What Is A No-Contact Order?

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Many separations and divorces can end amicably, but when the dissolution of the relationship does not end well, there may need to be court interventions involved. If one or both parties do not wish to come into contact with the other party, a no-contact order may need to be decreed by a judge. Other circumstances, in which no-contact orders are used, or in stalking cases, neighborly disputes and during some criminal proceedings.

No-Contact Order Definition

A no-contact order is also called a restraining order, and prohibits a person from being in physical or verbal contact with another person. The court must order the no-contact agreement, and usually specifies how many feet, or yards, away the individuals must stay from one another. If broken the defendant may receive a fine, or jail time with a felony or misdemeanor charge.

How Are They Implemented?

Most states require the person who is requesting the no-contact order to petition the court for an emergency hearing. At the hearing, the courts will hear the reasons behind the petitioner?s request, and the court usually grants a temporary no-contact order. The temporary order is not into effect until the order is served to the other party. The full hearing usually occurs within 30 days of the emergency hearing, and this hearing will decide if the order stays in place and for how long.

When A No-Contact Order Is Needed

A no-contact order is requested when a petitioner feels that are in danger. Usually the petitioner has been a victim of physical, verbal or emotional abuse. Besides victims of abuse, stalking victims are able to petition courts for no-contact orders. The stalking must of consisted of unwanted correspondence (letters, emails, phone calls, etc.), which happened repeatedly over a period of time.

Domestic Violence No-Contact Order

Many states have specific laws for domestic violence no-contact orders. The victim and defendant must either be husband and wife, domestic partners, the parents of the same children, lived together currently or in the past, in-laws, step-relatives or parents of adult children. If children are involved, the judge may grant a temporary custody order to a certain parent or relative, as well that the defendant be removed from the home. A hearing can decide if a permanent no-contact order must be placed.

What Does A No-Contact Order Specify?

The defendant cannot see the petitioner at work, school, and home and must cease all communication with the victim. The order will usually specify a certain period of time that the order is in place. At the end of the period, the petitioner may ask the courts to extend the order. The judge can also lift the order if they feel the petitioner is no longer in danger.

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