Roe v. Wade

Don't make the mistake of thinking that all restraining orders are the same. If one has been issued, it's critical for you to know exactly what provisions it carries and how it impacts your relationship with the other party. Assumptions are so dangerous because it's illegal to violate the order, and the courts don't usually take ignorance of the specifics as a defense. Below are a few common provisions to consider.

No Contact at All

This is the most strict provision, and it means you can't see the person, call, text, or even reach out to him or her on social media. All contact is forbidden, whether it's in person or done remotely.

Keeping a Specific Distance

Even if you don't make contact, this provision means you can break the order just by getting too close to the person. The distance is set specifically in each case, but it could be something like 100 yards. This can be very limiting, especially if it means you can't go within 100 yards of someone you work with or with whom you go to school.

Peaceful Contact

Sometimes, the court will allow restricted, necessary contact, as long as it's done peacefully. For instance, your ex may have taken the order out to keep you from calling and texting or coming to his or her house. However, you may have a child together, and, if you both have custody rights, you may realistically need to have peaceful contact to talk about the child's needs or to move him or her back and forth between your residences.

Complex Restraining Orders

These are just three of the main provisions, but these orders can get rather complex depending on which state you live in and the specifics of the situtation. Other provisions could require you to move out of a house or surrender any firearms to the police. It's critical that you understand the order, understand your rights, and know your legal options if you're ever accused of breaking a restraining order.