Can I Take Out a Restraining Order Against My Mother-in-Law?

A mom writes in asking for advice. She wants to know if it would be possible to get a restraining order against her mother-in-law, who, she says, continues to make unnecessary threats against her family.

Over on the Mamas Uncut Facebook page, our robust community of moms is always having a conversation about topics that matter. We like to highlight those conversations from time to time. Important mom questions. Thoughtful mom answers. Let’s hear from the community!

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A member of the community asks:

“Can I put a restraining order against my mother-in law to keep her from my daughter? Or is there anything I can do legally to keep her away? She keeps threatening to call the authorities over dumb stuff and threatening to call Child Protective Services when she doesn’t get her way. She’s done this mutiple times. I’m just fed up with it.”

Mamas Uncut Community Member

Here’s what the community had to say.

A Restraining Order Against Your Mother-in-Law May Not Be a Valid Legal Option


“Without solid proof that your daughter is in serious physical danger, no, a judge will not grant a restraining order. Just ignore her. But like the poster above stated, she can get in trouble for filing false reports.”

“It really depends on the state and county you are in. I had someone report me. I never did find out who it was, but I’m pretty sure I know. However, here where I live, if they get a report they do have to talk to whoever lives in the house and do an in-home check, that was it. She closed the case and said my kids were fine here with me and my husband (their stepfather). When I talked to her she said if she gets anymore reports from this person her office will just ignore it unless they have some kind of proof.”

“You can’t get a protective order unless you or your children are in physical danger. You can’t get a protective order unless there have been two documented events proving physical danger in the last 3 weeks.”

Cut Your Mother-in-Law Out and Ignore Her


“Stay away from her. No contact at all.”

“Let her call. If there’s no case, CPS will not investigate. So, unless you have something to worry about, let her threaten you. Other than that, just keep your distance. I’m assuming by the reference of “Mother in law” you’re married, so, keep an open dialogue with your SO about what is going on and your intentions to keep your MIL away.”

“First, tell her, all communication must go through your SO. If she calls, hang up. If she texts, block her. Do not communicate with her at all. Maybe she’ll change her ways after a little silent treatment. Let your SO deal with his mother.”

Call Your Mother-in-Law’s Bluff


“Let her call. If there is nothing to be found, you don’t need to worry.”

“Let her file a false report. Then you can show all messages from her to prove harassment on top of the false report. That will get you a restraining order. Most importantly, talk with your husband. It’s his mother and he should be aware of everything going on with her.”

Keep Track of Everything


“Keep a record (texts & record calls) of her threats and file harassment charges.”

“I think you might need evidence. Record her if you can and then take it to the police and file a restraining order against her.”

In Conclusion


The community consensus seems to be that asking for a restraining order against your mother-in-law under these circumstances may not work out, OP. That said, it may be worth contacting a lawyer in your area who knows about the specific, applicable laws. Should a restraining order not be an option, it may be worth working with your husband to get the situation under control in order to avoid things escalating. Chances are, if your mother-in-law feels there is a chance you will cut her out of your lives, she may stop making unnecessary threats.

We wish you the best of luck, mama!

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