New research shows bias in restraining orders
209A abuse protection orders grant the “victim” enormous power over their alleged abusers. Provisions include removal from one’s own home, granting of immediate custody of minor children to the alleged victim with a consequent assignment of child support, and the threat of 2 ½ years in jail and $10,000 fine for any violation of the order, including the no-contact provisions. It’s important to understand that a 209A order taken against a father, besides removing all legal and physical custodial rights to his children, also extends the no-contact provisions to those children. Any contact he may have with his children, direct or third-party or even unintentional, holds him criminally accountable to the same punishments as mentioned above. This is why a 209A restraining order is referred to as the nuclear first-strike in the commencement of a divorce action.
The study also analyzed court response with respect to granting of custody of minor children when the litigants are parents. Mothers were 288% more likely than fathers to receive custody of children as a direct provision of the 209A order. However, in the few cases where fathers received custody, which was only at ex parte hearings, none of the fathers secured long-term custody of their children at follow-up hearings.
The message couldn’t be clearer. If you are a father suffering domestic violence from your wife (or otherwise mother of your children) do not try to use the legal system to gain protection for yourself and/or your children—there is a high risk you will lose your children regardless of the circumstances of the abuse in the household.