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Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
December 3, 2020

What factors will a judge consider when deciding whether or not to terminate my permanent or long-term order for protection?

If you have an order for protection that is permanent or that lasts for more than two years and the respondent files to terminate the order, the judge will decide whether or not to dismiss the request based on what is written in the respondent’s declaration and in your opposing declaration or whether or not to schedule a hearing.  (You can read more about this process in Can the abuser file a motion to change or terminate my order for protection?)  If the judge holds a hearing, the respondent must prove that there has been a substantial change in circumstances since the order was issued, which makes it unlikely that the respondent would commit future acts of domestic violence against you or anyone else protected in the order. The judge will consider the following factors when considering if there has been a substantial change in circumstances:

  1. Whether or not the abuser has done any of the following:
    • committed or threatened domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or other violent acts since the order for protection was entered; violated the order for protection, and the time that has passed since the order was issued;
    • expressed a desire to commit suicide or has attempted suicide since the order for protection was entered;
    • been convicted of a crime since the order for protection was entered;
    • either accepted responsibility for the acts of domestic violence that are the basis for the order for protection or successfully completed domestic violence perpetrator treatment or counseling since the order for protection
    • is abusing alcohol or drugs, if alcohol or drug abuse was a factor in the order for protection;
  2. Whether or not you agree with the abuser’s request to terminate the order for protection, provided that your consent is given voluntarily and knowingly;
  3. If you or the abuser has relocated to an area more distant from the other party; Note: The judge must still consider the fact that domestic violence can be committed from any distance; and
  4. Other factors relating to a substantial change in circumstances.1

Note: The judge cannot make his/her decision based only on the fact that: 1) time has passed without a violation of the order; or 2) you or the abuser has relocated to an area more distant from the other party.  Also, even if the abuser proves that there has been a substantial change in circumstances, the judge can still deny the request to terminate the order if the domestic violence that caused you to get the order for protection was so severe that the judge believes that the order should not be terminated.2

1 R.C.W. § 26.50.130(3)(a),(b),(c)
2 R.C.W. § 26.50.130(3)(d),(e)