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Order of Protection

What Is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a court-issued legal document that protects a person against domestic abuse from another person. Judges set the limits, which depend on the situation, in the order. There can be many provisions in an order. However, the primary goal is to keep an abusive person away from the victim(s).

Protection Order vs. Restraining Order

Protection orders apply to domestic violence situations, where a family member abuses another family member. They apply against a spouse, significant other or family member and can protect you or your child from recurring domestic violence. They usually last between one and five years, but they qualify for renewal if a person needs protection beyond that period.

Restraining orders keep a person from doing something, such as continually harassing another by showing up at her or his home or constantly calling. Parties can file restraining orders as “ex parte,” which means without the other person knowing about it.

Similar to protection orders, orders of protection qualify for domestic violence cases, but such use is not as common. Also, in some states, restraining orders and protection orders are the same things.

What Does a Protection Order Include?

Protection orders safeguard a victim from a domestic abuser by legally ordering the abuser to stay away. However, the order of protection may include additional provisions, depending on the situation. The judge includes specific provisions if she or he deems it necessary. Here are some common provisions found in protection orders:

No-Contact Provision

The no-contact provision is the most restrictive. It prevents the abuser from not only seeing the victim, but also from emailing, texting, calling, disturbing or trying to contact the victim in any other way.

Stay-Away Provision 

The stay-away provision orders the abuser to remain a minimum distance away from the victim and the victim’s house, place of work, school or car. The minimum distance varies from state to state, but is typically at least 100 yards.

Peaceful Contact Provision

With a peaceful contact provision, the abuser may only communicate with the victim for very limited reasons. This communication must remain peaceful, and discussion must revolve around the specified topic, such as child care or child transfer.

Move Out Provision

The move out provision requires the abuser to leave the home he or she shares with the victim, regardless of whether they own the home together.

Counseling Provision

The counseling provision orders the abuser to attend counseling sessions, usually for anger management or batterer’s intervention. The judge determines the number of sessions or counseling hours the abuser must attend.

Firearm Provision

If the abuser has a firearm, this provision requires him or her to get rid of it for the safety of the victim and others. This can also prevent the abuser from purchasing a firearm in the future.

How to Get an Order of Protection

Step 1: Contact an Attorney

If you need an order of protection, you must contact an attorney who specializes in this field of law. A legal professional knows how to navigate this process as quickly as possible so you can get protection as quickly as possible. Your legal advocate can provide you with the paperwork and help you complete it efficiently.

Step 2: Complete and File the Protection Order Paperwork

When completing the paperwork, be as detailed as possible regarding what happened and while describing specific instances of abuse. Include dates and locations if possible and add any other relevant information.

Your attorney helps make sure you fill out this information correctly so you do not run into any issues when you file the paperwork with the county clerk. Do not sign the documents until you turn them into the court because you may need a notary or judge present when you sign them.

Step 3: Get a Temporary Order of Protection

With orders of protection against domestic violence, the judge issues a temporary protection order if he or she believes that you are in immediate danger. This temporary order remains in effect until after the court hearing. The police issue the abuser a temporary order that includes the date of the court hearing.

Step 4: Court Hearing  

During the court hearing, you can testify on what happened, how the defendant abused or threatened you, and why you need an order of protection. Your attorney presents supporting evidence and witnesses who help prove that the defendant abused or threatened you and is still a danger to you.

If the abuser does not attend the court hearing, there may be a default judgment issued against her or him, and you get a permanent protection order placed. Otherwise, the judge sets a new date for the hearing and extends your temporary order.

Step 5: Get a Permanent Order or Protection

The judge decides on whether to issue a permanent order of protection. Once issued, the abuser must abide by the provisions laid out in the order. This can last for several years, depending on the state, and is eligible for renewal.

Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer

Do you need to file for an order of protection? If so, you must reach out to an attorney right away. An experienced lawyer can help you file the paperwork with the court and represent you during the hearing so you can win your case.

Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!

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