June 10, 2015 Also commonly referred to as a restraining order, a protective order is processed in a different manner based on the state. In each state, the purpose behind a restraining order is to keep an individual (the respondent) from approaching, contacting, or abusing the person who filed the complaint, otherwise known as the petitioner. Once a respondent gets served with a temporary protective order, a court date is then established. At a subsequent hearing, one of two things will happen regarding the temporary protective order. The order will either be defeated or be made permanent, usually granted for a length of one or two years in most cases. Here are some steps you can take for fighting a wrongful restraining order: • Retain an attorney prior to your first court date in order to increase your chances of successfully fighting the protective order. If this isn’t possible, notify the judge that you want to ‘retain counsel’ and you’ll be provided extra time to find an attorney. If you can’t financially afford an attorney, seek free legal guidance or contact your local family court for an outline of the specific laws in your state. • Prepare a key defense knowing that the only legal defense is that the facts expressed by the petitioner in the said complaint are false. Discredit any false statements contained in the affidavit by seeking documentation that can ultimately disprove their claims or offer witnesses at your hearing who can support your side of the story. • Boldly challenge the false statements and inconsistencies in the complaint by asking the witness questions during the hearing. Either you or your attorney will get the chance to cross-examine during the hearing. If you choose to represent yourself, remember there are certain rules concerning questioning that you may not be aware of. Therefore, thoroughly prepare all your questions prior to the trial in strict accordance with these specific rules. • Show evidence that you’re well-educated, gainfully employed, a law-abiding citizen, and an active and respected member of society. If you don’t have actual proof that the petitioner is being dishonest, then it’s your word against theirs. This is why it’s crucial to establish your credibility. If you’re free and clear from any past trouble with the law and have a squeaky clean record, then you can convey to the court that you don’t want your record smeared by false allegations. Overall, concentrate on preventing the restraining order from becoming permanent to begin with. On the other hand, if the order is actually issued it will likely lapse after a few short years, at which time the petitioner can choose to renew it. Some states will allow you to file an appeal. Contact us today to get started.