Parvati Shallow, known for winning the 2008 season of Survivor, has had her request for a restraining order against her husband John Fincher dismissed during their contentious divorce proceedings.
Shallow claims that Fincher, who competed on Survivor in 2009, has been verbally and emotionally abusive toward her. Shallow had requested and received a temporary restraining order on the grounds of domestic violence against Fincher in early September. However, temporary orders are not guaranteed to become permanent. However, at the official hearing on September 20th, the judge dismissed the accusations and refused to grant a permanent replacement.
According to Fincher’s legal representation, Shallow’s allegations of abuse were categorically false. It appears that the judge at the hearing at least agrees that the claims aren’t supported.
Still, regardless of whether Shallow can support her allegations, having a protective order dismissed can be upsetting. In many cases, it can even put you in danger. Keep reading to learn what you need to apply for a protective order, how one may affect your divorce, and what to do if your protective order is dismissed.
Requirements for Protective Orders
There are several different kinds of restraining orders you can ask for. However, if you’re getting divorced and want protection from your ex-partner, you will most likely request a protective domestic violence restraining order. This type is only available to people being abused in close relationships like spouses, family members, and co-parents.
To receive a domestic violence restraining order, you must show that:
- Someone has abused or threatened to harm you
- You have one of the following relationships with that person:
- Dating or have dated in the past
- Co-parents of a child
- Living together as more than roommates
- Closely related
You can prove abuse with items like police reports, videos of abuse taking place, or screenshots of threatening messages.
If you can prove these items, you can receive protection like:
- Preventing the subject from contacting or coming near you
- Keeping the subject away from your home, work, or school
- Forcing them to leave your home
- Paying ordered funds like child support and alimony
- Barring them from owning or possessing a gun
When restraining orders are dismissed, it means that the restraints on the subject have been removed. In many cases, this means that the subject of the directive can contact and spend time near the recipient. They are only supposed to be dismissed if the court believes the recipient is not in danger. That is what happened in the case of Shallow’s directive against her spouse.
How Restraining Orders Affect Divorce
A domestic violence restraining order will have significant impacts on a potential divorce. First and foremost, the order prevents the subject from communicating with the recipient. This can give the recipient much greater peace of mind during the process.
More importantly, these orders act as proof of abuse in court. In California, abuse victims can’t be forced to pay alimony to their abusers. Furthermore, people covered under these orders rarely receive shared custody of any children from the relationship. As a result, any divorce with a protective order in place is heavily weighted in favor of the person who requested the protection.
What to Do If Your Restraining Order Is Dismissed
Of course, sometimes mistakes are made, and a restraining order is dismissed when it shouldn’t be. This is unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst. Still, it’s not the end of the world. If your request for protection from your spouse has been dismissed, you have options that will help you stay safe.
Develop a Safety Plan
A safety plan is an essential part of staying safe if you’re living with or leaving an abuser. Safety plans are just that: strategies for staying safe in different situations.
While your restraining order was in place, it played an essential role in your safety plan. However, it should never have been the entirety of the plan. After all, these bans doesn’t physically prevent an abuser from getting in touch with you.
Whether or not you already have a safety plan, now’s the time to make a new one. You should answer questions like:
- How will I keep my home safe?
- What will I do if I see my abuser in public?
- How will I stay safe at work?
- How will I prevent my abuser from getting in contact with me?
Many safety plans include elements like changing locks on your home, having escape strategies for places where your abuser may appear, and changing or locking down your phone and social media accounts. Your specific plan will depend on your abuser and your situation.
Get Help from Domestic Violence Organizations
You don’t have to do everything on your own. Whether you need somewhere safe to stay or you just want help developing your safety plan, there are organizations dedicated to helping victims of abusers. You can reach out to local domestic violence organizations like the Blue Shield of California Foundation or the Riley Center of St. Vincent de Paul. These organizations have trained staff who can help you find housing and protect yourself even after a restraining order is dismissed.
File a New Protection Request
Finally, you should work with a qualified family law attorney to file for a new restraining order. The new request may need to be based on activity since the previous order was dismissed, so make sure you record your ex’s behavior. Your lawyer will advise you about what information you need to present to make a stronger case during your subsequent request.
Protect Yourself and Your Safety
While Shallow’s restraining order was dismissed, many people receive them every day. If you’re struggling with abuse in your divorce, get help as soon as possible. A qualified family law attorney will help you collect the evidence you need to build a case and get the protection you deserve. Schedule your consultation today to start the process of protecting yourself.