Harassment Restraining Order

Oftentimes in the divorce process, spouses will engage in harmful behavior towards one another. According to Minnesota Statute §609.748, harassment is defined as one (or a combination of) the following:

  • A single incident of physical or sexual assault
  • Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between you and the alleged harasser
  • A pattern of attending public events after being notified that one’s presence is harassing to another

This would include continuous phone calls, voice mails, text messages, emails, social network messages, driving by your home or office, etc.

Harassment Restraining Orders vs. Orders for Protection

A Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) is a legal tool for stopping harassment. An HRO is different from an Order for Protection (OFP). An OFP is a stronger restraining order with tougher requirements and stricter punishment for the person who is in violation of the OFP. There does not need to be a relationship between the parties for someone to file an HRO. In order to file an HRO, there must be an act that is covered by the definition of harassment.

If you have an HRO against someone, the Sheriff will have the ability to restrict the harasser from returning to your home, place of business, or wherever the harassment is taking place. A Judge is able to grant an HRO without a hearing. However, you or the person who you are requesting the HRO against, can request a hearing. If the Judge grants an HRO, you are responsible for keeping a copy of the HRO on hand. Unlike an OFP, the police will not automatically get a copy of the HRO, so it is up to you to provide them with evidence of the restraining order. If you would like to get an HRO, make sure you are keeping copies and records as proof of harassing behavior so that you can present this evidence to the Judge.