How Long Does a FAPA Order Last and What Limitations Can It Impose?

It’s an unfortunate reality, but sometimes a person’s actions warrant outside help to ensure that they can no longer harm or harass another individual, which might take the form of a restraining order. There are a host of various types of restraining orders available to help people in a host of different situations, but the Family Abuse Prevent Act (FAPA) restraining order is one we often see in family law cases. If you are either considering filing a FAPA order, or have had one filed against you, it’s important to understand what these restraining orders can do, the limitations they can impose, and how long they can last.

How Long Does A FAPA Restraining Order Last?

When an individual files for a FAPA, the court holds an ex-parte hearing on the day or the day after a victim files. If a judge signs the FAPA order, a sheriff or another qualified person must serve the abuser with a copy of the order. After the abuser receives this copy, they have 30 days to ask for a hearing, which must be held within 21 days of that request (5 days if a child is involved).

At the hearing the judge may continue, change, or cancel the order based on information received at the hearing. If the order is granted, A FAPA order is effective for 12 months from the time it was initially signed unless the court terminates or extends the order.

When Will the Hearing Be Held?

The respondent must request the hearing within 30 days of being served, and the hearing must be held within 21 days after the court receives the request for hearing. If temporary child custody is an issue, the hearing must be held within 5 days after the request. If there are exceptional circumstances that would affect custody, either party can request that the hearing take place within 14 days.

How Do You Qualify for a FAPA Order?

A victim of domestic violence is eligible to obtain a FAPA order if they meet all of the following criteria:

  • They were the victim of abuse within the past six months; or were the victim of abuse more than six months ago, and the abuser has been in prison or jail or has lived more than 100 miles from her in the past six months.
  • The abuse was bodily injury, or attempted bodily injury, or the threat of immediate serious bodily injury, or sexual abuse, or rape.
  • They are related to or intimately involved with the abuser: the abuser’s spouse or former spouse, or the abuser’s in-law or relative, or is in a sexually intimate relationship with the abuser, or is the biological co-parent (with the abuser) of a minor child.
  • They are at least 18 years old, an “emancipated” minor, or is younger than 18 but married to or sexually intimate with an abuser who is 18 or older.

What Happens at the Hearing Requested by the Respondent?

The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether or not the restraining order will remain in effect, and if it does remain in effect, if the order will stay the same or change in some way. The judge may decide not to change the order even if both sides agree that they want the same changes.

At the hearing, the petitioner must prove that they have been abused and that they are in danger of further abuse. Some judges will ask you to present your case first, and other judges will ask the other side to present their case first. Either way, both parties can give their own testimony, call witnesses for in-person testimony and give the judge any evidence they have.

What Orders, Requirements and Limitations Can Be Included In A FAPA Restraining Order?

A FAPA order has the power to do the following:

  • Order an abuser out of the home if the victim and abuser are married, a victim is sole or part owner of the home or on the rental agreement.
  • Require police to stand guard while the person leaving the home removes personal belongings;
  • Require an abuser to stop contacting, abusing, threatening, or interfering with a victim and with children in the victim’s custody.
  • Forbid an abuser to enter a victim’s home, school, place of business, or other specified place;
  • Order that the abuser not possess or purchase firearms or ammunition.
  • Make other orders that the court deems appropriate.
  • Order the other person to pay for rent, a change of locks, purchase of airplane tickets or vehicles.
  • Make temporary orders regarding custody and parenting time.

If you require more information about a FAPA restraining order, you don’t have to navigate this difficult situation alone. Our firm can help. Contact our office at (503) 227-0200 to set up a free consultation with one of our seasoned attorneys today.