Restraining Orders vs. No Contact Orders: What’s The Difference?

Posted in Separation on January 26, 2018

Both forms of legal action prohibit contact by one party to the other. One of the main differences is that restraining orders often last up to one year and are temporary. No-contact agreements are binding contracts that can be removed only by the district attorney or the judge who is working the case. Another contrasting factor is the intensity of the punishment.

Divorces in Fort Collins vary greatly in nature, reason, and repercussions. Some divorces may even result in one of the spouses wanting official, legal reinforcement to keep the ex-partner away. Such reinforcement could be in the form restraining orders or no contact orders. These orders keep one spouse away from the other, as well as away from places that the requesting spouse frequents often. They may also ban texting, calling, messages, or any social media contact. If the two people accidentally run into each other, the person who was there last or who saw the other first is required to immediately leave.

For a restraining order, if the restrained individual attempts to contact the other or violates the order in any way, he or she can be arrested or fined. However, when someone violates a no-contact order, the one who is violated is not permitted to immediately enforce action by the police. Such a case would require filing a citation with the court. Though the initial punishment seems less severe with no-contact orders, they incur more intense final punishment than restraining orders. If a no-contact order is violated, the violator may spend up to six months in jail. This individual would also have to pay the attorney fees for the other party.

Yet another difference between a restraining order and a no-contact agreement is the circumstance that requires such action. A restraining order is usually filed for civil reasons such as divorces, relationships that ended poorly, or any other situation where a person feels threatened. A no-contact order is usually upheld because of criminal reasons. For example, if the victim of a crime were testifying against the criminal in court, they would most likely file a no-contact agreement that would last through the trial and even afterward. Often, criminal charges must be filed already or be in process for a judge to order a no-contact agreement.

The laws on restraining orders and no-contact agreements vary by state, but the main idea is that no-contact agreements exist to punish someone who has already caused harm and to prevent further harm, whereas restraining orders exist to prevent someone from causing harm in the first place. Restraining orders can also be adjusted depending on the situation at hand and how threatened the person who filed the order currently feels.

Both forms of action can be applied to help protect the mental and physical safety of an individual. Laws exists to protect the interests of both parties, prevent overreach and misapplication, and clarify terms. Anyone seeking to file either action, or currently subject to a restraining order or no-contact order should seek the advice of legal counsel.