April 4, 2011

Grounds For Stalking Protective Orders

As part of my Portland Oregon based divorce practice, I get a lot of questions from clients about limiting or preventing contact between themselves or a family member and another party for safety reasons.  We’ve posted 4 previous articles on domestic violence restraining orders:

  1. Case Law – Definition of Abuse in a Restraining Order Case.
  2. What do you have to show to get a restraining order?
  3. Who can get a restraining order?
  4. New Case Law:  Restraining Orders, easy to get, but harder to keep?

The statutory definition of who can get a domestic violence restraining order is narrow, and require a family or household relationship between the petitioner and respondent.  Many times we see people that have serious safety concerns about a third party, but they are ineligible to get a domestic violence restraining order. What if the harassing party is the ex’s new girlfriend or boyfriend or spouse?  Unlike domestic violence restraining orders, Stalking Protective Orders don’t restrict who can apply based on the type of relationship the applicant has with the perpetrator.

The requirements for a Stalking Protective Order are:

  1. The Respondent has engaged  intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly in repeated and unwanted contact with the applicant or a member of the applicant’s immediate family or household.
  2. The Respondent knew or should have know that the repeated contact was unwanted
  3. The Petitioner was alarmed or coerced by this unwanted contact
  4. It is objectively reasonable for a person in Petitioner’s situation to have been alarmed or coerced by respondent’s contact.
  5. The contact caused petitioner reasonable apprehension regarding the Petitioner’s own personal safety or the safety of a member of his  or her immediate family or household.
  6. Respondent represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the person to be protected by the stalking order.

If the contact was a communication, the threshold for obtaining a stalking order is higher.

If you have serious safety concerns about a third party’s behavior and don’t qualify for a domestic violence restraining order, talk to a lawyer about whether a Stalking Protective Order can give you protection.