Restraining orders can be a necessary legal step to take when dealing with a threatening neighbor.
But they raise questions – if you get an order against your neighbor, could it force them to move away? Yes. Whether a restraining order results in someone moving depends on the evidence provided and the specific terms of the order.
I aim to shed some light on this complex legal situation. Let’s break down what’s needed to get an order, whether it can compel your neighbor to move, and other key factors to understand.
What type of proof do I need to support a restraining order?
Getting a restraining order approved requires solid proof that it’s genuinely needed. You can’t just waltz into court, ask for a protective order, and expect it to be granted.
You need evidence to demonstrate you’re in immediate danger if the order isn’t issued.
Here are the main forms of proof that can support a restraining order:
- Documentation of abuse or harassment – Keep detailed logs of all disturbing incidents, including dates, times, locations, witnesses, and exact threats or actions taken. Save any threatening voicemails, texts, emails, social media posts, etc. This documentation is vital.
- Witness statements – If anyone else observed the harassment firsthand, their testimony could provide necessary third-party corroboration. Witnesses can submit sworn written statements or testify at the court hearing.
- Physical evidence – Photos, videos, recordings, documentation of injuries…anything tangible that proves what occurred. Many phones have voice memo apps to record audio discreetly.
The more credible evidence you can compile, the better your chances of convincing the judge to issue the restraining order.
Don’t hold back on providing every piece of proof you have. It could mean the difference between getting approved or not.
If you get a restraining order on a neighbor, do they have to move?
Whether a restraining order forces your neighbor to move away depends on the specific terms of the order and the distance between your homes.
In some cases, yes – a restraining order can require your neighbor to move if:
- The order states they must stay X distance away from you at all times to prevent stalking or domestic violence.
- X distance is further than the space between your houses.
However, your neighbor may NOT need to move if:
- The required distance is less than the gap between your homes.
The bottom line: It varies based on the unique terms in the restraining order and the measured distances.
Carefully read the order and assess the distances. This will determine if relocation is necessary for your neighbor to comply with the restrictions.
The specifics of each case differ.
But understanding the general principles can help set proper expectations if you find yourself pursuing a restraining order. Consult an attorney for legal guidance on your individual situation as well.
Can I go close to the person I have a restraining order against?
Once the restraining order is issued against your threatening neighbor, you may wonder – can I still go near them if I want or need to?
The answer is yes, you can go near or contact them if you choose. Here’s why:
- The order only restricts the actions of the restrained person, not yours.
- You cannot violate an order that’s imposed on someone else.
However, contacting the restrained person could backfire by:
- Raising questions about the validity and necessity of the order.
- Potentially impacting the police and judge’s decision to extend the order of protection.
- Providing opportunities for the restrained person to violate the order by contacting you.
The bottom line – it’s legally permissible but not advisable. You risk weakening your case and protections.
Of course, if they contact you in any way prohibited by the order, that is a violation on their part. But avoid giving them openings to do so.
Getting a restraining order is meant to create distance and prevent harassment. Undermining that defeats the purpose. Consult your attorney before making any risky decisions.
Can a restraining order be dropped?
Let’s say after getting the restraining order due to a neighbor dispute or potential eviction, the situation with your neighbor improves. They move away, or you have a change of heart. Can you retract or invalidate the order?
The answer is yes, a restraining order can be dropped – but only with the court’s approval. Here are some key points:
- You must appear before the judge and provide reasons for wanting to dissolve the order.
- It does not automatically become invalid if circumstances change between you and the restrained person.
- Do not resume contact until the order has been officially lifted. That could still be considered a restraining order violation.
- Work with your lawyer to file the proper motions and go through formal retraction channels.
- Get written confirmation when approved so you have proof the order is no longer active.
Don’t take any actions to undermine or disregard the order until the court has fully nullified it. That protects you from potential legal penalties down the road.
Restraining orders provide important protections. But they can be removed if no longer necessary – the right way, through the justice system.
Dealing with a threatening neighbor and pursuing a restraining order is stressful. I aimed to provide some clarity on key questions like whether the order can force your neighbor to move, contacting them after the order, and dissolving the order if desired.
Here are some final takeaways:
- Gather solid evidence of danger to support getting the order approved.
- The order terms and distance between homes determine if relocation is required.
- You can legally go near the person, but it is risky and ill-advised.
- Get a judge’s approval before invalidating an active order.
While I’m not a legal expert, I hope these insights help set expectations and empower you to make the safest decisions. Restraining orders can provide needed protection but also carry complexity.
Consult experienced attorneys to understand how the laws in your state apply to your unique situation. With the right guidance, you can determine the best course of action to stop a neighbor’s harassment and feel safe again.