Difference between no contact order vs. restraining order

Updated June 05, 2017

Court orders intended to protect people from harassment or harm, or to direct people to take or refrain from taking certain actions, take various forms. They can be civil or criminal in nature. A no contact order is one type, a restraining order is another.

Definition: No Contact Order

A no contact order is a ban of direct or indirect physical, verbal or written contact with another individual or group.

Definition: Restraining Order

A restraining order is a court order prohibiting a person from doing something. It can be temporary or permanent. A restraining order may also be known as a protection order, a protective order or a stay-away order.

Features: No Contact Order

A criminal order is most often associated with domestic violence, stalking or sex offences. It is issued after criminal charges have been filed against the perpetrator in court. The order is intended to protect a victim while the criminal case is ongoing.

Features: Restraining Order

A civil order that is typically issued in a divorce, legal separation, paternity or child custody cases. A restraining order may be issued to prevent taking a minor child out of the county or state, or to prohibit one of the parties from selling marital property.

Types of Restraining Orders

A temporary restraining order is intended to preserve current conditions until a hearing is held at which both parties are present. A permanent restraining order is intended to remain in force unless and until modified by a later decree of a court.

For Immediate Help

For immediate help, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE or (800) 787-3224 TTD.

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About the Author

Margaret Lucas Agius, a NALA Certified Paralegal, has been writing for and about the legal profession for more than a decade. Her articles have appeared in the "Michigan Bar Journal," the "Michigan Paralegal" and "Facts & Findings." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from the University of Detroit Mercy and a Bachelor of Science in paralegal studies from Madonna University.