Questioning Your Safety? Get an Ex Parte Restraining Order

People have different reactions when they are staring at the prospect of getting divorced. Many accept the decision of their partner and cooperate, while others may react that warrants taking out an ex parte restraining order.

The hope is that you never end up in a situation where you must take out a restraining order to feel safe. Still, it won’t hurt to know about the process of requesting one.

In this article, we’ll talk at length about restraining orders. We’ll discuss ex parte restraining orders and how they are different from the standard orders. You’ll also pick up tips regarding how to file for a restraining order and how to proceed with it.

What Is a Restraining Order?

Before we can dive into the numerous topics concerning ex parte restraining orders, let’s clarify what the order itself is for. In the state of Arizona, restraining orders are known officially as protective orders.

The purpose of a restraining order is to prevent a specific person from committing domestic violence against another person or persons. The actions taken by the person named don’t have to go that far for the order to take effect, though. Protective orders are also supposed to shield individuals from acts of harassment carried out by their assailants.

It’s important to clearly define what a protective order can and cannot do.

First, you should know that restraining orders do not guarantee your safety. However, they can improve the level of safety you can have at home, the office, or school. If the order indicates that a specific person is not allowed to go near your home, office, school, or other places listed, they must abide by that.

What the protective order also does is provide you with a way to take legal action right away. If the party named in the order violates the terms, they will be held accountable by the law.

Restraining orders in Arizona are valid for one year from the original date of service. Do note, though, that the protective order will expire automatically if it isn’t served within one year.

restraining order paperwork

How Does an Ex Parte Restraining Order Differ from a Standard Restraining Order?

Standard restraining orders and ex parte restraining order are similar in terms of what they are supposed to accomplish. They are also often requested for the same reasons.

The main difference between them is how quickly they may take effect.

Typically, when you file a petition for a protective order, the court will not grant it right away. Instead, what the court will do is notify the person named as the respondent in the protective order. The petitioner and the respondent will then have opportunities to present their evidence.

After both parties present their evidence, the court will then decide whether to grant the protective order.

The issue with that process is that it can take a bit of time. If you are genuinely fearful for your safety and afraid of what the other party is capable of, every second you’re left vulnerable can make a huge difference. You may not even feel comfortable going to work or school due to the possibility that the other party is waiting there.

As much as possible, you want the protective order to take effect right away. That’s what the ex parte restraining order is for.

Once granted, the ex parte restraining order can take effect without a hearing.

The party named in the protective order will still be contacted, but the notification they receive will be a bit different. They will be notified that a protective order has been enforced against them and they will be told that they can respond during a hearing that will be set on a later date.

When Are Ex Parte Restraining Orders Granted?

The courts don’t usually like making rulings when only one side can present their case. Fairness is important, after all, and everyone should have a chance to plead their case before the courts make important rulings.

Judges are willing to make exceptions for ex parte restraining orders.

The main reason why judges grant this protective order is that they believe that the petitioner is facing an imminent threat of physical harm posed by the other party. If the judge believes that not implementing the protective order right away could genuinely endanger the petitioner’s life, it will likely be granted and served as soon as possible.

How Soon Does an Ex Parte Restraining Order Take Effect?

Let’s say that you’ve already requested an ex parte restraining order against your former spouse, and the judge granted it. Does that mean it will take effect right away? The answer to that question depends on how quickly they serve the order.

Being granted an ex parte restraining order means that the participation of the other side is not needed for the order to become effective. However, the respondent must still receive the order properly before it can take effect. The police or an authorized process server typically serves the protective orders.

Given how important serving the order is, you must be certain that you are giving accurate information to the court. The protective order can take effect sooner if the servers have an easier time finding the other party.

How Do You Request an Ex Parte Restraining Order?

The process of requesting an ex parte restraining order is pretty much the same as filing for a standard restraining order.

To get the process started, you must head to the nearest court in your area. All the courts in the state of Arizona can review and rule on protective orders, so you don’t have to worry about traveling a great distance. Notably, though, the process for requesting a protective order may vary slightly depending on the court, so call ahead of time to ask about it if you can.

Once you’ve reached the court in your area, go ahead, and speak to the court staff.

