Restraining Orders

Many people come to the Clerk of Court in either Seattle or Kent, WA, for a restraining order after an incident in which a police officer advised them to get a “no contact”, “protection” or “restraining” order. While no contact and restraining orders can also order a person not to contact or harm someone, they are not protection orders and are used in different situations. In family law, the court enters restraining or protection orders as the criminal courts enter no contact orders.

Restraining orders are requested by the parties as part of an existing domestic case. Those family law cases can include a divorce or action to determine paternity, custody, child support or visitation. Standard mutual restraining orders protecting and restraining both parties from molesting or disturbing the peace of the other are commonly entered in family law cases. Accusations of domestic violence are particularly common when the parties first decide to separate.

When entering a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO), the court is not permitted to enter a mutual order, but under RCW 26.50.060 (4) and (5), the court is permitted to realign the designation of the parties where the court finds the original petitioner is the actual perpetrator of violence or stalking. 

A family law attorney can represent you in the restraining order hearing. We can also represent you in any related family law cases that occur at the same time. The rules for terminating or modifying a restraining order after notice and a hearing are complicated. The courts in the State of Washington have wide discretion to decide whether or


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Attorneys for Restraining Orders in King County, Washington

The attorneys at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson represent clients throughout King County who wish to file a restraining order. We also represent a man or woman who is served with a restraining order and wishes to contest the action because the allegations are false, exaggerated, or legally insufficient.

If the respondent does not agree with the requests in the motion for a restraining order, that person can hire an attorney to help them file a form FL All Family 135 Declaration that explains why the court should not approve the requests.

An attorney can also help the respondent file written proof supporting their side and proposing their own Parenting Plan or Child Support Worksheets. We are experienced in representing the respondent and the petitioner in a restraining order case.

For cases involving a Petition for Civil Protection Order for Anti-harassment, Domestic Violence, Extreme Risk, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Vulnerable Adult, contact the family law attorneys in Seattle, WA, at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson.

Call (206) 712-2756 today.


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Restraining Orders Information Center


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Civil Protection Orders in King County, WA

Under Washington State law, a person can file a civil case in court asking a judge to grant an order to protect them from another person whose behavior is seriously alarming, threatening, abusive, exploitive, or seriously alarming. 

The main purpose of the civil protection order is to prohibit the "respondent" from contacting or harming the "petitioner." Unlike other protection orders in Washington State, an "Extreme Risk Protection Order" under RCW 7.94 requires the respondent to surrender weapons, but does not otherwise provide protection to the petitioner. 

In Washington, the law provides for six (6) different types of protection orders depending on the circumstances. The law has very strict requirements for those who can seek the order, who the order protects, who can be restrained, the type of protection that can be provided, and whether any other types of relief are available. The law also sets out procedural requirements for when and where court hearings are conducted and what costs are incurred.

The court also has wide discretion when deciding how long the restraining order should remain in effect. A restraining order entered in King County, WA, can be for a fixed period or permanent unless children are involved.


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Jurisdiction over a Protection Order Case in King County, WA

In King County, the Superior, District, and Municipal Courts may issue temporary and permanent orders. The main types of protection orders filed in District Court in King County including orders related to Anti-harassment and Stalking.

Pursuant to RCW 26.50.010(4) and RCW 26.50.020(5), the District and Municipal Courts are required to transfer certain types of cases to Superior Court after entry of a temporary order when any of the following conditions apply:

      • The Superior Court already has jurisdiction over a case involving the petitioner and the respondent for a hearing in this matter or a RCW Chap.13.34 case;
      • The action would interfere with the respondent's care, control or custody of his/her child under 18; 
      • The action involves title or possession of real property, and the respondent claims an interest in that property such as ownership or right to occupy; or
      • The petitioner or the respondent is under 18 years old.

The attorneys at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson represent clients in divorce and family law cases involving accusations of domestic violence or harassment. The courts have found that domestic violence is learned behavior.

These cases often involve accusations of controlling behavior that encompasses different types of abuse. The courts also recognize that the danger to the victim and children is likely to increase at the time of separation.

It is also important to understand that in some cases, the petitioner makes false or exaggerated accusations in order to gain some unfair advantage. The courts often have a hard time separating the cases with merit from the cases that are unfounded.


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Types of Protection or Restraining Orders Issued in King County, WA

The types of protection or restraining orders issued in King County, WA, in Seattle or Kent, are subject to different statutory provisions depending circumstances alleged. Those statutory provisions include: 

      • RCW 26.50 provides for civil protection orders;
      • RCW 26.09 provides for retaining orders in dissolution and legal separation cases;
      • RCW 26.10 provides for restraining orders in third-party custody cases;
      • RCW 26.26 provides for restraining orders in paternity cases.

Definitions Used in Washington Restraining Order Cases

Under RCW 26.50.010 (2) in Washington State, the term “family or household members” is defined to include:

      • Spouses and former spouses;
      • Parents of a child;
      • Adults related by blood or marriage;
      • Adults who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;
      • Persons 16 years of age or older who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past and who have or have had a dating relationship;
      • Persons 16 years of age or older who have or have had a dating relationship;
      • Persons with a biological or legal parent-child relationship, such as stepparents or grandparents.

