How Restraining Orders Affect Your Child Custody Case

Child Custody Case

It’s not easy to face restraining orders that keep you from the people you love. It gets especially challenging when you’ve received one during a child custody case.

If you’re in this situation, you may wonder, ‘How does this restraining order affect my role as a parent going forward?’

As overwhelming as this situation may seem, a restraining order might not mean the end of your relationship with your child. However, it may carry severe implications for your child custody case. This article will demonstrate how.

It’ll also guide you on how to navigate this challenging period in your life. However, note that this only serves as a guide, not a substitute for professional legal advice.

Definition Of Restraining Orders

Restraining orders are legal decrees that courts issue to protect individuals from possible harm or harassment. Generally, the ruling demands you cease contact with the person who filed the order or maintain a distance from them. A judge might issue one if you face accusations of domestic violence, child abuse, stalking, etc.

The court imposes stiff penalties for violating restraining orders,including jail time and fines. These charges can get especially detrimental when you’ve already got a child custody battle in court.

Here’s how a restraining order may affect your child custody case:

Link Between Restraining Orders And Child Custody

Custody cases typically transpire during or following the termination of a marriage, particularly when parents disagree on the distribution of responsibilities for their child. Instances of child abuse accusations or a parent’s death can also instigate such cases.

The primary goal of a child custody case is to safeguard the child’s welfare. If a parent, relative, or child welfare agency deems it necessary for the child’s safety, they may initiate a custody case. The same parties may seek a restraining order against the perceived threat in such circumstances.

Now, here’s how the presence of a restraining order could potentially influence your child custody case:

It Lowers Your Chances Of Getting Custody

Courts prioritize the child’s best interests when making custody decisions, and a restraining order can influence this consideration. Depending on the specific details of your restraining order, the judge may grant joint or sole custody.

Joint custody signifies that you and your partner share equal responsibility in your child’s upbringing. Such a ruling might be possible if the restraining order doesn’t pertain to the child’s safety.

On the other hand, sole custody means that your partner assumes exclusive responsibility for your child. The court may prefer this arrangement if it sees that the child’s safety may be at risk. This is often the case when the restraining order relates to actions potentially harmful to the child.

It May Impose Limits On Visitation Rights

Your visitation rights may be affected if the court issues a restraining order. If the court concludes that you don’t pose a threat to the child, it could grant you supervised visitation rights.

Conversely, if the court assesses a significant risk associated with your presence, it may revoke your visitation rights altogether.

It May Impact Your Decision-Making On The Child’s life

An active restraining order could hinder your ability to contribute to significant decisions in your child’s life. This particularly holds true if the restraining order includes stipulations limiting your contact with the other parent or grants them sole custody.

Now that you know how restraining orders may affect your child custody case, here’s what to do when you already have one:

How To Mitigate The Impact Of Restraining Orders

Some strategies can minimize the impact of a restraining order on your custody case. Here are a few:


  • Hire an experienced family law attorney to guide you in making strategic decisions.
  • Follow the restraining order to the letter. Any violation could harm your case further and potentially lead to additional legal consequences.
  • Gather evidence to support your child custody case. This could include witness testimonies, supportive documents, or other evidence showing you’re a fit parent.
  • Go to therapy to work on the reasons that got you a restraining order in the first place, be it anger management or domestic violence. Going to therapy may show the court that you’re willing to address the issues head-on.

The strategies mentioned above could help alleviate the effects of restraining orders on child custody cases.

Wrapping It Up

Facing a child custody case with a restraining order can be tough, but not insurmountable. Consult with an experienced family law attorney to help you through the process.

They can provide valuable advice, and help you adopt strategies that maximize your chances of a favorable outcome in your custody battle. Don’t let a restraining order jeopardize your relationship with your child.