The court staff will provide you with instructions regarding how to proceed with your petition. Likely, they will ask you to fill out some paperwork.

Examples of the details they will request from you include the name, address, and birthdate of the respondent. They may also ask you if there are prior court filings that exist which involve you and the other person. The court may ask you to provide the address and contact information of the place where they must serve the protective order.

Be as accurate and detailed as you can be when providing those bits of information. Remember that the protective order can only take effect once the courts serve it. Providing accurate information will allow the other party to receive it in a shorter amount of time.

The judge will review all the paperwork you have submitted. After that, you will likely have an opportunity to speak with the judge. You and the judge can discuss your request for an ex parte restraining order in detail during that conversation.

It usually doesn’t take the court a long time to hand out rulings regarding restraining orders. Petitions are often received, reviewed, and ruled upon within the same day.

What Happens after Requesting an Ex Parte Restraining Order?

Assuming that the court did grant your petition and the person you filed against has received it, what happens next? The ball is now in the other party’s court. They will have a chance to appeal the protective order.

The respondent can request a hearing any time before the expiration of the restraining order. As soon as they let the court know that they want to appeal; the courts will set a hearing.  Often, the hearing for the protective order will take place within ten days after the other party’s response.

You will also learn about the hearing, and you must attend.

What Can You Expect During the Hearing?

Upon learning when the hearing will take place, you need to prepare. Gather all the evidence you can to show that they should convert the restraining order into a permanent restraining order.

As for the hearing itself, it can go in different directions, according to LegalZoom.

The respondent may object to the ex parte restraining order. You and the respondent must then present your evidence to the court, and a trial will commence. The judge will review the evidence and hand down a ruling.

The judge can decide to cancel or convert the temporary order into a permanent one based on the evidence presented by both sides.

Now, if the respondent shows up for the hearing but doesn’t contest the ruling, the protective order will likely become permanent. The ex parte restraining order may also become permanent if the respondent doesn’t show up during the hearing.

Can an Ex Parte Restraining Order Be Dismissed?

There are three ways to get an ex parte restraining order dismissed. Let’s talk about them below.

The Court Rules against You after the Hearing

The hearing allows you and the respondent to show why the protective order should remain or be dismissed. If the respondent makes a more compelling case and gets the court to rule in their favor, they will likely dismiss the protective order.

You Failed to Show Up to the Hearing

The respondent failing to show up to the hearing will often lead to the temporary restraining order becoming permanent. You failing to appear at the hearing will have the opposite effect. The judge will likely dismiss the restraining order if you don’t show up.

You Requested to Have the Restraining Order Dismissed

It is possible to have a protective order voluntarily dismissed. To do so, you as the petitioner must go to the Protective Orders Office.

Bring an ID with you and fill out the paperwork that they give you. The judge will dismiss the order after you finish the paperwork.

How Is an Ex Parte Restraining Order Enforced?

Enforcing a restraining order is not as simple as you might have assumed.

There are cases where the person who violated the restraining order also committed a crime in the process. In a scenario such as that, you can call the police, and they will act against the person who violated the restraining order.

It’s a bit more complicated if they have not committed a crime. You can still call the police, but they can only help you file a police report. The police cannot act against the other party because they did not commit a crime.

What you can do is head to court to file a complaint. Indicate that you want the other party held in contempt of court. They should schedule a hearing after that.

During the hearing, you must present evidence proving that they violated the order. The other party may object to that and present their evidence.

If the court rules in your favor, the other party may need to pay for your attorney’s fees and related costs. They will then have a chance to purge their contempt of court by performing certain tasks.

The court may opt not to take any additional actions if the offending party completes those tasks. If the offending party does not finish those tasks, they may be fined or imprisoned.

Can You Extend the Duration of a Restraining Order?

Extending the duration of a protective order is possible if the other party violated it. Go to the court once again and file a request to have the restraining order extended. They will tell you how to proceed from there.

It’s possible that another hearing will be necessary.

Now, if the restraining order has expired and the other party did something again that is causing you to believe that you are facing an imminent threat, you can file a request for a new order.

Filing for an ex parte restraining order can be a complicated undertaking. Seeking legal assistance before filing your petition is a good idea. Contact us at the Schill Law Group and allow us to help you make your case to the judge.