Under RCW 26.50.010(1) in Washington State, the term “domestic violence” is defined to mean physical harm, bodily injury, assault, the infliction of fear of imminent


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Types of Relief Granted by the Court in a Restraining Order Case

The courts have a lot of options in a restraining order case. That relief can include:

      • No contact if the order is specific as to what is restrained as provided in RCW 26.50.070;
      • Exclusion from a location requested such as the Petitioner’s residence, workplace, school, or child’s daycare or school as provided in RCW 26.50.060(1)(b) and RCW 26.50.070; and
      • Prohibition from a specified location which can include a distance from the specific locations so law enforcement can reasonably measure and enforce the provision as required in RCW 26.50.060(1)(c) and RCW 26.50.070;
      • The right for one parent to have temporary custody of the child with the other parent getting visitation as provided in RCW 26.50.060(1)(d).

In a restraining order case in Washington State, the court also has jurisdiction to award “essential personal effects” which means items necessary for a person’s immediate health, welfare, and livelihood as provided in RCW 26.50.010 (7), including the use of a vehicle as provided in RCW 26.50.060 (1) (k) and (l).


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Prohibitions Against Possessing a Firearm after Restraining Order is Served

In a restraining order case, the court in King County, WA, can require the respondent to surrender a firearm to a law enforcement officer or another person if clear, cogent, and convincing evidence shows use, display, or threat with firearm or other deadly weapon in a felony or ineligibility of respondent to possess a firearm by a preponderance of the evidence as provided in RCW 26.50.060 (1)(j), RCW 26.50.070, RCW 9.41.040 and RCW 9.41.800.

Under Federal law, a person is prohibited from possessing a firearm when:

      • the person had actual notice of the hearing and an opportunity to be heard;
      • the order restrains the person from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner or child when either:
        • the court finds the person presents a credible threat of harm to the intimate partner or child; or
        • the order contains explicit language restraining the person from using, attempting to use or threatening to use physical force against the intimate partner or child.18 USC 922(g)(8).

Most permanent orders entered in these cases will invoke the federal prohibition although it is important to note that the federal definition of an “intimate partner ” only includes a spouse, former spouse, the other parent of a child, or a cohabitant or former cohabitant as explained in 18 USC 921(32).

In the State of Washington, protection orders can also be issued in cases involving relatives by blood or marriage and dating relationships.


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Consequences for Violating a Protection or Restraining Order 

If you are served with an order of protection or a restraining order, then you should know that getting a violation is a criminal offense and any assault is a violation is a Class C felony. Additionally, a violation will result in an inability to possess firearms including revocation of concealed weapons permits. Additionally, a violation is grounds for immigrant deportation.

No matter what the petitioner says, only the court can modify the order. Doing so requires a petitioner to file a motion to modify or dismiss the order.

Modification or Termination of a Restraining Order in King County, WA

The procedures for terminating or modifying a restraining order are found in RCW 26.50.130, which requires notice and a hearing. Public policy in the State of Washington gives the court wide discretion to modify, terminate, or maintain the order.

The court will often seek to educate the petitioner about alternatives to terminating the protection order such as eliminating portions or modifying the provisions of the restrictive language.

For active duty members of the military, your service to your county might prevent you from being able to respond or come to court for the hearing. Members of the military who are served with a restraining order can ask for a stay when they become aware of the order so that they are not treated unfairly or suffer a manifest injustice.

Under Washington law, the state Service Members Civil Relief Act covers Washington state residents who are National Guard or Reserve members under a call to active service for more than 30 days in a row and their dependents. 


Additional Resources

King County Protection Order Advocacy Program - Visit the Protection Order Advocacy Program website to learn more about the procedures to obtain a protection from the alleged victim's perspective in Seattle and Kent, WA, in Kings County. The program is part of the Domestic Violence Unit of the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Washington Law Help on Restraining Orders - Find information on filing for immediate restraining orders in divorce cases and with a petition to change parenting plan cases during the time when the family law case states until the date it becomes fine. The website includes sample forms for the "Motion for Temporary Family Law Orders" asking for a court order to take effect immediately, usually with little or no notice to the other party.

Washington Pattern Forms for Restraining Orders - Visit the website for the courts in Washington to download domestic restraining order forms and learn more about the hearings.


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Lawyers for Restraining Orders in Seattle, WA

The attorneys at Law Offices of Shana E. Thompson represent clients in Civil Protection Order hearings for Antiharassment, Domestic Violence, Extreme Risk, Sexual Assault, Stalking, and Vulnerable Adult.

Our attorneys represent both the petitioner or the respondent in cases asking for an order of protection throughout all of King County including the courtrooms in Seattle and Kent. We also represent clients in Snohomish County to the north and Pierce County to the south.

Call (206) 712-2756 today.

This article was last updated on Friday, October 13, 2017. 

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