What is a Relief Order and What Does it Cover?

What is a Relief Order and What Does it Cover?

You may have read news articles about Relief From Abuse Orders being misused by people because they want to get revenge on other people or win points during a custody case. The upswing in the filing of these orders seems to have many causes. There is no filing fee or fee for serving the defendant, and a Relief From Abuse Order can be enacted within a day, whereas a Temporary Relief Order (such as the one seen in family court) can take weeks to enact. Plus, if the order is denied right away, the defendant may never be authorized to learn that the order was filed, which protects the person doing the filing. This article explains what a Relief From Abuse Order is and what it does. 

What Does a Relief From Abuse Order Do? 

As odd as it sounds, a Relief From Abuse Order tells an abuser to stop abusing you or your kids. It sounds like quite an order since people shouldn’t be abusing you anyway. However, unless the abuse contains physical harm, it is difficult to have somebody arrested and prosecuted. Even if somebody is hurling slanderous insults at you from outside your home, at the most that person will be arrested temporarily for a social charge like causing a public nuisance or some sort of anti-social charge. The arrest rarely sticks, and most people are out of jail once they have been processed. 

However, a Relief From Abuse Order adds an extra layer to the law. When somebody abuses you or your kids,(not physically), then that person may be arrested for the offense itself, for which that person will probably walk away with just a caution, and that person is arrested for breaking the court order. Prosecuting somebody for breaking a court order is fairly simple, and all that is needed is any shred of proof that the person was abusing you in defiance of the order. In fact, if the other person cannot provide an alibi, then your word against the other person may be all that is needed. 

Can I File a Relief From Abuse Order Myself?

It is best if you have a lawyer do the filing for you, but you can save a lot of money by doing some of the paperwork yourself. This is especially true for Relief From Abuse Orders because they often require many personal details and the relaying of personal experiences, which can become costly if you do it while in session with your lawyer. You can find the paperwork right here if you are interested in it. 

Will A Relief From Abuse Order Stop Any Contact?

Each order is going to be a little different. For example, you may have an order that says the other person cannot contact you at home, at work, school, in your vehicle, and so forth. On the other hand, if you have kids, the order may say the other person cannot contact you except when you are meeting to in designated areas to hand over the kids, or within some sort of contact center.

A Relief From Abuse Order can also stop the other person from coming near your place of work, or the locations where you have to work, and can keep other people away from your property. Plus, in many states, filing a relief from abuse form is free, which may be one of the reasons why they are so commonly misused by people who are looking to score points against other people in custody cases, or as a weapon to annoy the other person. 

Two Parts to Your Order

Getting a Relief From Abuse Order takes place in two parts. You must first fill out an affidavit or complaint against the other person. You may then have a temporary order put in place. In many cases, you are allowed to keep extending this order unless it is found you are misusing the system for your own gain.

You get your temporary order and are then able to go through to the courts for a final hearing. There are times when a temporary order is not given. In such a case, you may still proceed to court for a final order. A final order has a time limit, but it can be a time limit that goes for years, plus you can have it extended if you wish.  

Does it Give the Other Person a Criminal Record?

If you file a Relief From Abuse Order, the other person doesn’t receive any sort of criminal record. That person is not then deemed an abuser. In fact, once it expires, it will fade out of memory and may only be used if somebody actually holds the paperwork showing that it ever existed. However, if somebody breaks an order and is arrested, then it will go down on that person’s record. This is especially true if the person is convicted of breaking the order.


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