Getting a Restraining Order in Guntersville
Domestic violence is, unfortunately, prevalent across the country and, in particular, in Alabama. In 2017, across the state of Alabama, there were 32,178 reports of domestic violence involving simple assault, as well as another 4,291 “violent offenses” in a domestic setting other than simple assaults. If you have experienced domestic violence, it is vital that you report the incident to the police and contact a dedicated Alabama family law attorney as soon as possible to get help. You may be able to secure a restraining order in order to prevent future violence, threats, or harassment.
What is a restraining order in Alabama?
A restraining order is a legal document issued by a court that prevents one person from coming within a certain distance of another, in addition to other provisions. They are also called protective orders or Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders in Alabama. A protective order can include provisions protecting the victim from abusive or threatening behavior towards themselves and their family; ordering the alleged abuser to stay away from the home, workplace, and/or school of the victim and any children; requiring an abuser to move out of a shared home; or awarding temporary custody of any shared children, among other possibilities.
In Alabama, you can seek a protective order if you are facing imminent threat of physical harm, harassment, stalking, or other types of abuse.
Who can obtain a restraining order?
In Alabama, any adult can seek a protective order on their own behalf, on behalf of a minor child, or on behalf of someone who is unable to protect themselves as a result of physical or mental incapacity. The person named in the order can be a current or former romantic partner, household member, or family member.
For the purposes of a protective order based on domestic abuse, the State of Alabama considers the following to be domestic abuse:
- Harassment, threats, or criminal coercion
- Sexual assault
- Stalking, menacing, or criminal surveillance
- Kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment
- Criminal trespass
- Reckless endangerment
How do you get a restraining order in Alabama?
You can seek a restraining order from either a civil court or, if criminal charges are pending against the alleged abuser, a criminal court in Alabama. An attorney can help you file a petition for a PFA order in county court, typically in family court. You will want to be prepared with information about the alleged abuser, including: their vehicle, home address, and employer; any history of alcohol or drug abuse; history of gun ownership; criminal or other violent history; dates of marriage, separation or divorce; information about any children; a photograph.
When you or your attorney file the petition, you will be asked to describe the history of abuse as well as the most recent incident involving the alleged abuser. If the situation is urgent, you can seek an “ex parte” hearing, meaning you will speak with a judge before the alleged abuser is notified. You may seek an emergency temporary restraining order without notifying the defendant. Eventually, the defendant will have the opportunity to defend themselves in court. At the hearing, you and your attorney can present your case detailing the history of abuse and request the specific provisions necessary to ensure the protection of yourself and your family. PFAs are for a term of up to one year, and they can be renewed.
Important locations in Guntersville
Your Guntersville family law attorney can help you petition the court and ensure that you fulfill all of the requirements. In Guntersville, you can request a restraining order at the Marshall County Courthouse. You may need the assistance of the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office. In the event you need to find these offices without the help of your attorney, the locations are as follows:
Marshall County Sheriff’s Office
423 Blount Ave
Guntersville, AL 35976
Marshall County Courthouse
424 Blount Avenue
PO Box 608
Guntersville, AL 35976