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How to Fight Restraining Orders Based on False Allegations

Author:

Kathy is a freelance writer for Textbroker, Verblio, and Constant Content and published author in Neon Rainbow Magazine.

This article will provide tips and advice for fighting a retaliatory estraining order based on false allegations.

This article will provide tips and advice for fighting a retaliatory estraining order based on false allegations.

Some Restraining Orders Are Filed Abusively

My eyes were opened to the potential for abuse with restraining orders after someone I love was accused of things they did not do and had a restraining order filed against them based on these false allegations. When you have personal experience with retaliatory or abusive restraining orders, it begins to appear that we've made the system easy to abuse, which is concerning both for those who are falsely accused and those who are truly in need of protective orders.

Until you find yourself or someone you love on the receiving end of one of these, it's hard to understand the frustration and the feeling of unfairness, especially when you are 100 percent certain that the things the person is accused of never happened.

Some women out there—notice I said "some"—use restraining orders to try to ruin another person's (usually a man's) reputation. In the worst-case scenario, he could even lose his job, especially if his job requires the use of a firearm. He can also lose his home and access to his children—all because of made-up, spiteful lies, or lies that are crafted in retaliation.

A courthouse flag—flown in a place where you think you may receive justice.

A courthouse flag—flown in a place where you think you may receive justice.

In our case, we are among the lucky ones. We are among the respondents who were able to catch this petitioner in several lies, and when they called her witness to the stand, he also lied. Their stories about the same event were different. The court commissioner said that she could not believe these allegations and that the person who filed them was less than credible.

After researching this problem on the Internet, it seems that this is a more common occurrence than I ever believed possible. Virtually any woman who gets angry with a guy for something is capable of using this legal process as a weapon. And it can be a devastating thing if they're able to lie well enough that the restraining order is granted.

Why Do People Use Restraining Orders Falsely?

The burden of proof to obtain a temporary restraining order is fairly low, so it's a quick, cheap way to retaliate or create drama in the midst of an already tense situation, such as a divorce or domestic dispute. Some reasons women make up false allegations to get a restraining order are:

  • To force a man to move out of a home
  • To allow a boyfriend to move into a home easily without a fight
  • To take away a man's rights to see his children—sometimes permanently
  • To cause a man to lose his home
  • To disarm a man for a length of time (depending on the state you live in)
  • To get the upper hand in a divorce case
  • The satisfaction of getting revenge

The thing that keeps women unafraid of being caught in these lies and false accusations that they are making under oath is that many district attorneys don't prosecute perjury.

What Are the Consequences If Someone Lies to Get a Restraining Order?

While it is true that lying to get a restraining order is perjury, it is hardly ever prosecuted in civil cases such as restraining orders. Perjury is a serious crime but hardly ever treated as such in these matters; American courts are overburdened, and it's highly unlikely that a district attorney will choose to prosecute the perjurer.

If a judge refuses to grant a restraining order because you were able to prove the petitioner's claims were false, their credibility would be very low should they attempt to do something similar in the future.

You can only hope a commissioner or judge will see through the lies.

You can only hope a commissioner or judge will see through the lies.

How to Collect Evidence to Prove Your Evidence

  • Be able to provide evidence of where you were at certain times—meaning if you were at work and can show with a time card that you were there during the time when something allegedly took place.
  • Supply phone records or email records of where you were at a given time.
  • Let your attorney know if you have witnesses who were actually there when an event supposedly took place.
  • Co-workers, neighbors, or your friends can be helpful if they can testify about where you were on certain dates and at certain times.
  • Request police reports or hospital records if the person is claiming to have been physically abused or injured. If they can't produce anything, this can be a red flag that they're not being truthful.
  • Social media can even be a tool. If a person is claiming they were under great distress, and at the same time, social media shows pictures of them partying it up with the new boyfriend, this can help to discredit them and their story.

