Protective Orders

If you have been the victim of domestic or family violence, a protective order can help protect you from future physical or emotional harm. A protective order is a civil proceeding ordered by the court that restricts the amount of contact that certain people can have with the person requesting the order, also known as the petitioner. The petitioner may file for a protective order at no cost if he or she has been a victim of stalking, a sex offense, or domestic or family violence.

When a protective order is put in place, certain individuals, also known as "responders," over the age of 18 are required to refrain from directly or indirectly contacting the petitioner in any way. Protective orders also protect the members of the petitioner's household from being contacted by those responders. In the case of a divorce, the judge can create a modification to the protective order that allows contact between the parties for the purpose of child visitation. This modification will only happen upon the petitioner's request.

The judge presiding over the court order also has the power to order a number of conditions as part of the protective order. These conditions may include ordering the responder to not vacate a residence or ordering the responder to pay child support even if the petitioner and responder are still married. If you are looking to file a protective order and are in the process of getting a divorce, you should file your application in the same court in which your divorce in pending.

When should you file a protective order? It is important to file as soon as you have been threatened or harassed so that law enforcement agencies can intervene as early as possible. If you feel threatened or if you have been harassed, contact a family law attorney for legal help with filing your protective order. By taking preemptive action and filing a protective order, you are making the decision to keep you and your family from potential harm.

Click here to find a family lawyer to help you gain a protective order.