Q: Can my girlfriend file a restraining order against her mother's boyfriend?
My girlfriend (16) is currently living with her mother. Her mother recently got back together with her ex-boyfriend who cheated on her and abused the both of them for years. He also watched my girlfriend change her clothes when she was about 8 years old. He has recently been threatening to hit the both of them again but her mother is refusing to leave him as she believes he's changed and will not see it. This entire situation is making my girlfriend suicidal and giving her extreme depression/anxiety. Is there anyway we could get her out of house and not in Foster Care or maybe even just get a restraining order against him?
A: Your girlfriend may or may not qualify for a restraining order against the boyfriend. If she is living with Mom and her boyfriend, and there are both credible threats of repeat violence she may qualify. One potential problem, though, is that she is underage and would need someone 18 or older to act as her guardian ad litem in order to bring the lawsuit. Mom would be the natural choice but if she is unwilling, someone else who qualifies perhaps could though the court is naturally going to look to Mom to try to understand what is really going on here. If your girlfriend is prepared and able to move out on her own, and support herself with or without your assistance, she could ask the court to declare her an emancipated minor which would likely change her legal status and abilities, but that is both difficult and a rather drastic step to take even if it is feasible (which it may or may not be). Regardless, if violence does occur in the home, be it against her or Mom or both, she needs to immediately report it to the police and to document it as well as she can - keep a record of dates/times/witnesses; take pictures of bruises, etc. Best of luck
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