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Legal Information: Washington

Restraining Orders

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December 3, 2020

What factors will a judge take into consideration when deciding whether or not to extend my order?

In order for the judge to deny your request to extend/renew your order, the abuser would have to prove that there has been a “material change in circumstances” and that s/he is therefore “not likely” to engage in, or attempt to engage in, physical or nonphysical contact with you once the order expires. The following are a list of factors that the judge can consider when deciding if, in fact, there has been a material change in circumstances:

  1. whether the respondent has committed or threatened sexual assault, domestic violence, stalking, or other violent acts since the protection order was entered;
  2. whether the respondent has violated the terms of the protection order and how much time has passed since the order was issued;
  3. whether the respondent has shown suicidal ideations or suicide attempts since the protection order was entered;
  4. whether the respondent has been convicted of any criminal activity since the protection order was entered;
  5. whether the respondent has either:
    • acknowledged responsibility for the acts of sexual assault that caused you to get the protection order; or
    • successfully completed sexual assault perpetrator treatment or counseling since the protection order was entered;
  6. whether the respondent has a continuing involvement with drug or alcohol abuse, if such abuse was a factor in the protection order;
  7. whether you or the respondent has relocated to an area that puts more distance between you (although the judge is also supposed to recognize that acts of sexual assault can be committed from any distance including online); and
  8. any other factors relating to a material change in circumstances.1

1 R.C.W. § 7.90.121(3)(b),(c)