The idea is to be able to give your attorney anything he or she can use to discredit the claims that are being made against you and to discredit the person making them. The more proof you have of false allegations, the better off you'll be.

Proactive Ways to Fight False Accusations

One of the best things you can do when you plan your strategy with an attorney is to go through each allegation in order and explain each incident or made-up allegation. Let the attorney know what the circumstances were at the time, where this happened (in a public place or the privacy of a home), and the truth about what actually happened. This will help your attorney see how the person filing for the restraining order embellished incidents to make them sound as bad as possible. At least, this was what happened in our case.

What to Do If You Are Served With a Restraining Order Based on False Allegations

  1. Contact an attorney immediately. If you are unable to do so, many courts have self-help centers that may be able to assist you in filing a response or prepare for your hearing.
  2. The temporary restraining order you were served with has a hearing date—make sure you attend it and any other scheduled hearings. If you don't, a judge may issue the requested order, and you won't be there to fight the false allegations.
  3. Read the temporary restraining order closely and all allegations made so that you can be prepared to refute the false claims. You also want to understand exactly what is expected of you before the hearing date—do not do anything to violate the order before you have a chance to prove your innocence in front of a judge.
  4. Gather evidence that proves your innocence. Below you'll find some tips for preparing evidence of your innocence.

How to Behave If You Are Falsely Accused

Here I thought I'd share a few tips for how to conduct yourself in a courtroom if you or someone you love is ever falsely accused, and your presence is required in the courtroom. This can be an intimidating experience, especially if it's something totally new to you.

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to do your best to remain calm, polite, and respectful. Yes, you're angry, especially if you're on the receiving end and are the one being accused of something you know you didn't do. If you're there as moral support for a falsely accused person, anger can be a prominent emotion for you as well. Try to stay calm, and if you're called to speak in front of a court commissioner or judge, be polite and truthful.

Restrain yourself from being sarcastic, no matter how tempting it may be, and truthfully answer any questions that are asked of you. We hired an attorney and used his wisdom and good advice in all dealings we had with this false accuser. It came down to all communication being handled through the attorney, which was fine with us.

The accuser in our case was mentally ill and was institutionalized three times in the year leading up to her filing for the restraining order, which gives you a bit of an idea of what we were been dealing with. Dealing with an unhinged person is never easy, but it's even harder if they decide to file false accusations within the legal system. This can happen, however, even if a person is thought to be sane and is simply flinging false charges at another person out of pure retaliation, rage, and to achieve some idea that they are "getting even."

Additional Information and Assistance

Below I've shared some resources for getting out of a false restraining order and some of the reasons some women go so far as to file them.

Best of luck to you if you're going through this process right now. I have been there for moral support for someone I love, and I know exactly what you're going through! Hopefully, the truth will win out over spite.

Restraining Orders Are a Critical Tool for Those Who Really Need Them

I totally understand and empathize with women in abusive relationships who truly need a protective order. In those cases, restraining orders are entirely valid and a good thing for these women to have access to.

What I'm talking about are women who are NOT being abused in any way who simply do this for spite and blatantly abuse the system. I'm talking about filing one order right after another even after one is denied, just out of spite and harassment. In our case, it was so blatant, and a filing for divorce happened to fall in between two attempts to get this order, so it was dropped.

It was such a blessed feeling of relief when this thing was dropped. But I thought about cases where it doesn't get dropped. Usually, they are brought against men, resulting in $10,000 or more in legal fees for some men.

In our lawsuit-happy society, I guess this is one of the unfortunate side effects. The legal system today is sometimes abused for perceived retaliation and spite. I guess just getting a divorce and moving on civilly is too much to ask in some cases.

