03 Dec 18

Can my unborn child be added to the restraining order?

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A pregnancy can be one of the most joyous events in a person’s life. Bringing a child into the world is something that many people dream of doing for years. Knowing that you’ve created a new life, and that you get to nurture that life into adulthood, is an incredibly rewarding feeling. But sometimes problems between parents can turn a pregnancy into a stressful, anxious, and uncertain event. Mothers going through fraught relationship issues with the father of their child may fear for the safety of their child. There are some tips you can keep in mind regarding restraining orders.

Restraining Orders and How They Work

When one individual has been threatened or harmed by another individual, they may get a legal restraining order. This court order protects the individual from a person who has made threats, been violent, or committed a sexual assault. Restraining orders can also apply in cases of stalking.

The legal procedures for restraining orders vary from state to state. In some states, a person must present proof that the other individual is causing them harm. Other states only require that you prove the person has the potential to harm you. If the situation is an emergency, a temporary restraining order may be granted. It’s important to note, however, that they will expire. Permanent restraining orders require some form of proof to be presented to the court.

Paternal Rights

If you’re pregnant and have gotten a restraining order against the father of your child, it’s not guaranteed that the restraining order will extend to your unborn child. Before the restraining order can include your child, the father must have paternity testing done to see whether he is the biological father.

Paternity testing is referred to as a Motion to Establish Paternity in the court. After the father’s biological paternity has been proven, he has the option to file a petition for custody. Filing custody doesn’t automatically mean he will win custody, but he has a legal right to pursue the issue.

Maternal Rights

If you make the decision, you’re legally allowed to bar the father from being in your delivery room during the birth. When paternity testing has established a biological connection between the father and the baby, he has the legal right to come see the baby after the birth. But he cannot be there to witness the birth when you don’t want him there.

There’s a simple reasoning behind this. Giving birth is a difficult process already. Bringing a new life into the world should be as calming, gentle, and joyous as possible. You should not feel threatened while giving birth, as this might cause harm to both the baby and you.

Restraining Order Protections

If you wish to have protection for your unborn baby in addition to yourself, you need to go back to the court and file a separate restraining order regarding the baby. When you already have a restraining order proving violence or intent to harm, it shouldn’t be hard to convince the court there is a reasonable danger to the child.

The court’s job is to make the decision that’s best for the baby. If restraining orders are necessary to protect the child from harm, they will grant them.

What to Do

When you’re proving your case in court, the most important evidence you have is documentation. You need to document as many events as possible. Everything the baby’s father has said or done must be documented. It’s important to remember as much as possible. The more information you have, the stronger your case will be.

Throughout the filing process, you should continue to document everything. Bring your documentation to the court. After your restraining order is granted, you can document any threats or attempts at contact. Keep track of the dates and times at which these events occur. Violating a restraining order is a serious offense, and the court will make him face legal repercussions.

Photographs are also important parts of documentation. If there are any photos of physical evidence left by violent acts, they’ll be helpful in your case. When you establish a history of violent behavior toward you, the court may reasonably believe the father is a danger to the child.

Final Thoughts

After your child is born, the father may legally establish his paternity and try to get custody. This course of action is his legal right. But a restraining order makes it unlikely he will win custody.

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