A common aspect of a divorce is an allegation of domestic violence. These nearly always come with restraining orders, which are issued by a court and demand that the two people not deal with each other in specified ways for a set period of time. Because restraining orders and domestic violence are parts of criminal law, however, each state handles them differently. As a result, there can be confusion about the law in one state versus what it is in a second state. However, while these differences can be a source of confusion, they can also be used to help understand what your state prioritizes, or considers to be more important.
Here is an example, dealing with the different lengths of restraining orders in Washington and the state of Tennessee.
Tennessee Case Decides that Restraining Orders Cannot be Permanent
In Tennessee, the court of appeals recently made a decision in the case Swonger v. Swonger about the length of a restraining order, and how long it could last from the time of its creation.
While they were married, the wife in the case filed for a restraining order against her husband, which the Tennessee courts granted, preventing him from seeing her for a year. She filed for a divorce soon afterwards, and requested that the restraining order be changed from a one year order to a permanent one.
The husband, who at that time was in jail, did not appear in court to defend against either the divorce or the restraining order, and both were issued against him. However, he did appeal the issuance of the permanent restraining order, and the Tennessee Court of Appeals heard his case.
The court of appeals sided with the husband after reading the state's family law code, which only gave a court two options when changing with the type of restraining order that the wife had gotten during the marriage. Because neither of these options allowed it to create a permanent restraining order, the court of appeals sided with the husband, putting a time limit on the order.
Washington's Restraining Orders Can be Permanent in Some Situations
The problem in the Tennessee case was that the laws dealing with restraining orders were open to multiple interpretations. In Washington, on the other hand, there is very little room to disagree on. Here, restraining orders can be permanent if they are final orders, issued by a court after a full hearing and examination of evidence presented by both of the parties in the case.
Seattle Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Steve Karimi
Because of Washington's choice to allow for permanent restraining orders, it is even more important to vigorously defend against one, or against an allegation of domestic violence. With his prior experience as a prosecutor, domestic violence defense attorney Steve Karimi has unique insight into the inner workings of a domestic violence investigation, which he can use to help get you the best possible outcome. Contact his Seattle law office online or at (206) 621-8777.