How to Vacate an Order of Protection

By Stephanie Mojica

An order of protection, also called a restraining order or protective order, is when someone is legally barred from contacting you. Most states also forbid the person from attempting to get in touch with you indirectly through your friends, family members, and business associates. Orders of protection are usually only issued to those who have been victims of domestic violence or some other type of abuse, according to WomensLaw.org. Sometimes the people involved in a restraining order are able to resolve their differences and want to try to resume their relationship. In such cases, it is necessary for the person who took out the protective order to petition the court for its dismissal.

Call the clerk's office of the courthouse at which you obtained the order of protection to find out what hours it can handle a motion to vacate. The usual division is civil court. If someone such as a lawyer, police officer, social worker, or domestic violence counselor advocated on your behalf, contact this person to start the process of getting your restraining order dismissed.

Visit the courthouse during the appropriate hours.

Ask the clerk for paperwork to vacate an order of protection. Getting restraining orders is a free service every state of the United States and it usually does not cost anything to get one reversed.

Fill out the forms thoroughly. You will be asked to provide your full identifying information as well as any data you have on the other party. Ideally you will have the other person's Social Security number, but a full name, current address, physical description, and date of birth will usually suffice. The form will also likely ask why you want the order of protection vacated.

Wait for the clerk to review your paperwork. Usually you will also need to speak to a judge or magistrate. Some courts require you return within seven days for a hearing. Whether you speak with a representative of the court system that day or at a future date, you will be asked if you are being intimidated by the other party into vacating the order of protection. Whomever you speak with will also want to make sure you understand that once the order is reversed, the other person can legally contact you and see you, and could choose to resume his or her threats of violence against you.

Keep copies of the order of dismissal once your request is approved. A law enforcement representative normally personally serves the other party. Once the restraining order is vacated, the other person is not at legal risk for being in contact with you. If violence or threats resume, you will still be able to go back to court and seek a new order of protection.

About the Author

Stephanie Mojica has been a journalist since 1997 and currently works as a full-time reporter at the daily newspaper "The Advocate-Messenger" in Kentucky. Her articles have also appeared in newspapers such as "The Philadelphia Inquirer" and "The Virginian-Pilot," as well as several online publications. She holds a bachelor's degree from Athabasca University.

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