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Restraining Order Abuse and Vexatious Litigation, part two

Why Would Anyone Do this? What's In It for Her?
  • Money
    In many states, the subject of a restraining order can be ordered to pay the expenses for things deemed necessary to facilitate any actions the holder claims to have to take in order to avoid him. This can be anything from the legal costs related to obtaining the order to rent and childcare costs if the holder chooses to claim them as needs related to avoidance. Some states also require convicted domestic abusers to pay compensation to victims for losses related to the alleged abuse, including lost wages and (hard to prove or contest) loss of personal property.  

  • Property
    In a marital dispute or a dispute between cohabitants, some states' laws allow a judge to order the subject of a restraining order out of his home, even if his name is on the deed or lease, and the holder's name is not. Many state laws are even more broad, allowing the order of property transfer. This includes residential property, vehicles, bank accounts, and even "personal effects." Some states even allow judges to list a set of things the subject can take with him upon restraining-order eviction from his home, barring him from removing anything not on that list, even if it was his prior to the relationship.

  • Other financial gain
    Some states' laws contain vague and open-ended language like "compensation for losses," "other relief deemed necessary" and "including, but not limited to," (followed by a list) permitting judges to order the subject of a restraining order to pay compensation to the holder for a variety of reasons, or for reasons of the judge's own determination. One state allows financial compensation for pain and suffering.

  • Legal leverage in Custody battles
    In many states, when considering the best interests of the child, courts are required to consider domestic violence allegations. A restraining order provides the holder with the ability to take to family court the argument that the subject is so dangerous she had to request legal protection from him, and that therefore, his contact with any children the couple may have should also be limited. Often, the court will not consider whether the order was actually merited when deciding whether it can be used as evidence. If domestic abuse allegations have been made against the a the father in a custody battle, that will be considered evidence against him even if he has not been convicted.
    If the holder has managed to get a conviction, that can be further used as evidence in favor of limiting the father's parental contact with the children. He may even be in jail, in which case he will have no custodial rights. He'll have to request visitation, and she'll be able to argue that because of his incarceration, visiting him will be psychologically damaging to the children.
    Some states have statutes barring the court from granting either sole or joint custody to individuals with a domestic violence conviction. That means that even after all other punitive measures are over (jail, fines, reparations, probation,) a father with a domestic conviction, whether rightful or false, can never have even partial custody of any of his children. He cannot make any legal decisions regarding them. He gets no legal input into their medical care, schooling, or any other aspect of life. He is permanently sidelined.
    A few states have statutes which bar the court from granting either sole or joint custody to individuals subject to even an allegation of domestic violence. These statues place the burden of proof on the accused. A father can be sidelined as a parent even if he has done nothing wrong, and can be kept that way until he is able to offer the court irrefutable proof of his innocence. There is no area in which the mother is subject to equal scrutiny. 

  • Vengeance
    It can be extremely satisfying for an angry divorcee or ex-partner to see her ex arrested, to know that she's gained a measure of control over his life, and to feel that she can have him imprisoned at any time. There is a sense of power in that.
    In addition, to a woman with a possessive or abusive nature, the legal system can be a powerful tool for use in the effort to control and oppress any man who dares to move on in his life without her following the dissolution of a relationship. She can make it anywhere from difficult to impossible for him to live in peace, much less start and maintain a functional relationship with another woman.
    The ability to manipulate and abuse the family court system provides vindictive women with the ability to create an invisible prison of limits and threats in which to hold an ex indefinitely, regardless of her own choice to move on with her life. She can punish him as little or as much as she wants using the methods described above. She can make sure that although she has chosen to not view him as a partner, she can continue to view him as a possession to be treated however she chooses, because nobody is going to stop her. She can take socially sanctioned vengeance for any real, or even just perceived, failure or betrayal on his part.
    It's also much more socially accepted than digging her key into the side of his pretty little souped-up four-wheel drive.
  • Relief from Condition of Conflict with Social Pressures
    Upon the dissolution of a relationship, other women may step in and advise the newly separated girlfriend or wife that circumstances and behaviors in the relationship she just left were worse than they actually were. If the newly estranged woman allows them, her feminist friends and family will attempt to convince her that she is an abuse survivor. 

    They will redefine as much as they can of her memories to fit the terms outlined in standard descriptions of patterns of domestic abuse. They will cite her ex's failure to change everything about himself to become more compatible with her as emotional neglect. They'll cite refusal to submit during arguments as an attempt to dominate and control her. The same thing will be said of any advice he's ever given. If he's ever raised his voice during an argument, regardless of whether or not she also did, she'll be told that his raised voice was an act of aggression.

    They will go over the newly estranged couple's sex life with a fine-tooth comb looking for anything they can call rape. If sex ever followed an argument, they will jump on that as being forced through intimidation. If sex ever followed drinking, they'll label that "drunk rape." If her sexual appetite was lower than his, and he compensated with efforts to seduce her, that will be called "pressuring her for sex." If he supplemented with visual stimulation and self-gratification to avoid pressuring her, they'll call him a porn addict. If his sexual appetite was lower than hers, he'll be accused of withholding sex to batter her self-image.

    In some social circles, she will be treated as a victim despite her own protests that she is not one, pressured to seek assistance even though she is not endangered, and presented with a heavy dose of persuasive speech aimed at convincing her that she needs protection from her ex. She'll be told she should get a restraining order "just in case" or "to facilitate the process" (read: gain the benefits mentioned above.)

    In extreme cases, even after she clearly states that she was not abused, the effort to "protect" her will continue. She'll be handled by the organization her friends or family put her in contact with as if she suffers from "battered woman's syndrome." There may even be an "intervention" along the same lines as those used to confront addicts. She'll be encouraged to accept counseling services from an abuse counselor, who may step up the effort to convince her that she was abused. In worst case scenarios, she'll develop false "suppressed" memories of abuse. If she does not extract herself from the influence of those around her with an agenda, she'll end up doing exactly what they tell her to.

For more information on why the legal system is abused by women in family court, see saveservices.org's Special Report on Incentives to Make False Allegations of Domestic Violence.

What if I just stay away? What Other Harm is Can a Restraining Order Do to Me?

Once the court has upheld a restraining order, the subject is barred from purchasing or possessing firearms. If he all ready owns firearms, he may be required to surrender them or store them under specific, legally directed methods. The law contains no provision to afford the accused any compensation for the seizure or control of his personal property.
This also means the subject cannot be licensed to carry a concealed weapon, and cannot work in any profession which requires him to carry a firearm.

In addition, a restraining order can show up in background checks, affecting the subject's security clearance, and further affecting his job prospects. This can also affect his ability to volunteer as a coach or youth mentor. In some cases and some areas, it can even affect his ability to obtain credit services.

Both of these conditions will outlast restraining orders with time limits. A restraining order may be in effect for only a few years, but it will show up on some background checks forever, and it will permanently strip you of your right to possess or own firearms. 

Further, some jurisdictions consider visiting locations where firearms are kept to be in violation as well. If your ex can get proof and the court system where you live is so inclined, you could be jailed for visiting friends and family who keep guns in their homes, attending gun shows, or traveling with a companion who is armed. This could occur even if you are unaware of the presence of guns in your proximity, as can happen with visiting friends and family.

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