Having to file a restraining order against another individual can be stressful and frightening, since having one implies that you feel threatened, emotionally or physically, by another person. However, there are situations in which you may want to lift a restraining order you've placed. How is this done, and what do you need to consider when lifting the restraining order?
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Obtain an Order to Terminate form from the clerk of court that issued the original restraining order, since a restraining order has to be cancelled in writing. Many of the clerks' offices have put their forms online, so you don't necessarily need to go to the office to get the forms.
Fill out the Order to Terminate using the case number and title of the original restraining order. Write legibly and make sure all information is current, such as the addresses of those involved.
Make three copies of the Order to Terminate. One will be yours, one will be for the person against whom you have the restraining order, and one will be for the court/attorney of the restrained person.
Deliver the original and copies to the clerk's office. They will set a court date for you when the Order to Terminate will be reviewed. Some cases may require filing fees up to £32 (as of 2009), so have this money on hand or ask the clerk's office in advance if fees apply.
Ask the clerk for a fee waiver form if you can't afford to pay the filing fee (if applicable). The clerk may ask you to provide income verification, such as a pay stub or W-2. She will instruct you on where to file the waiver form if they do not handle it themselves, and a judge will either approve or deny your waiver.
Have your attorney or other process server deliver filed copies of the forms. Do this at least 21 days in advance of the court date.
Have your attorney or other process server sign a proof of service form. This verifies that papers were served to the restrained individual.
Attend your court hearing with any witnesses you may have. Bring copies of all of your paperwork. After the hearing, complete and file a Findings and Order After Hearing form with the clerk--this verifies the verdict of the judge and allows for the restraining order to be officially lifted.
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Tips and warnings
- Remember that most restraining orders will terminate automatically after a specified period. Make sure you really want the order lifted prior to filing, since courts don't like to spend time reversing original requests/findings, and since filing to terminate costs you time (and perhaps money).
- People who must place restraining orders are often in situations that can cause them psychological distress. Consult with other individuals, such as your attorney, prior to terminating a restraining order, as they often can identify situations in which ascertaining your safety may require a neutral third party.
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