What can a domestic violence restraining order do?

In its most basic form, a restraining order will protect you by ordering the abuser not to repeat the abuse that made you get the restraining order in the first place. In most states, however, restraining orders also require the abuser to stay away from you and not contact you in any way.

In some states, restraining orders can do much more than that. They can order the abuser to move out of a home that you two share. They can also make orders regarding personal property. For example, the judge may require the abuser to turn over the car, furniture, checkbook, clothes or important papers to you. Through “restitution” orders, some states also allow judges to make the abuser pay you for any medical bills, lost wages, damaged personal property or other expenses resulting from the abuse.

In most states, judges can also require the abuser to go to counseling and can award attorneys fees to the victim.

Many states also allow judges to make family law orders, including custody, visitation and child or spousal support, as part of a domestic violence restraining order if you and the abuser have children together.

Finally, some states allow a member of your family or household to be protected by your restraining order, if the family or household member was also abused and/or threatened by the abuser.

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