A restraining order is a civil court order to help protect your health and safety and it can secured in Family Court as well. It can limit:
- what someone can do
- where someone can go
- who they can contact
If you have children, the order can apply to them as well.
Do you qualify for a restraining order?
You can apply for a restraining order at family court if you are concerned about your or your children’s safety and you:
- were married or lived together for any period of time
- have a child with the person
You cannot file a restraining order against someone you have never lived with, or don’t have children with, but you can ask a court for a peace bond, which can be made against anyone.
What is a peace bond?
A peace bond is a criminal court order made by a justice of the peace or judge. It is a signed promise from an individual to keep the peace and have good behaviour.
If someone signs a peace bond, it means they promise to follow the conditions in it and not to break the law.
Steps: How to file a restraining order?
Step 1: Find a courthouse near you where you can file the application.
This can be done through a lawyer or via the Ontario online database to show you the nearest courthouse.
Step 2: Start to fill out the application
You will need to file a Form 8: Application to start the court application process.
There is an opportunity to ask for a fast-tracked restraining order but you will most likely need to fill out additional paperwork to support the claim.
To support an application for a restraining order you should also complete a:
- Continuing Record, including a Table of Contents and a Canadian Police Information Centre Restraining Order Information Form. This form is only available at the family court counter.
If you need an order right away, you can file a motion at the same time as your application. A motion is a step in a case where you ask a judge to decide issues on a temporary basis before the restraining order is officially in place.
A motion without notice can be made for an urgent restraining order if:
- you do not know where to locate the other person
- there is an immediate danger that your children will be removed from Ontario or that you or your children will be harmed
- providing notice in advance could have serious consequences
Step 3: Serve the document
The next step is to deliver or serve the respondent with a couple of the court-issued documents so that the other party knows there is a case against them.
Be sure to keep a copy of all documents for yourself.
Step 4: Determine and confirm the court date
Once you have a date for your motion or application to be heard by a judge, you will need to fill out additional paperwork to confirm you are attending court that day.
If you do not file the confirmation, the court date may no longer be available for you.
Step 5: Argue your case
Going to court will determine whether or not the motion will be enacted and the judge will tell you their decision in person.
In this situation, it is important to have a lawyer present. It is your legal right to have representation with you while defending your case in court.
Final Thoughts: Filing a restraining order
Because there are many forms and steps to filing a restraining order, especially in cases where you feel your safety is at risk, it’s best to not take any chances when it comes to getting a restraining order enacted. We therefore highly recommend that these types of orders be secured with the assistance of a lawyer.
For more information or to speak with one of our lawyers today, feel free to contact us now.
This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.