A restraining order is a court-ordered directive forcing someone to abide by something, not do a specific thing, or meet certain conditions. The Restraining order is also known as an order of protection. Legal consequences will be applicable if the conditions of the directive will not be met.
Restraining orders are mostly used when victims of stalking, harassment, or domestic violence need legal protection. There are usually three types of restraining orders, although each state has its own laws. There are permanent and temporary restraining orders, which are obtained by the public, and emergency protective orders, which are obtained by law enforcement officials.
How Much Does a Restraining Order Cost?
As a general rule, emergency protection orders are free. So for example, if you call the police to the scene of a domestic violence incident, the responding officers might request immediate protection order from a victim, by contacting a judge directly.
Most victims will usually request a temporary restraining order as a first type of protection order. If the victim filed for a permanent restriction order instead, the judge will decide whether a permanent one is needed or if the victim should get a temporary order instead.
Most courthouses have no issues waiving filing fees for victims in cases of stalking or domestic violence. If you’re a victim of workplace harassment, then you will probably be responsible for filing fees. Filing fees are usually between $100 and $500, although this will vary from state to state.
In Santa Fe, NM, for example, you will spend about $130 to file for a restraining order. In Santa Cruz, CA, the court will charge elder abuse, stalking, or domestic violence victims nothing, and they will be able to file for free while filing protection for civil matters or in workplace situations will cost $350.
A permanent restraining order will be put in place by a judge through a court hearing. At the time of the hearing, usually, the victim would have already requested a waiver or paid for court filing fees in full.
What should be included
Each individual situation makes the judge tailor a specific restraining order. Most restraining orders are used as a way of preventing someone from getting close to an alleged victim’s children, workplace, or home, within a certain distance. You can also use a restraining order to restrict an individual from possessing a firearm or even leaving the state with children.
You can find general information on all types of restraining orders and the process needed to obtain any of them on Lawyers.com.
It will be very important for the victim to be able to prove that the abuser has threatened physical harm or caused harm before they can obtain a restraining order.
Additional costs to consider
You will have to consider several additional trips to the court if you need to nullify, extend, or modify a protection order. When hiring an attorney, they will likely charge between $100 and $500 per hour for general legal services.
When adults have a restraining order hearing, the presence of lawyers isn’t a must. This changes when children are involved or in the case of restraining orders that might get disputed. In these cases, it is better to consult a lawyer.
You will likely spend between $50 and $100 for an initial consultation with a lawyer. The attorney’s time will be billed after the initial visit at $100 to $500 per hour, or more.
You will likely have to spend at least 5 to 10 hours of time working with an attorney for restraining order hearings. This should not only cover the time spent in the courtroom but also the time needed for the preparation of the case. Expect to spend between $500 and $5,000 for 4 to 10 hours of attorney time.
During a protection order hearing, you might also have to pay court reporter fees. Court reporters and stenographers will usually charge between $5 and $15 per page. According to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, you will be charged about $10 per page in 2020.
Although most states waive all fees in the case of restraining orders intended to protect stalking and harassment victims and victims of domestic abuse, fee waivers are usually granted to people who would have a hard time sitting this fee into their budget, like recipients of cash ads, food stamps, or other state aids.
You will also find a consumer guide with legal help including free legal aid on the American Bar Association website.
In some states, the offender will be responsible for handling court fees. Texas is one example, where the offender is responsible for all fees associated with a protective order. The only exceptions are if they are indigent or show good cause. The costs will become the responsibility of the petitioner if the restraining order is denied.
Do you need a lawyer to get a restraining order?
You will find a list of things you should know as a petitioner before asking for a restraining order on the Connecticut Network for Legal Aid website.
You can also find state-by-state information and overviews on restraining orders and how to obtain them on the WomensLaw.org legal website.