Advice for Handling False Restraining Orders

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 KathyH

Comments

Reader on May 12, 2020:

In my case it was my male Narcissistic Sociopathic ex who tried to do this. He was doing it out of spite and revenge as he had been charged with DV against me. He told me he would turn the court system against me. Well I got myself a lawyer and he was a no show and the case was dismissed. Many times abusive men especially Narcissists will try to play the victim as a means of defense. With all the evidence of abuse I had on him there's no way it would have gone through even if he had appeared. He just looked like a complete fool and it's clear his mentally unstable. Abusive men can be just as bad as abusive women.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on February 13, 2020:

Thank you Jackie, TH and Tamra for sharing your experiences! I didn't realize how often this happened until I wrote this. Your insights are appreciated!

Tamra on February 07, 2020:

TH yo are dead on right. I can not believe how this has taked over one's life...

TH on February 07, 2020:

Domestic violence restraining orders in California are given out like candy. Once you get one on you your screwed basically the test of your life. The preponderance of evidence stand is a joke and is a fraud perpetrated on citizens.

Jackie on January 10, 2020:

This way too often happens to many women in emotionally and/or physically abusive relationships by the way. The abuser "man" or, I should say "boy" provides false information to the court to have a restraining order placed on the abused women forcing her out of her home in order to satisfy their sad craving to have control over her.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on January 05, 2020:

Claire B and Crystal thank you so much for sharing your stories! Both women and men do this and it’s just wrong no matter who’s doing it! Hope that the passing of time helps. I hate seeing this done by anyone for retaliation or spite!

Crystal on January 05, 2020:

My boyfriend filed an injunction on my ex husband for stalking and interfering with his child custody. He found out when an officer called his girlfriend because they were having a hard time finding him and then turned around and filed one on me not 4 days later. His girlfriend wrote out the PO and when I drove 9 hours to court (he lives in NC me in Fl) all he said was he didn’t want me calling him anymore. He had nothing and didn’t even know what was on that paper. Not to mention the months he said that I was harassing we were both talking back and forth about normal life stuff and sometimes argued like ex’s. He stopped all communication when I told his girlfriend we were still talking and he was lying to her. And the only reason I contacted her to tell her was because 1)she deserved the truth 2) she was making up lies to get us to argue more about divorce. The judge ended up putting a 1 Year on me. So I’m at a stand still can’t afford divorce, can’t afford the bills he left Me with that he had put in my name. And he got what he wanted. When I was never a threat to begin with. I feel attacked by both of them. I have been seeing a therapist for the last couple months due to severe anxiety and depression from years of mental abuse from him. I can’t afford to go back up there and ask to have it modified. Just to be able to email back and forth about divorce only is all I want. So it can be done with little court involved. Men do it too. He did it in retaliation and now here I am in a loop and trying to move on and I can’t.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 06, 2019:

Hi Lori! My advice would be to hire an attorney ~ that can be an expensive option though, as we found out! The best to you, whatever you decide to do.

Lori on November 06, 2019:

How do I sue for a lying order of protection put on me

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on October 01, 2019:

Thank you, Andre, for sharing your thoughts as well! You brought up some excellent points! There are women out there who simply see men as vehicles for financial or other types of gain. Once they have what they want, be it money, children, assets, or whatever else they're after, they decide they want out.

You gave some great suggestions here about making people wait a certain time before a divorce can be finalized to make people think twice before entering into marriage.

I wrote this because it seemed so very one-sided and so very unfair, especially to men. To be accused of something terrible when you've done nothing wrong has to be the worst feeling in the world!

Thank you for your thoughtful, insightful comment!

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on October 01, 2019:

Steve, I am SO sorry this happened to you! I hate hearing about these things! In the case I'm writing about in this article, it was a short marriage. I cannot even imagine going through this horrible experience after a 39 year marriage!

This is all so one-sided and unfair, especially to men! Some women use this as a weapon and it's good that some judges see it that way as well, but even that doesn't make it any easier.

You've given some excellent advice here about recording conversations. The person in this article was advised to only have contact with her through written contact, through his attorney, so the attorney would have copies of everything.

Being told to co-habitate while you renovate your home and through the home sale is horrible! In what alternate universe does any judge think that will work??

