Restraining Order 101: Family Abuse Prevention Act
The Proper Person:A FAPA Restraining Order can ONLY be obtained against a "family member." This means a person in one of the following categories:
(1) A spouse; or
(2) A former spouse; or
(3) An adult related by blood, marriage, or adoption; or
(4) People who are cohabitating or who have cohabitated with each other; or
(5) People who have been in a sexually intimate relationship with each other within 2 years of when the petition is filed; or
(6) Unmarried parents of a child.
Abuse Within the Past 180 Days:In order to qualify for a FAPA Restraining Order, there must have been "abuse" within the past 180 days. Abuse means one of the following:
(1) Physically hurting or attempting to hurt a person (this includes if they didn't mean to injure a person but did so recklessly); or
(2) Making a person afraid that they will be physically hurt in the near future (again, if they don't do this on purpose, but do so recklessly, that is enough); or
(3) Making a person have sexual relations against their wishes by using force or the threat of force.
Danger of Further AbuseAnother requirement for a FAPA Restraining Order is that there is "imminent danger of further abuse." The ideal way to show this is with recent threats of additional harm. However, the important thing is that there must be some sort of danger of further abuse for a valid FAPA Restraining Order to be upheld. Evidence of abuse that happened longer than 180 days ago can also be useful here to show a pattern and likelihood that it will happen again (even though it is not enough to justify the order itself if there wasn't recent abuse).
Credible Threat to SafetyThe final requirement is that the abuser must "represent a credible threat to the physical safety of the petitioner or the petitioner's child." Again, evidence of abuse that happened longer than 180 days ago can also be useful here to show a pattern and likelihood that it will happen again (even though it is not enough to justify the order itself if there wasn't recent abuse).