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Legal Information: New York

Restraining Orders

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November 9, 2020

What is the legal definition of an "intimate relationship?"

An intimate relationship includes heterosexual and same-sex couples who are/were dating but do not have a child in common. An “intimate” relationship does not have to mean a sexual one. To decide if a relationship is intimate, the judge will look at the nature (type) of the relationship, and how often and for how long the people in the relationship were in contact.1

Since judges can interpret the word “intimate” differently, a broad range of people may be able to file against each other that you might not expect. For example, in one case, a judge allowed a woman to file against her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend who harassed her. Since both women had children with the man, and the new girlfriend helped to care for the ex-girlfriend’s children, the judge considered the two women to have an “intimate” relationship even though there was no sexual contact between the two women.2

1 NY Fam Ct Act § 812(1)(e)
2 See R.M.W. v. G.M.M. & K.F. v. G.M.M, 2009 N.Y. Slip Op. 29038