September 25, 2009

Who can get a restraining order?

As Portland based family law lawyers, we field a lot of questions about restraining orders under Oregon’s “Family Abuse Prevention Act.”  Many are interested in getting help and keeping an abusive partner or household member away. Others have been served or threatened with Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, for good or bad reasons, and want to know what to do.  People ask us how to get a restraining order, or how to defend against a restraining order.

Oregon’s “Family Abuse Prevention Act” is intended to protect victims of domestic violence and allows victims of recent abuse to obtain protection from an abuser.  There is a lot of misinformation about restraining orders, how to get a restraining order, who can get a restraining order, and what you need to show to get one.  This is the first in a series of posts to dispel some of the misinformation.

Who can get a restraining order?  I have been asked dozens of times over the last 15 years if someone can get a restraining order against the neighbor, some parent at school,  an ex boyfriend, etc. The answer is no unless the offending person is a family or household member.  ORS 107.705 defines who qualifies as a family or household member. Family or household members are:

  • Spouses.
  • Former spouses.
  • Adults related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
  • Persons who are cohabiting now or who have cohabited.
  • Persons who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship with each other within the preceding two years.
  • Unmarried parents of a minor child.

Minors have rights independent from their parents.

If you are considering getting a restraining order or receive one, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney.