That’s a very personal decision, and you don’t want to escalate the divorce with a restraining order if it’s not the right thing to do. On the other hand, an attorney would never tell someone who’s truly in fear, feels that they’ve been abused, and feels very strongly about it not to go get a restraining order, because abuse is very serious and attorneys take it seriously. You can still make sure that they are protected now that they’re separated, and you can still protect your client that way. The abuse might stop without a restraining order. That’s sort of what you weigh. Sometimes someone has abused your client, but that person has, let’s say, moved to California. There’s not a real likelihood maybe then that the abuse is going to continue. You can make decisions not to file a restraining order if you think that it’s not likely to continue and that the person is safe. But if it’s a recent incident that occurred where your client really is afraid, then that’s when the attorney might say, “Go file your restraining order,” because they want their clients to be protected.
Laura Schantz is a family law attorney and mediator practicing in Beaverton, Oregon. To learn more about Laura Schantz and her firm, Schantz Law P.C., visit www.oregondivorceattorney.com.