer Whyte Brown & O’Meara to discuss how best to prepare the necessary paperwork and to prepare for the hearing.