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How to Get a Restraining Order in Rhode Island

Posted by Ken Barrett | Oct 03, 2016 | 0 Comments

If you feel as if your life and wellbeing are in danger, a restraining order may be the quickest option you have to gain peace of mind. Contact our office to learn more and receive a free consultation today!

A restraining order may be necessary for a number of reasons. If you are concerned for your safety and want to protect yourself, you are likely seeking to file, but may not know where to start. Below, we have shared some of the basics everyone should know about filing for a restraining order in Rhode Island.

Instead of stressing over the process by yourself, we recommend seeking the help of an experienced lawyer to help you out. We can guide you through the process and handle everything to make the experience much easier for you. 

The Advantages of a Restraining Order

There are many advantages to a restraining order and a variety of reasons a person may file for one. Oftentimes, people seek restraining orders when going through a nasty divorce. In some situations, they may request a restraining order in life or death situations such as in the case of domestic violence.

A restraining order can require the other party to cease all contact with you to put an end to harassment or other uncomfortable situations. It can also require someone to vacate your shared home, help you obtain temporary custody for your children, and more. A restraining order will also help to protect you if someone has attempted to cause bodily or physical harm to you, has threatened you, has forced you into sexual situations, or if you've been the victim of stalking.

Family Court or District Court: Where to File

If you are seeking a restraining order, you will need to know where to file for one. Whether you file in family court or in district court will depend who the restraining order is against. If the restraining order is against a husband, wife, ex-husband, ex-wife, or family member, the restraining order should be filed in Rhode Island family court. A restraining order by a juvenile or against a juvenile also needs to be filed in family court.

If you are filing a restraining order against a current boyfriend or girlfriend or an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend that you dated for a significant period of time within the prior year, but do not have a child with, you can file in Rhode Island district court. If you do have a child together, the restraining order would be filed in family court. For restraining orders against roommates, you would file in district court.

You would seek a restraining order with Superior Court if you are filing against a former friend, landlord, neighbor, or anyone else.

Types of Restraining Orders

There are different types of restraining orders you are able to obtain within family court. You can file for what is called a “Complaint Protection from Abuse” or a civil restraining order. Family court is allowed to issue a Complaint Protection from Abuse for up to three years. Violating this type of restraining order is considered to be a crime.

A civil restraining order can be granted by family court, however it does come with a disadvantage. It does not offer the level of protection a Complaint Protection from Abuse offers someone. Unlike the Complaint Protection from Abuse, violating a civil restraining order is not a crime, but it is punishable by contempt.

If you seek a restraining order via district court, please know that violating those types of orders is also considered a crime. The violation of a restraining order granted by Superior Court, however, is not considered a crime. Like a civil restraining order from family court, it is punishable by contempt.

We're Here to Help

If you need to file for a restraining order, you are likely feeling emotional, stressed, and maybe even scared about your current situation. You do not have to go through this alone. We are here to help you. Our law office is experienced in these types of situations and will help you obtain a restraining order as efficiently and quickly as possible. We are here to protect you.

If you would like to talk to us about obtaining a restraining order in Rhode Island, please contact our office today for a free consultation to discuss your options.

About the Author

Ken Barrett

Attorney Kensley Barrett is a skilled criminal defense lawyer with a proven track record in handling a wide range of cases in Rhode Island. Known for his strong background in trial advocacy and negotiation, Barrett is dedicated to providing personalized and effective representation for his clients. Recognized as a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers and with a 10.0 "Superb" rating on Avvo, he consistently achieves successful outcomes, including acquittals, dismissals, and reduced charges.


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Kensley Barrett

Our law firm was founded on the belief that working with us is more than just hiring a lawyer. Working with us will bring you peace of mind and also allow you to continue with your regular life while we attend to your legal matters. Our vast experience means that it allows us to excel in both aggressively representing your interests and generating the best possible result for you.