Orders Of Protection
You probably know it as a restraining order. A domestic violence order of protection is a civil court order designed to provide protection from physical harm caused by force from a family or household member.
To obtain an order of protection, you must show that you have some kind of ongoing relationship with your abuser. Examples of relationships include:
- Being related by blood
- Being married or having been married to the abuser
- Being a straight or same-sex partner with the abuser
- Being related to a spouse or former spouse (former in-laws do not qualify under the law)
- Living in the same household
- Having a child with your abuser, or being pregnant with his child
- Being related by court order, like adoption
- Being a minor living or having lived in the same household, and being related by blood to a former spouse of the abuser
An order of protection tells your abuser to have no contact with you of any kind — by phone; letter or messages passed on by another; or visits to or near your home, workplace or school.
If you and your abuser live in the same home, the court can order the abuser to move out. If the abuser owns firearms, they must be turned over to police. At its discretion, the court can deny abusers access to their children.
Does An Order Of Protection Cost Money?
No. Orders of protection are issued free of charge.
What Is The Timeline For An Order Of Protection?
An order goes into effect the moment your abuser is served with a copy. It will be in effect one year from that moment. Your abuser retains the right to protest the order, which means he or she can request a hearing anytime during the period the order is in effect. You must attend this hearing or the order will be amended or rescinded.
It is a crime that invokes contempt of court if an abuser knowingly violates the order. It is up to you to report every violation to the police or the court. Likewise, you must be vigilant about not violating your own restraining order. If you fail to report violations, you make it difficult for the court to act.
I am available to represent either side as lawyer: the side legitimately seeking protection, or the side that believes the request is an effort to limit access to the children or obtain advantage in divorce proceedings.