I understand the need for counseling in cases where there is ACTUAL abuse, but using these services and free or discounted advice simply to retaliate against someone is just wrong.

The person I wrote about didn't even get the 10 minutes to pack up...everything was thrown out on the lawn in plastic bags. Whatever happened to civility and attempting to work things out?

I truly hope things turn around for you and that life gets better for you once everything is settled and done with. Thank you so much for sharing your experience! Perhaps it will help someone else out who is going through this awful experience!

Steve on October 01, 2019:

As the younger generation says, OMG. KathyH, I was dumbfounded by your post about the person who sought free counseling, and eventually filed a false TRO. Exactly what happened to me. Then I had the wonderful experience of having 10 minutes to pack my things and get out, under the watchful eyes of two Sheriffs. I slept in the bed of my truck for 4 wks (fortunately it was summer) until the trial concluded. I am 67 yrs old. I chose not to involve or impose on friends out of some misguided sense of duty and loyalty to the marriage. I was still hoping to save our 39 yr.marriage-what an idgit. After signing a promissory note to hire an attorney (she had locked up all our savings in a personal safe deposit box), I was hopeful that I would be vindicated, and the court would see the falseness of the charges against me. As things turned out, an attorney was unnecessary. Her testimony to the judge was so contradictory (read "so full of lies"), that at the conclusion the judge told he had serious problems believing her story, and dismissed the TRO "with prejudice". My elation at being vindicated was short lived, as he then ordered us to co-habitate until the renovation(being done by me) and sale of our home was completed. This entire sequence began because as her mental state worsened, she began accusing me of outrageous things, including abusive and threatening behavior, and culminating in an episode in which she slammed me sideways into a wall as she went past me. The shoulder taking the blow had been surgically repaired 6 wks. earlier...lit me up like a Christmas tree. I stewed for a time, then called the sheriff, and reported domestic abuse. They came, but did nothing. She was livid, and I believe THAT was when she decided to get revenge by filing the TRO. All of the above I mention for this reason: divorce can cause people to act in ways contrary to their normal behavioral patterns. PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALL TIMES. Document everything, and make it known to her/him that you will not speak to them unless it is recorded. In some states BOTH parties must acknowledge this on each recording. STICK TO THIS POLICY. People are far less abusive when being recorded, and constructive conversations are more likely. I didn't follow this advice, and can say that the most innocent of topics can VERY quickly spiral downward into ugly commentary.

I found this site while researching whether the transcripts from the TRO trail are considered "public" in California.But after reading KathyH's post, felt morally obligated to post my experience so that maybe, just maybe, someone else can lessen the pain of their divorce process.

If anyone knows the answer to the "public" question, please post it here

Andre on September 12, 2019:

It is a ridiculous provision in the justice system. Protection orders are mostly ignored when a man files them against women. Women used their tongue as a weapon that can wreck havock on men. Personally, I believe no one genda should be the judge in domestic violence cases with children and parents involved. They should have a male and female Judge work together to give judgement. Marriage should be recognized as a serious institution. Change the ease at which individuals can obtain a divorce. Have a five year separation before one can file for divorce, child support or permanent custody of the children. That may hinder gold diggers from trying to take someone's property or collect alimony or child support because they have to spend time which may hinder the premeditated conspirators-and there are a lot of them-mostly women. It is said that divorce rates in United States is 50% and that 70% of women initiate divorce while 30% of men do. Women need to be honest that this urge to be married is tied to obtaining money and children and once it is or is not accomplished they want freedom away from the responsibility of marriage commitment in an American culture that celebrate freedom by making the married man culturally a depreciating asset to his children and his wife. As men get older they can't live well alone without a woman but a woman can. Women be very honest this is about empirical data from the medical community some of you if not most of you are a little crazier than your male counterpart.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on January 28, 2019:

I think a man could also do this, and I think it’s terrible for any person to falsely accuse another person, knowing that person did not do what they’re being accused of doing. I feel it’s wrong for anyone to abuse the legal system for the purpose of revenge.

