A Guide to Restraining Orders
When leaving a former partner, married or common-law, you and your children have the right to feel safe. Unfortunately this is not always the case.
What is a restraining order and should I apply for one?
The purpose of a restraining order is to protect you and your children from a former partner, or spouse. If you are afraid that this person may cause harm to you and your loved ones, apply for a restraining order.
To apply for a restraining order you will need to fill out a Form 8: Application and a Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) Restraining Order Information Form. The application lists all the issues you need the court to deal with and why, and whether or not you are asking for more than a restraining order, such as custody or child support.
Take the completed forms back to the family court counter to be signed and dated.
Copies of the forms must then be served along with a blank Form 10: Answer. If you don’t have a lawyer, the family court can arrange to have the documents delivered. The person who you are seeking the restraining order against must fill out Form 10, file it with the court and serve you with a copy of their answer.
Once you have served your documents, complete a Form 6B: Affidavit of Service as proof. Then file a Form 14C: Confirmation to verify that you will appear in court on the date and time of the hearing as indicated by the courthouse.
All forms can be found on the Ontario Court Services website or at your municipal courthouse.
Hearing and outcome
At your court appearance the judge will review both pleas and make a decision based on the evidence presented. Unfortunately, restraining orders will not always be granted, so make sure to provide the most accurate and detailed information possible to convince the court that your terms are necessary.
If the order is granted, get a few copies and keep one on you at all times. If you have children, make sure they always carry a copy too.
What happens next?
As soon as the issued order is served all terms listed must be obeyed until termination date. Breaching the order is a criminal offence, and if found guilty the defendant could go to jail. When the restraining order expires the court will issue you, the other person and the police a copy of Form 25H: Order Terminating Restraining Order. The order will then be deleted from the CPIC.
Remember, the safety of you and your children is paramount. The restraining order process can take some time. If your situation is urgent, bring a motion to obtain the order right away. To do this you will need to complete a Form 14: Notice of Motion, Form 14A: Affidavit (General), a CPIC Restraining Order Information form and a Form 14C: Confirmation. Depending on the degree of risk, do not hesitate to call the police.