Asked in Domestic Violence and Family Law for Minnesota

Q: Meaning of “no direct or indirect contact” in a restraining order in context of being in the same physical area or room?

In context of an Harrassment Restraining Order: The order says I "shall have no direct or indirect contact with petitioner, including any visits to or phone calls to petitioners home, contact via electronic means such as email or social networking sites.”

Can I be in the same building as her for things such as our children's sporting events without violating this order? Or be in the vicinity on daughter’s first day of school (knowing we will likely cross-paths)?

I take it as I cannot approach her, verbally say something to her or make some any type of gesture (basically totally ignore her presence), but not sure. I just want to be safe and make sure.

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2 Lawyer Answers

A: Is there a limitation as to how many feet away? if not the Order is somewhat vague and may not be giving clear guidance to a police officer who may be called to enforce the Order. I recommend that you contact a local attorney who practices criminal and family law, perhaps have the Order modified to grant more specific guideance.

Jonathan Matthew Holson
Jonathan Matthew Holson
  • Domestic Violence Lawyer
  • Saint Cloud, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: It is totally dependent upon the language in the OFP. I would avoid being in the same location as the protected party. Being at school events is setting yourself up for trouble. The problem is not being there, but putting yourself in a location where she can claim that you had some sort of contact with you. For example, she could claim that you were at a sporting event and you flipped her the bird or said something to her. She could claim contact and you could end up being arrested for violating the OFP. You are setting yourself up for trouble by attending these events. I know that is difficult, but better to avoid the potential trouble.

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