Modern Family Matters

Life After A FAPA Hearing: Renewals, Dismissals And Violations

December 04, 2023 with Pacific Cascade Legal Season 1 Episode 119
Modern Family Matters
Life After A FAPA Hearing: Renewals, Dismissals And Violations
Show Notes Transcript

Join us for our live event as we sit down with Pacific Cascade Legal's Partner, Will Jones, to discuss what life looks like after a Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) restraining order is filed, including how you renew or dismiss a FAPA, and what happens if it's violated.

If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please call our office at (503) 227-0200, or visit our website at

Disclaimer: Nothing in this communication is intended to provide legal advice nor does it constitute a client-attorney relationship, therefore you should not interpret the contents as such.

Welcome to Modern Family Matters, a podcast devoted to exploring family law topics that matter most to you. Covering a wide range of legal, personal, and family law matters, with expert analysis from skilled attorneys and professional guests, we hope that our podcast provides answers, clarity, and guidance towards a better tomorrow for you and your family. Here's your host, Steve Altishin.

Steve Altishin  0:31  
I'm Steve Altishin, Director of Client Partnerships at Pacific Cascade Legal and I'm here with our lead attorney, William Jones to talk about life after a FAPA hearing, and what to know about renewals, dismissals, and violations of the order. Willll, how are you doing today? 

Will Jones  0:48  
Not too bad, Steve, another lovely day here in Oregon, or Washington, depending on which office you're reading this from.

Steve Altishin  0:55  
Either one, lovely day. So let's talk before life after a FAPA for for folks, just a very brief sort of, like 10,000 foot overview of you know, what a FAPA is.

Will Jones  1:13  
So a FAPA obviously an acronym. Kind of weird word if it wasn't an acronym. It stands for family abuse protection restraining order. So the purpose of that is people who generally are in some type of intimate relationship, whether that's kids, sexual, whether they married somebody manner of intimate partnership, that's the family part. If there's been abuse within the prior 180 days, and basically reasonable, fair or credible, for further abuse going forward person can be granted that order, purpose of the order is just to keep the people apart, right? That's what we want. So it only restraints one party, it's the party who the order gets served. So somebody runs to court, they get the order, as soon as it's served on the other party. Now, the police have access to that in what's called their leads database. So that's the law enforcement data entry system. The restrain Party now has that on basically, you could call it their criminal record, but in leads, so if those people are together, and the sheriff knows about it, the sheriff is going to arrest the restraining party, put them in usually for the evening, maybe have to post bail. But usually they're in jail for the night or something like that. They can also be charged with contempt, because they violated a court order. So it's a restraining order, basically trying to keep people apart, because there's been some manner of abuse, and we think it's going to continue.

Steve Altishin  2:28  
What is the the general timeframe of how long a  resstraining order from a FAPA lasts? s there just a set time that it lasts?

Will Jones  2:40  
And so the statute itself says that one year, right, and they can be renewed after a year, now there is a right to a hearing in there that you have to request within 30 days. So maybe gets dismissed at the hearing? Usually, parties are kind of free to say, look, I had the order, everything's fine. Now I want to dismiss it. Judge has ultimate discretion there. So if somebody gets the order comes in and says, Hey, Judge, everything's fine. But they have a big black guy. And maybe there's somebody scary standing in the corner judgment go, I don't feel safe dismissing this order right now. So they still have discretion to hold it there. But most of the times, if somebody comes in and goes, Look, I don't need this order anymore. A judge is gonna go okay, fine. But the statute says if the hearing doesn't go well, for the Green Party, they last for a year. There is some stuff dealing with the house representatives, or the legislature, all that stuff where they're talking. And actually voting just hasn't gone through all the way yet of extending that to two years. So sometime in the near future, we're all expecting factors to last two years, but right now, it's only one.

Steve Altishin  3:42  
Kind of a goofy question, a year from when? You go in initially, like you said, and get an order. And then maybe later, a month or so or who knows, you have a hearing. It lasts a year from when, from the hearing or from the original order?

Will Jones  4:04  
Generally, from the original order. There is a little bit of, oh, you could call it confusion on when it actually takes place. Because conceptually, that order once it's issued goes into leads, but it hasn't been served on the party to be restrained yet. And every now and then we'll see that case where somebody got a restraining order, but it hasn't been served. That person who's restrained by the order, even though they don't know about it, they're in leads, so they can still be arrested. Right? It's already in there even though they don't know about it yet. So there's always that argument to be made of a and we didn't know about the order be if a long time has come between when they got it and when it was served. It may be that later date of service or the party actually has knowledge of it.

