In contested child custody proceedings, you may be surprised with the lengths people will go to get an advantage over the other parent. They may try turn the kids against a parent by sabotaging their relationship or they may make allegations of abuse or intimidation.
These allegations typically manifest themselves in requests for restraining orders or no-contact orders. These orders should be taken seriously because many of them can be granted ex-parte (without notice to the other party). The person whom the order is issued against may be surprised by such an order and may think it is completely unfair (and it may well be). In these instances, the chance of violating it by contacting or confronting the person who requested it could have dire consequences.
Indeed, violating a protection order or restraining order is a crime that is punishable with jail time. But the additional consequence is that it may have a substantial impression on a family court judge. One of the things that may influence a judge is a parent’s ability (or willingness) to follow a court order. A person who has violated a protection order may be unwilling to follow further orders, which could complicate things when a child is involved.
Because of this, it is prudent to respond immediately (and appropriately) to restraining orders; especially if they are issued without prior notice. Contacting an experienced family law attorney should be the first step. If you have been charged with violating such an order, a criminal defense attorney is helpful as well.