How to File an Harassment Restraining Order

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A harassment restraining order is a court order restricting the ability of someone to come in contact with you. This type of legal procedure is especially useful in instances of domestic violence, custody disputes, stalking or whenever you feel threatened or harassed by another individual.

Determine the Level of Harassment or Threat

Determine whether you feel harassed or threatened enough to file a restraining order. You may want to ask for assistance from an attorney or law enforcement officer to determine whether this is the best course of action for you. Remember, if you do not have sufficient cause to file a harassment restraining order, it can be easily overturned.

Contact a Law Enforcement Official or an Attorney

Ask a law enforcement official or attorney how to file a harassment restraining order in your particular jurisdiction. While the procedures may vary slightly, depending upon where you live, generally you will have to fill out specific forms for the restraining order and file them with a city or county clerk. While most restraining order forms come with directions on how to file the paperwork, you may want to have an attorney or law enforcement official review the paperwork with you.

Note that it will be Temporary Initially

Note that the initial harassment restraining order will be a temporary restraining order (TRO), with an expiration date that will occur anywhere from five to 15 days after the filing date. This gives the court a chance to review the order, and to decide whether or not to make it a permanent restraining order (PRO).

Decide Whether to Pursue a Permanent Order

Decide whether you want to pursue a permanent harassment restraining order after you file the TRO. In many cases, a PRO will not be filed, especially in cases of domestic disputes, where one of both parties may reconsider. If you decide to file a PRO, however, it may be wise to hire an attorney to protect your interests and to make sure the court hears your case properly.

Refuse Contact with Restrained Party

Refuse any contact with the restrained party after you file the harassment TRO. By appearing unsure about your own desire to be protected, you will certainly sabotage any legal efforts to turn your TRO into a PRO.


  • Note that while a restraining order is usually filed under the supervision of local law enforcement officials, the scope and involvement of such officials varies according to jurisdiction. Therefore, the best way to enforce a restraining order is to deal with the court directly and let a judge instruct law enforcement on how to assist you.

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