Steve Altishin  4:48  
So what if someone does want to renew it? What do they do? Do they start the process all over again, do they call up and say I want to have it renewed and then they get the thing renewed?

Will Jones  5:01  
So there's actually available on the state website, it's something our firm can help with is their auto renewal forms. It's very, very similar to the original fabric itself. What's important about renewing, the fact is you have to do it while it's in existence. If it gets dismissed after a year, because the year has just passed, then you go to renew it. Now you're into a new FAFSA application, one of the things you have to have in order to get a restraining orders, you have to have abuse within the prior 190 days. If you've had a restraining order that hasn't been violated in the whole year, even though there may be reasonable fear, then you want to keep that order. Once it's dismissed, now you look back and you try to get another one. There's no abuse within the prior 180 days, person hasn't even contacted you in the last year. Now your FAFSA application is going to get dismissed or denied because the judge didn't go, I don't know. But if you move to renew it, you don't have to prove that abuse, you start to show that it's reasonable fear moving forward. So you got to do it within a year form goes over the courthouse get served on the other party, the other party has the right to request a hearing on the renewal.

Steve Altishin  6:04  
It sounds like renewal is a little bit of a kind of a squishy process in that you have to show actual violence to get one, but just a reasonable fear of violence in the renewal. What sort of things can make someone have a reasonable fear if no one's talked to them for a year?

Will Jones  6:33  
All kinds of stuff. And I'll tell you, I've been doing this probably too long. For quite a while. People are crazy. There's all kinds of stuff that happens. So some of the stuff that we end up kind of encountering and we see in some type of renewals are, let's say a restraining order hasn't been violated in a year. Party who got the order wants to renew it. And they may come into court with some witnesses who go, I've seen that guy, and all he talks about is how he can't wait for this order to be dropped. So he can go back to being violent, then may come in to our office to the court and say, I keep getting these really weird letters with cut out letters from magazines that say I hate you, but there's no return address. And I get one of those a week, people do all kinds of strange stuff. I keep getting emails from random email addresses that have all my personal information and say that I hate you. Does that mean that the person who's restrained is doing that? Not necessarily. But those can create some reasonable fear of further abuse, even though we don't know. So all kinds of stuff can happen, even when there's no direct contact between people. Typically, what you see in the renewal is that it's been violated a few times, right? This person keeps contacting me this keeps happening. Person has been, you know, in jail a couple of times because they violated it. So you go in on the renewal and go, Well, you're just not informed me already, so we'll see what we can do.

Steve Altishin  8:02  
Is the renewal a one time thing?

Will Jones  8:07  
That can be renewed every year. But you see the problem that kind of gets created is you have to show reasonable fear. And if it's been 10 years of no contact. What are we really doing here? 

Steve Altishin  8:17  
Yeah, right. So let's talk about the consequences of violating restraining orders. You know, imagine you get a lot of people come in and they say, you know, we got to get rid of this. I mean, anything I mean, I talked to her twice on the phone and I sent her an email but a mandatory thing I'm not I haven't hitter. So what happens if they violate the restraining order, even if it's a little bitty part of it.

Will Jones  8:45  
There is no minor violation of a restraining order. They are violations, period. It doesn't matter if the party with the order texts, the restraining party first, doesn't matter if they call, you ignore those calls and ignore those text messages, you block the number you do nothing. You're both happy to be at Safeway. You better get out of Safeway, if there's a restraining order against you. That's the way it works. The reason that is is because only the restraining party is in leads. The police only know that this person has to stay away from that person doesn't go the other way. Now, obviously a judge if there was a violent violation hearing where you both ended up at Safeway, a judge may go, this is silly. Get this out of here it happens. You guys live in the same neighborhood. What do you want me to do? Nothing happened. But the sheriff, police officer, whoever it is, they're going to look at leads and go You can't be here. This person was go to jail. Once you violated a restraining order, it's automatic arrest. Right. Sheriff obviously has some discretion. They always do but it should be automatic arrest. Most people spend the night in jail. You can be brought on contempt charges because you willfully violated a court order. multiple violations will keep you longer than original bail. Those things are all going to happen. So I recommend not violating the bonds. But as you Do it more it gets worse. Same thing with speeding tickets, they're not all the same price. If you got 100 of them, you're paying more. It's just the way it works.

