Who can get a restraining order?

As Portland based family law lawyers, we field a lot of questions about restraining orders under Oregon’s “Family Abuse Prevention Act.”  Many are interested in getting help and keeping an abusive partner or household member away. Others have been served or threatened with Family Abuse Prevention Act restraining order, for good or bad reasons, and want to know what to do.  People ask us how to get a restraining order, or how to defend against a restraining order.

Oregon’s “Family Abuse Prevention Act” is intended to protect victims of domestic violence and allows victims of recent abuse to obtain protection from an abuser.  There is a lot of misinformation about restraining orders, how to get a restraining order, who can get a restraining order, and what you need to show to get one.  This is the first in a series of posts to dispel some of the misinformation.

Who can get a restraining order?  I have been asked dozens of times over the last 15 years if someone can get a restraining order against the neighbor, some parent at school,  an ex boyfriend, etc. The answer is no unless the offending person is a family or household member.  ORS 107.705 defines who qualifies as a family or household member. Family or household members are:

  • Spouses.
  • Former spouses.
  • Adults related by blood, marriage, or adoption.
  • Persons who are cohabiting now or who have cohabited.
  • Persons who have been involved in a sexually intimate relationship with each other within the preceding two years.
  • Unmarried parents of a minor child.

Minors have rights independent from their parents.

If you are considering getting a restraining order or receive one, you should talk to an experienced family law attorney.

About Sean Stephens

By Sean Stephens Google + Sean Stephens is divorce and family law lawyer, and a founding member of Stephens & Margolin LLP He was born in Eugene, Oregon and is a fourth generation Oregonian. Sean Stephens attended the University of Oregon, and graduated in with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in English Literature. His psychology studies emphasized early childhood development. You can find more about Sean Stephens at Stephens & Margolin LLP Follow him
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6 Responses to Who can get a restraining order?

  1. Hello- came across this post while researching the very subject of protection orders against neighbors that have been threatening, physically and verbally abusive. The link below offers information about orders that can be issued to address stalking. They appear to be an option.

    http://www.womenslaw.org/laws_state_type.php?id=578&state_code=OR

    • admin says:

      Thanks for the link! You are right that there is some overlap between stalking orders and restraining orders, but restraining orders can only be between household or family members, while stalking orders are not so restricted. In other words, you couldn’t get a stalking order against a neighbor unless they also qualified as a household or family member under the restraining order statute.

  2. Janelle Carrera says:

    Is it possible to file harassment charges for a neighbor who threatens to physically harm, me and my children? (apartment neighbor) Any sort of harassment or some form of charge? The apartment manager said if i get one he will evict them (they are terrible people). But i don’t want to feel like a fool for asking about a restraining order, or file for harassment, if it is not possible.

    • Janelle:

      There are other legal tools that could help, such as a civil stalking order. I recommend you talk ton our office or consult with another lawyer about your options and the best way to approach your situation.

  3. this is some very helpful information – thanks for sharing.

  4. this is helpful information – thanks for sharing.

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