WE HELP FAMILIES RESOLVE CONFLICT PEACEFULLY


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Restraining Orders are not Force Fields

In tonight's episode of Community ("The Psychology of Letting Go" on NBC) one character treats his Restraining order like a force field. By moving towards the defendant, he forces the defendant of the restraining order to move away so that the defendant can stay at least 25 feet away.

In reality, restraining orders are not force fields. Although, a plaintiff cannot technically violate their own restraining order, a Judge will likely vacate the restraining order if they find out that the plaintiff has been contacting or approaching the defendant. That type of behavior demonstrates that the plaintiff is not in fear of the defendant.

In Massachusetts, M.G.L. ch. 209A provides that a plaintiff can obtain an abuse prevention order (commonly referred to as a restraining order) if there is attempted or actual physical harm or "placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm." If a plaintiff is able to approach or contact the defendant then that is strong evidence that they are not in fear of imminent serious physical harm.

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