>  Family Law   >  Step-by-Step Guide: Filing for a Restraining Order in Louisiana
Filing a Restraining Order

Step-by-Step Guide: Filing for a Restraining Order in Louisiana

In January 2023, a Caddo Parish official, Steven Jackson, was issued a temporary restraining order following stalking accusations from a local woman identified as D.W. The order prevented Jackson from contacting D.W. and her young daughter. 

D.W.’s request for protection was filed in Caddo District Court, where she claimed Jackson persistently stalked and harassed her over the past year. She also alleged Jackson sent unsolicited text messages to her 9-year-old daughter. Furthermore, D.W. stated Jackson disregarded her multiple requests to cease contact and even cut her home’s AC cord.

D.W. supplied evidence in the form of screenshots showing messages from Jackson, including an instance where he asked her daughter to delete his texts. She also reported an occasion where Jackson visited her home uninvited and shared proof of a cash transfer from Jackson, which she returned.

A restraining order is a legally binding mandate from a court designed to protect an individual from threats, abuse, or harassment. Typically, these orders are issued when there’s substantial reason to believe someone’s safety or well-being is at risk. With this protection in place, the individual seeking the order can have some peace of mind, knowing a legal system’s backing to ensure their safety. 

Types of Restraining Orders in Louisiana: Which One Do You Need?

In Louisiana, several types of restraining orders are available, each serving a specific purpose. Firstly, there’s the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), often issued immediately in situations of immediate danger. It lasts for a short time, typically until a full court hearing can take place. A Permanent Restraining Order may follow, providing long-term protection after a court hearing has occurred. Then there’s the Protective Order, often used in cases involving domestic abuse, stalking, or sexual assault. Understanding the differences between these orders and identifying the right one is a key step. It is essential to evaluate the situation thoroughly to ensure the choice aligns with the severity and nature of the threat being faced. 

Documentation Matters: Gathering Evidence for a Restraining Order

When filing for a restraining order, having concrete evidence to support the case can significantly increase its chances of being granted. Detailed documentation of incidents forms a key component of this evidence. Keep records of all interactions linked to harassment or abuse. This can include saved text messages, emails, voicemails, or social media posts. Also, if there were any witnesses to these incidents, their statements can strengthen the case. Photos of injuries or damaged property can be of value too. It’s a good idea to maintain a diary detailing every incident, complete with dates, times, locations, and what occurred. This evidence can help paint a clear picture of the situation for the court.

Preparing a Petition

Filing a restraining order involves completing specific legal paperwork known as a petition. The petition must accurately describe the situation and reasons why the restraining order is sought. It includes information about both parties involved, as well as a detailed account of the incidents leading to the request. Louisiana provides forms to assist with this process, and it’s important to complete them fully and accurately. Use the evidence gathered to recount the incidents in detail – dates, times, locations, and what occurred. Additionally, the petitioner must specify the type of restraining order they’re seeking, be it temporary or permanent. Remember, precision and clarity in these documents assist the court in understanding the situation, helping them make informed decisions.

Where and How to File a Petition in Louisiana

Once the petition for a restraining order is ready, it’s time to file it. In Louisiana, this is usually done at the local courthouse in the parish where the petitioner or the person they’re seeking protection from resides. The petitioner needs to submit the completed forms to the clerk of court, who can assist with questions about the process, but can’t give legal advice. After submitting the paperwork, a date will be set for a court hearing. The hearing must be attended for the request to be considered. 

The Court Hearing: What to Expect and How to Prepare

The court hearing represents a pivotal stage in the restraining order process, where individuals bring their case before a judge. During this hearing, individuals are expected to justify the need for the order and present any supportive evidence. Detailed recounts of abusive incidents or threats, backed up with documentation, are typically required. The person from whom protection is sought may be present, which can be emotionally challenging. Clients and lawyers might pose questions or dispute the allegations. Remaining calm, speaking clearly, and sticking to facts is advisable. Despite the potential stress of preparation, the significance of this step in securing personal safety is undeniably paramount.

Maintaining Safety: How to Enforce a Restraining Order

Enforcing a restraining order calls for alertness and immediate action in case of violations. A copy of the order should always be kept on hand, and institutions like workplaces, schools, or apartment managers should be informed as well. In instances where the restrained individual disobeys the order, immediate contact with law enforcement is necessary. Supplying them with a copy of the order and any evidence of the violation, such as text messages or witness statements, can be beneficial. Law enforcement can then take suitable measures, potentially including the arrest and charges for breaching the court order. 

Restraining Orders and Family Law: Interactions and Overlaps

Restraining Order

Restraining orders often intersect with family law, particularly in cases involving domestic violence or disputes. For example, a restraining order can impact child custody or visitation rights. If a parent has a restraining order against them due to violent or threatening behavior, it could influence a court’s decision regarding the safety and best interests of a child. Additionally, restraining orders can play a role in divorce proceedings and may impact property rights, division of assets, and even spousal support. Hence, while restraining orders are primarily safety measures, they can also have profound effects on various aspects of family law, making their role in such situations multifaceted and significant.

If you are wanting to file a restraining order, please seek an attorney in Louisiana by calling at 504-780-8232 or contact us online.

Post a Comment

Call Now (504) 780-8232