How to Vacate an Order of Protection

An order of protection is a court document issued to stop one person from behaving in a certain way to another person. These orders are used mostly to protect individuals in abusive relationships of any kind, whether familial or romantic. They apply to all kinds of domestic violence, not just physical abuse, but emotional or mental abuse as well. Vacating an order of protection can be complicated.

Details About Orders of Protection

As the order of protection is issued by a judge, its job is to declare these abusive actions illegal in a way that means violation of the order can result in arrest and jail time. The idea is that attaching penalties to the abusive behavior will prevent that individual from continuing with the abuse. An order of protection and a restraining order are very similar. Although they aren’t identical, they both try to stop harmful actions from occurring through a legal order.

Read More: How to Remove an Order of Protection

Orders of protection can cover a range of activity, including:

  • Telling an individual to stop abusing his spouse, relative, friend or children.
  • Ordering an individual to have no contact with the specific party or parties.
  • Ordering the individual to leave the home.
  • Deciding the extent of shared custody to be allowed.
  • Ordering an individual to pay certain shared expenses. 

The first step is called an ex parte order of protection. This is a temporary document meant to address immediate danger while the suspected abuser is served notice of the filing. The second step is a full order of protection, during which both parties have the right to speak to the judge and make their cases known. Based on the evidence and the threat, the judge will decide the extent of the protective order and issue the final version.

Dropping an Order of Protection

Sometimes, after time passes, the individuals involved are able to overcome some of their issues. In some cases, the accused individual may feel that the terms are too restrictive, and he may decide to petition for the protective order to be altered or dropped.

In other cases, the individuals are able to work things out, and the protected individual will petition for the court order to be vacated, or dismissed. Both types of cases require the filing of paperwork, and they will often require another court appearance to address the judge.

Remember that vacating an order of protection will not affect your rights to get a new order if the other party resumes potentially dangerous behavior, according to the Center for Relationship Abuse Awareness.

How to Vacate the Order

If the accused individual is filing to modify or vacate the order, he will be required to show how the terms currently dictated in the order are too restrictive. He will also usually be asked to show proof that his behavior has changed to make him less of a potential danger to the parties included in the order of protection or to show proof that the initial charges were not as extreme as believed.

For example, an individual issued an order of restriction that forbids him from seeing his children may want to file an appeal for visitation rights. If he can make a case, the judge can amend the order to include visitation rights under certain conditions.

Motion to Vacate a Protective Order

If the individual who initially filed for protection asks for the order of protection to be vacated, she is often asked to confirm that she isn’t being coerced or threatened into dissolving the protective order. If she agrees that she is no longer in danger, the judge will often declare the order vacated if he feels the reasons to dismiss a restraining order are valid.

Both situations follow the same process. The individual looking to make the change needs to obtain the correct paperwork, which can be found at a county clerk office, online or through a personal lawyer.

She’ll then file the paperwork with the appropriate legal body and wait to hear from the judge in question as to the next steps and what she’ll need to have for the process to continue. She may need to file a restraining order removal letter. She should not bring the other party when getting a restraining order reversed. This can create legal problems for the other person and also create the impression that she is being forced into dismissing the restraining order.

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