Family courts are notorious for issuing restraining orders based on one woman's unsupported request. The New Jersey Law Journal reported that an instructor taught judges to be merciless to husbands and fathers, saying, "Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, 'See ya' around.'"
People have a better chance to prove their innocence in traffic court than when subjected to a restraining order. Too often the order serves no legitimate purpose, but is just an easy way for one spouse to get revenge or the upper hand in a divorce or child custody dispute.
Once a restraining order is issued, it becomes nearly impossible for a father to retain custody or even get to see his own children. That is the result even though the alleged domestic violence, which doesn't have to be physical or proven, did not involve the children at all.
The article mentions the case of U.S. v. Hayes (482 F.3d 749 (4th Cir. 2007)), in which a man was charged with being a prohibited possessor due to a prior misdemeanor battery conviction, the victim of which was his then wife. At issue in the case is whether the federal statute prohibiting possession of firearms by those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence requires that the underlying crime have as an element (that the state needs to prove beyond a reasonable doubt) a domestic relationship between the offender and victim. The federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal statute does require such a relationship in order for the underlying crime to meet the definition of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case in its next term, which starts in October.