An order of protection is more commonly called a restraining order. It is a legal document that is filed against someone who makes you feel unsafe, such as a spouse, significant other, family member, or anyone else that you are afraid of. Since it is signed by a judge, it is enforceable in court.
An order of protection is customizable and can be written however you need it to be. However, it is commonly used to keep the abusive person away from you. Usually, they are unable to be within a certain amount distance to you.
Orders of protection can also prevent your abuser from contacting you by phone, text, or even email. If you live together, they may need to move out. You may even be able to keep the abuser away from your children. If money is needed, an order of protection may even get you spousal or child support.
So, what happens if they don’t listen? If the abuser contacts you or gets close to you, not listening to the order, they can be sent to jail.
If you need protection, here are the steps that you need to take.
The first thing that you need to do is go to court. Here, you will have to file a petition to get an order of protection. You need to go to the courthouse in the county where you live (or where your abuser lives). It is often better to go where he or she lives, instead of where you live so he or she can’t find you as easily.
There are some counties that allow you to do the paperwork over the internet instead of going into the courthouse. Because of this, you may get a temporary restraining order. This is a good option if you are really afraid of your abuser.
Please remember that, if the police were ever needed during an attack, it is important to bring their report along. You will also need to bring along identification.
Then, it is time to actually fill out the forms. Take your time going through the forms so that you don’t make any mistakes. Ask any questions that you may have so that you fill it out right, without any problems.
When filling out the forms, you must remember that you are the petitioner while your abuser is the respondent. Be as thorough as possible when you describe all of the abuse that you have gone through. It might be helpful to include when and where you were, as well as the injuries that you have suffered.
After you fill out the form, it is time to see the judge. At this time, he or she will decide if an arrest should be made or if your abuser should just be given a court date. A temporary restraining order can be made if it is needed, as well as any custody arrangements that may need to be made.
Then, your abuser will need to be served with the papers and information. It is up to you to decide who serves this to your abuser. Many people prefer this to be done by the police department.
This is important because your order of protection won’t go into effect until it is served.
You may be required to go to a hearing (or more). You need to make sure that you go to the court every time that you are requested. If you skip any, your judge will dismiss your case and you will lose your protection.
An order of protection will help you live peacefully. If you are scared of someone, it will keep them away from you, as well as ensure that they don’t contact you. If they usually support you, you may be able to get spousal or child support.
Contact us for all of your legal needs.