Steve Altishin  10:07  
What if the person who is the victim decides that, you know, I want to drop the restraining order, this person, it's gotten better? I think they've gotten to classes, they've gotten help, you know, I just don't want to have this anymore. What can they do about that?

Will Jones  10:29  
So they can ask that that were either because Mr. Modified, right, both are possible. Depending on kind of how the order works, we see a lot of minor modification hearings, because maybe it's interfering with parenting time, or the ability to pick up or drop off the kids or things like that. So we see a lot of minor modifications like that. Whoever has the order is welcome to run out of the courthouse and say, look, here's how I want to change this. But it's still in the judge's discretion to change it. Right? So just because somebody says, I want this dismissed, a judge Mako, no, I don't feel comfortable as a judicial officer in dismissing this order. Because I think that there's real reason for you to be in fear, or every now and then I think you've been manipulated into doing this. And the party who is the abuser in the situation is still controlling you in some way. Right. And if you don't drop the order, they won't pay the rent, or whatever the case is. So judge still maintains discretion. Generally, judges want to do what the people want to do. Right. So most of the time, it's not a problem, but the judge is still in charge.

Steve Altishin  11:31  
Can a FAPA restraining order be changed, while it's an effect? And if it can be changed, can parts of it be changed, like can you say, no more no physical contact, but you can, you know, send an email regarding the kids or something like that, can changes be made?

Will Jones  11:52  
Yeah. So either party is welcome to request those changes from the court. If it's the party who has the order, a judge normally just signs off on and goes, Yeah, that's a good idea. Things like emailing about the kids. Yeah, those are things you got to get into there, because that's a violation unless the order says you can do it. So still contact. So don't do that. Even though it's about the kids, you gotta get the order change before you do anything else, right? Same thing with fire, something's on fire, don't touch it, put the fire up first, then you can touch it, and you'll probably be okay. If the order is in effect, it's an effect. So either party is welcome to request changes. Normally, if it's the party who's restrained, the court is going to hold a hearing on that. If it's the party who has the order, a lot of times the court will just sign off on it and go seems reasonable. If that's what you want to do, it's your order so we're fine with that.

Steve Altishin  12:42  
The kind of final thought on this is that if someone is served with a FAPA and they kind of say, Okay, fine, I understand I'm just I'm not going to contest it, and let it go. Is that FAPA order then, they don't really have any control of what actually goes into at the beginning, which makes a lot of these things that we talked about in terms of enforcement and change, something that maybe they could have gotten talked about at the beginning and not have that issue come up later. Seems like it's always a good idea to make sure you just don't ignore it.

Will Jones  13:21  
Yeah,  I guess a hallmark of legal practice, in general, is never ignore anything from the court, ever. That can really affect a lot of your rights. Specifically, when you're dealing with the fact that there's firearm restrictions that can go in there, you get caught with a gun, when you have a typo, that's not going to be great for you. Probably worse than just a violation. Because if you're just storing your firearms, you didn't do that you're clearly in contempt of court. A lot of not fun things can happen. So if anybody out there gets served with the FAP, have a read it, read it very carefully, maybe talk to an attorney about it, because there's lots of stuff we can do in there to either lessen the restrictions and make them more manageable or maybe have a hearing just get the whole thing to go away.

Steve Altishin  14:06  
Yeah. Well thank you, Will, thank you again for sitting down and talking to us about, you know, life after FAPA and how FAPA renewals work and dismissals work and violations work, enforcement work. Some really important stuff to know. So thank you for talking about that today.

Will Jones  14:23  
You betcha. Steve, glad I could help. If anybody needs anything, we're not hard to find. 

Steve Altishin  14:29  
No, we are not. Everyone, thank you for joining us today. Any further questions, as Will said, please feel free to contact our firm and we can get you connected with an attorney who can help. Until next time, stay safe, stay happy, be well.

This has been Modern Family Matters, a legal podcast focusing on providing real answers and direction for individuals and families. Our podcast is sponsored by Pacific Cascade Legal, serving families in Oregon and Washington. If you are in need of legal counsel or have additional questions about a family law matter important to you, please visit our websites at or You can also call our headquarters at (503) 227-0200 to schedule a case evaluation with one of our seasoned attorneys. Modern Family Matters, advocating for your better tomorrow and offering legal solutions important to the modern family.