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Protective Orders

Understanding Protective Orders

Protective Orders and Orders for Protection are civil orders entered to protect victims of domestic or family violence, sex offenses and stalking. In order to obtain a Protective Order, the petitioner (individual seeking protection) needs to be a victim of domestic or family violence and the respondent (individual against whom protection is sought) must be a family or household member. In order to obtain a Protective Order for a stalking or sex offense, the respondent does not have to be a family or household member.

If domestic or family violence, sex offense or stalking has occurred, the petitioner may file a petition without a filing fee, in the county in which the petitioner, respondent or incidents occurred. After the petition is filed, the court will either grant or deny the Petition for an Order for Protection. The court may grant an Order ex parte (without a hearing) for a period of up to two years, during which the respondent will be ordered:

  1. Not to commit or threaten to commit domestic or family violence, a sex offense, or stalking against the petitioner or the petitioner’s family or household members;
  2. Not harass, annoy, telephone, or indirectly or directly contact the petitioner; and/or
  3. To stay away from a residence, school, place of employment, or other place.

The Protective Order Process

If an Order for Protection is granted ex parte, the respondent may request a hearing within 30 days of the entry of the Order.

In addition, the court may, ex parte, order the respondent to be evicted from the residence, grant possession of the residence, motor vehicles and other necessary personal items to the petitioner and/or order additional relief to provide for the safety and welfare of the petitioner and/or any family or household members. However, if such relief is granted, a hearing must be held to determine whether the relief shall continue for the Order of Protection period.

Further, after a hearing, the court may grant specific parenting time; attorneys’ fees; payment of residence expenses; support/maintenance; reimbursement for expenses related to the incident; prohibiting the possession of a firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons; or surrendering of firearms.

Once an Order for Protection is entered, it is possible for criminal charges to be filed against the respondent if he or she violates the Order. If a violation occurs, the petitioner should contact the police and/or prosecutor’s office immediately. In addition, the respondent’s actions may be brought to the attention of the civil court through contempt proceedings.

It is important to keep in mind that Protective Orders are not the same as a No Contact Order or Temporary Restraining Order. A No Contact Order is entered in a criminal or juvenile proceeding. Temporary Restraining Orders are civil orders to prevent parties from disposing of assets, granting temporary possession of property, or preventing a parent from removing a child from the state.

A Safe Harbor in Turbulent Times

If you have been a victim of domestic or family violence, sex offenses, or stalking or are the respondent of an Order of Protection, Carmel family lawyers can assist. Attorney Hains will fight vigorously to help you gain the protection you need, so that you can focus on rebuilding your life. Contact Joshua R. Hains today to discuss your options.