Legal Information: Rhode Island

Restraining Orders

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November 4, 2022

Can a minor file for a restraining order?

In family court or in district court, an adult can file on behalf of his/her minor child or a child in his/her custody. The law further clarifies that in family court, the minor’s parent, custodian, or legal guardian can file on behalf of the minor - or, if the minor is in the custody of the Department of Children, Youth and Families (“DCYF”), DCYF can file on behalf of the minor. Note: The language of the law says that “a person” can file a petition on his/her own behalf,1 which perhaps can be interpreted to mean that a minor can file on his/her own behalf without a parent. However, if you are a minor who is hoping to file on your own, you may want to check with a lawyer at a free legal services organization to be sure that the court will accept your petition.

1 RI Gen. Laws §§ 15-15-3(a); 8-8.1-3(a); 8-8.1-1(5)

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