Are you wondering how to go about contesting a restraining order?
Being served with a restraining order can be a stressful experience, but you do have options when it comes to how to respond. One option is to accept it, but you can also choose to contest the restraining order.
Here’s what you need to know about contesting a restraining order in Western Australia.
Can I Contest A Restraining Order?
You most certainly can.
A restraining order in and of itself does not constitute a criminal charge, but it can have a devastating effect on your life, so it needs to be taken seriously. Normally, you will be served with an interim restraining order, which you are entitled to contest, before it becomes a final order.
Each restraining order comes with its own terms and conditions, which will determine how you go about contesting it. Contesting a restraining order can be complicated so seeking legal advice, either from a family lawyer or your local community legal centre, is strongly recommended.
There are three types of restraining orders, each requiring different procedures to be followed.
- Violence restraining order
- Family violence restraining order
- Misconduct restraining order
What Should I Do If I Have Been Served With A Restraining Order?
You have three basic options.
- Agree with the order. In that case, you just sign the consent section on the order and return it to the Court within 21 days, upon which it will be made final, without you needing to attend Court.
- Object to the order. You fill in the objection section on the order and return it to the Court from where it was issued, within 21 days.
- Do nothing. In that case, the order will automatically become final within 21 days.
How Do I Contest A Restraining Order?
Firstly, you must fully understand the conditions of the order, so you do not breach any of its terms. Until an agreement is reached or the restraining order is successfully contested and amended or cancelled, all terms remain in force.
Once you have submitted your Objection Form, a Court date will be set. You may request a copy of the applicant’s documents, to assist you in preparing a response to the facts or allegations stated within. You will be required to provide evidence that a restraining order is unnecessary and be prepared to cross-question or be cross-questioned by the other party.
You may request the Court to totally dismiss or amend the application. The Court will make the final ruling.
Is There A Time Limit To Contest A Restraining Order?
Yes. The objection to the restraining order must be lodged within 21 days of receiving it.
Do I Need A Family Lawyer To Contest A Restraining Order?
It is not compulsory, but having a family lawyeron your side can help. Cross-examinations during the hearing can be intense. If you doubt your ability to remain calm, unemotional and objective throughout the procedure, or are not comfortable with the legal process you will need to follow to contest the restraining order, consider hiring a trusted family lawyer to handle your case.
Should your application to contest the restraining order be unsuccessful, the Court may make a costs order against you, which means you could end up paying for the other party’s legal costs too.
Can A Restraining Order Be Cancelled?
Yes, but you have to provide ample evidence disproving the applicant’s allegations and the need for issuing the restraining order.
Find out about what some valid reasons for a restraining order could be here.
The Implications Of Breaching A Restraining Order
Breaching a restraining order is seen as a serious offence and can result in a criminal record. It can lead to a fine of up to $10 000, a prison term of up to two years, or both.
Repeated breaches are treated even more seriously, usually resulting in prison terms, without the option of a fine.
If you need help contesting a restraining order, call the team of family lawyers at Hickman Family Lawyers in Perth today.
You can book a free 15-minute call with one of our highly qualified family lawyers and find out how we can help you when it comes to contesting a restraining order against you.