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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  18 years of litigation experience.
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Im considering filing for a restraining order against my ex

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I'm considering filing for a restraining order against my ex who still lives with me. His twin brother has a lawyer on retainer and almost certain he would contest the restraining order. I don't have much documentation of physical abuse, but have plenty about him stalking and harassing me. Is there a good chance that through legal gymnastics he could shoot down the restraining order and turn on me with legal action? Should I have a lawyer ready, if so how much would it cost?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting with this question.

There is such a thing as a harassment restraining order in Minnesota, and you would appear to be eligible for it based on what you've said. You can get a good overview of the process here. (see link). The site would let you assess your eligibility and then tell you where to go to get the order.

You can get an order against your husband ex-parte. That is, you can get an emergency temporary order without notice to him (and without a lawyer). You will then have to have him served with an order -- don't do it yourself as that would not be proper service. The police will likely do this for you if you ask. The effect of which would be to move your husband out of the house.

The notice he'd get would tell him of what you'd alleged to the court and would give him a date for a hearing. The purpose of the date is to make the order permanent. At such a hearing, you'd be expected to present your evidence as to why the order should be continued. By evidence, I mean your own testimony, the testimony of any witnesses, any email, letters, text or phone messages, whatever you have along those lines. Your husband will then get a chance to present whatever evidence he has to deny your allegations and try to convince the court that he offers no threat to you and that no order is necessary.

At the close of all the evidence, the judge makes a decision. If he feels you ae indeed at risk he will order the issuance of a permananet restraining order. If he believes that your husband is no threat to your safety, he will lift the temporary order.

No lawyer is necessary for the hearing and many people do without them. However, if you know the other side will have a lawyer, you are better off having one for the hearing as well to keep the odds even. There are complainants who can win against a lawyer, but as they know court procedure and you don't, they do have a substantial edge.

As to what his/your chances are, that's nothing I can answer without hearing all of the evidence. But basically you'd have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that you need an order for your prtection. That's your burden of proof. So if the evidence favors you over him, you win.

The lawyer would only be needed for the hearing, unless you want to go forward with a divorce as well. A call to the Minnesota Bar Association's lawyer referral service can get you the going rate for having a lawyer at the hearing for your part of the country. Then if you wanted to find one, they would charge you a referral fee of around $50 for the referral which would include a half hour free consultation with the lawyer.

Zoey, JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16549
Experience: 18 years of litigation experience.
Zoey, JD and 8 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

Thank you,Fran, the information you gave has answered many of my questions. I do have a few follow up questions, if you wouldn't mind.


 


In the area of violence that has occurred between us, there has been some back and forth between us, none of which was reported. What made me consider a HRO were recent events such as repeated stalking of me,an incident in which he and his brother showed up to our apartment and made a vague threat towards me, and the last abuse event where he took my keys from me to prevent me from leaving and when I tried to get them back by following him outside and trying to grab them from him, I was pushed to the ground and he started hitting me until I started calling out for help, at which point he got up, kicked me in the ribs, threw my keys at me and took off. Regrettably I decided not to get the police involved. After the threat I had mentioned occurred, I had the officer take the statement and told him about the abuse, but did not pursue any charges. However, I did have a friend take pictures of cuts I had in my mouth from being hit in the face and showed the officer in person.


 


Since the incident I have made it clear to my ex that I want them to move out of the apartment and leave me alone. I've even offered to leave myself, but he won't agree to let me off of the lease and I don't have the money to simply buy out of the lease. I genuinely do not feel safe living in the same apartment, not for my personal safety or for that of my possessions.


I really don't want to get the law involved because of all of the hassle that comes with it. My biggest fear would be retaliatory litigation on his part against me. He is a selfish, petty person who, since I ended our relationship, wants nothing more than to make my life miserable. I know that all I have done wrong is mutual fighting, but that would not stop him from trying to get me charged based on bogus claims. He's already told many people lies about things that I've done or said to him. Adding to my fear is once again that he has access to a lawyer that is on retainer, and has a few people that would lie/testify on his behalf if he asked them to. I don't know how one would even combat multiple people insisting an untruth is actually truth. I'm not affluent by any means to be able to easily pay for any legal aid. My time is also consumed by going to school and working full-time to the point where having to add any extra nonsense, like court appearances and trying to figure out what to do with the situation, would very negatively affect my performance on both fronts.



I guess at this point I feel like I am damned if I do act, and damned if I don't. I feel as though it might just be easier to try and ignore the situation until March when our lease is up, but I know that things will just get worse because they already have been getting progressively worse.



What do you think my best option here would be--Put up with the nonsense and suffer moderately on a day-to-day basis or try and act and potentially face problems that would negatively affect me long term such as costly fees, possible loss of my job, and a marred record?



Any advice is appreciated.



Thanks

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 11 months ago.
Hi,

Sorry for the delay. I'm still waking up over here

I cannot tell you what you ought to put up with. Only you can answer that question. If you feel unsafe and belive the harrassment is escalating into episodes of violence, then it's likely worth the risk. I cannot promise you that your ex won't fight back legally and/or that he won't attempt to use the criminal justice system since you're using the civil system.

Alternatively, you can bide your time and just start ireporting these incidents to the police when these incidents are occurring which will leave a record of the pattern of recurring harassment and which will help protect you from violence. By calling the police, the police once there is domestic violence, they will arrest him, and you'll get a criminal protective order, which again will get him out of the home. And you won't have to worry about a lawyer since the state will be handling the matter on your behalf.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.

That's understandable; it is early.


 


Okay, thank you very much. I feel a lot more informed on my options and will hopefully be able to get a satisfactory resolution to this nightmare.


 


Once again, thank you for time and assistance.

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