Daniel J. Lounsbury Attorney at Law Willamette Valley Legal
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What divorcing spouses should know about restraining orders

Divorce and emotional distress typically go hand in hand, and for some people in Oregon, that strain may lead to unacceptable behavior. If a spouse is experiencing threats of violence, or if the other spouse is physically abusive, the Oregon State Bar explains that there is a law in place to address the danger: the Oregon Family Abuse Prevention Act.

A spouse can receive protection from abuse that occurred within the past 180 days through a restraining order. The law defines abuse as one or more of the following:

  • Physical harm
  • An attempt at physical harm
  • A threat of physical harm
  • Unwanted sexual relations through force or threat of force

The Oregon Judicial Department notes that the spouse who petitions for the restraining order may be awarded temporary custody of the couple's child if he or she meets the criteria and requests it. However, the other parent is still likely to be allowed to have parenting time unless the judge determines that it is not in the child's best interests. An exception exists, though, in that if the father has not established paternity, the court cannot award him custody or visitation time.

When there is doubt for the child's safety during parenting time, the court may require visitation to be supervised. This typically must be paid for by the parent who is required to have supervision. The parent may also be required to seek counseling, complete a parenting class designed for people who have committed domestic violence or take other steps as determined by the court.

Violence and threats are not always committed by only one spouse when a relationship is ending. It is possible for both spouses to file restraining orders if they each meet the criteria. 

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