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What is a protective order?

Protective orders are designed to prevent one person from contacting another. The person that a protective order is sought against may have harassed a specific individual (also known as the petitioner) in some way. They could have also tried to bother the petitioner at their home, school, place of employment or other public location.

Who can ask for a protective order?

A protective order may be requested by a husband, wife, adult child, significant other or relative. They generally apply to someone that a person has had a romantic or other personal relationship with. Protective orders cannot be sought against coworkers, friends, acquaintances or strangers. A peace order is usually much more applicable in those instances.

Why should I consider a protective order?

If someone that you have a close personal relationship with has committed one or more of the following acts against you, you may want to think about requesting a protective order:

  1. Assault.
  2. False imprisonment.
  3. Revenge porn.
  4. Sexual assault.
  5. Rape.
  6. Abusive acts toward a minor child that resulted in a mental injury.
  7. Biting, choking, stabbing, being hit with an object, strangling, punching, shoving, kicking, shooting, stabbing or other actions that have caused you bodily harm.
  8. Threats of harm or other activities that could lead you to reasonably believe that person intends to harm you.

Harassment is not considered to be physical abuse. Therefore, it doesn’t fall under the standard qualifications for a protective order. However, it may be one of the reasons why a peace order is filed against someone that you don’t have an intimate relationship with.

What is a temporary protective order?

A temporary protective order is the middle step of the process in many instances. An interim protective order is often filed when the respective local district or circuit court is not in session. If you’re applying for a protective order when the court is in session, you may be able to skip ahead to the temporary protective order. If additional or continued protection is necessary, the final step will be acquiring a final peace order.

How can I request a temporary protective order?

You can start by visiting the respective county court office in your area. Ask for a Petition for Protection from Domestic Violence from the clerk of the court. This step can be skipped if you’ve already obtained an interim protective order against that same person. The form should be filled out completely and accurately to the best of your knowledge.

Your address does not need to be listed on the form. You can request that your home address be kept confidential, or you can supply an alternate address if you wish. You can also attach relevant financial documents if you need to include Emergency Family Maintenance on the petition. This may become necessary if you’re currently eligible for financial assistance or if the abuser (also known as the respondent) was financially supporting you.

A hearing will be scheduled, and both parties will be required to attend, unless that right is waived by mutual consent. The petitioner will be expected to supply the court with reasonable grounds. The judge must be able to confirm that an act of abuse happened, and that the offender is likely to commit the same or other harmful acts toward the respondent before granting a temporary protective order.

If you file for a temporary protective order in your local district court and the request is not approved, you may appeal the decision in the respective local circuit court. The circuit court hearing will basically be considered a new trial. You may present new testimony and evidence at that time. You could appeal the denial of a protective order request that was made in a circuit court in district court, but it may take more time and the decision may not necessarily be reversed.

What protection is provided by a temporary protective order?

The specific protection will vary from one case to another, depending on the situation and the type of relief that was requested. The judge could mandate any or all of these conditions:

  • The abuser may be forced to leave your house.
  • The abuser could be ordered to refrain from threatening or abusing you.
  • Family pets could be temporarily granted to the petitioner or the offender as necessary.
  • The abuser may be forbidden from visiting your relatives’ residences, your temporary home, your child’s school and your permanent residence. They could also be banned from trying to contact you and your children.
  • If you lived with your abuser and were married to them when the petition was sought, the judge may give you temporary custody of your children and require the offender to leave the home for a certain amount of time.
  • The offender can also be ordered to leave the family house if you were not married to them, but lived with them for at least 90 days during the same year.
  • The abuser could be required to leave the home temporarily if your name is on the property deed or title even if you aren’t married to that person.
  • If the offender used or threatened to use a gun against you, threatened abuse or committed acts of confirmed abuse against you, they may be asked to surrender any firearms that they own to law enforcement.
  • The judge could also order extra protection measures as they see fit. This can include orders of “no abusive contact,” “no abuse” or “no contact” by the offender.

Both parties will receive a copy of the temporary protective order. A member of local law enforcement will serve the respondent with a copy of the document. The order will also contain details for the tentative time, date and location for a final protective order hearing. Mutual protective orders may be issued for the petitioner and respondent if the judge has found that neither person acted in self-defense and each party was an aggressor toward the other.

How long is a temporary protective order good for?

Temporary protective orders are valid for 7 days from the time that the abuser has been served with a copy of the order. They will be valid until the next day the court is in session if the order is scheduled to expire on a weekend or holiday. Temporary protective orders may be extended for up to 6 months if good cause has been proven.

What happens if someone violates a temporary protective order?

If the offender violates the terms of the temporary protective order, you should contact law enforcement immediately. Describe what happened and have a copy of the protective order in hand. Penalties for violating a temporary peace order will be based on the particular act that was committed. They could be a fined up to $1,000 or a jail term of up to ten years in most instances. Penalties can increase accordingly for each repeat violation.

Protective orders can forever change a family’s dynamic. They may eventually lead to separation or divorce. It can also impact relationships with family members, neighbors, friends, classmates and coworkers.

If you have questions about temporary protective orders, we have the answers. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. Our trained professionals will sit down and listen to what you have to say. We can provide advice for your next steps and represent you in court if you want. Helping you regain a comfortable standard of living is our ultimate goal. It may take some time, but there are bound to be many better days ahead.