Kck1967 on January 28, 2019:

It surprises me that as a woman, you would be so closed minded. Did you ever stop to think that a man could do the same to a woman? That a man could be a sneaky, sleazy scumbag, just like you think women can be? It’s clear that the relative was a male. I wonder how your story would have gone had it been a sister or a female friend that it was done too?

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 19, 2018:

Hi Dianna! Thanks so much! I was hoping to use this experience to help others and to bring awareness that this kind of thing happens sometimes! This was all totally new to me and kind of shocking!

Dianna Mendez on March 19, 2018:

Sorry you had to go through this ordeal but your writing of your experience will help others.

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on March 01, 2018:

Thank you, dashingscorpio! What you said about society trying to overcompensate to right wrongs is absolutely true!

In this case, the accuser lied to a women’s group that tries to help real victims of domestic abuse, and the reason she lied was to get free help!

I wouldn’t want to be single in today’s contentious environment! It makes me glad that I’m in a good, 35 year marriage! I feel bad for singles today! Thank you for your insightful comments!

Jibaro on March 01, 2018:

Kathy:

Thanks for the recognition!

dashingscorpio from Chicago on March 01, 2018:

Excellent article.

"we have made it so easy for any person, especially a woman who has a deep down issue with "hating" men, to file these things that it is almost laughable." - Very true!

Not only do we see this with restraining orders there are instances where men are accused of abusing their children.

In today's #Metoo climate any guy who has ever been rejected in their attempts to flirt with or seduce a woman is now forced to wonder if he harassed her or risk being accused of doing so.

We've gone from no one believing women to having the accusation alone cause men to lose their jobs and reputations instantly. {Neither gender is standing on "holy ground".}

People can be vindictive with those they feel hurt them by dumping them, cheating on them, firing them, not promoting them, and so on. The last thing a "hater" wants to see is their {enemy} being happy, enjoying life, remarried, or loved and accepted.

Sadly we must never forget there have been incidences of false accusations like the Duke University men's lacrosse team were (falsely accused of rape). Just last year Breana Rachelle Harmon (white) of Denison, Texas claimed she was kidnapped by three (black males) and gang raped. Days later, Harmon admitted to faking her abduction and rape after medics found no sign she had been sexually abused. She also confessed she lied because her relationship with her fiancé was in jeopardy. She got no jail time!

I believe our society sometimes overcompensates in an effort to right wrongs. This is especially true if it involves issues between men and women. Just recently I read an article where a woman stated if even if a woman says "yes" she is not necessarily giving her consent!

We're never going to have real equality if men and women aren't held to the same standards. If anyone can wake up the next day regretting having had sex with someone or they were disappointed afterwards and have the ability to say they didn't consent we're in serious trouble.

Human beings are "revengeful" by nature.

While we want to side with alleged victims it's important to remember we shouldn't rush to judgment without getting the full story. Innocent until (proven) guilty use to be our legal mantra.

However it's politically and potentially harmful financially to associate with anyone who has been (accused) of mistreating women. No hearing or conviction is required.

The first one to file a restraining order or make an accusation is the winner in (public opinion).

KathyH (author) from Waukesha, Wisconsin on February 28, 2018:

Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Jibaro! You've brought up some really interesting points!

Jibaro on February 28, 2018:

Kathy:

In the Legal area Feminism has triumph over reason and man! This is one of the reasons why marriage is a bad business for men.

In the 50 Shades of Grey, he uses a Confidentiality Agreement that prohibits disclosure which nowadays makes sense. Also, a well done Prenuptial Agreement is essential before commiting into a marriage.

For a man marriage is slavery and as long as it is like that, it will be a losing proposition and the adquisition of a highly dangerous depreciating asset that can ruin your life.

Sorry but that is what reality is!