Hi, this is Zachary Groves, I am the domestic litigation partner here at the Law Offices of James Crawford. Today I am going to discuss with you protective orders. Protective orders are held both in the district and circuit court here throughout Maryland. Protective orders are often very quick, where you get a hearing within one to two weeks of the filing of the protective order. 

Today I am going to walk you through what a base protective order looks like, the pleadings, and what you need to look at on your protective order, which are important dates or important pieces of information you need to know if you have a protective order coming up. 

I’m going to first start with the petition for protective form, which initiates or begins any type of protective order matter. As you can see here, this is the form that the petitioner who is bringing the protective order fills out. Read it very carefully as this forms the basis of any protective order case. It begins with determining the nature of the relationship between the parties. It moves on to who is seeking relief, in #2, and within #2 it talks about the basis of the allegations. This is really important. This is the portion where allegations are made, and a judge makes a determination about whether or not there are grounds for a protective order. This part is key and has to be read very carefully to break down each individual fact in the case. This is where your lawyer really needs to pay attention to the details. 

As you move forward down the protective order form, you will see that it indicates whether or not children are to be included as part of the protective order. And on the second page, there is additional blank information which allows the petitioner to continue on to his or her story. The third page of the document goes into greater detail as to how long you’ve lived together, whether there are any cases pending and ultimately, what relief they are seeking. 

The third and final page talks about additional relief, including whether you are to be vacated from the marital home, whether you may be required to pay any monies to the other side, whether custody is awarded, and whether or not there’s any additional information about your actual resources. Again, the contents of this document cannot be underestimated. The basis of any protective order begins and starts with the contents of this petition.  

Now the second document I’m going to talk about very briefly is the protective order form. Now, in the event a protective order at least temporarily is granted, you will receive a temporary protective order document. The first thing you need to look at on the second page talks about your next court date. This is imperative, as you need to make sure you’re familiar and aware and have met with counsel prior to this hearing date in order to be properly prepared. Generally, it is located in paragraph 6 where it talks about the date, time and location of the court appearance. Make sure you have a highlighted section of that so that you are clear. In fact, above 6 there are the specific terms of the protective order that you absolutely have to comply with until you get to court. Oftentimes it talks about whether or not you are required to vacate the home, whether you can have no contact with the other individual, and whether or not you can have any access to your children. Again, you must have a careful understanding of all these elements to ensure that the case doesn’t elevate to a criminal matter. 

Upon reviewing that protective order, your next move immediately is to retain counsel. These hearings are quickly held and done with the purpose of resolving very, very quickly. Once you receive your protective order it’s imperative that you sit down with us to talk about your case. 

The forms that we showed you and went through together are important documents that you and your attorney have to go through with great detail. Like I said previously, these cases are very quick but require detail to going through each individual fact. It’s imperative that you reach competent counsel to review your case and discuss it, and potentially be prepared for trial. 

We look forward to hearing from you. We work on these matters all the time and can no doubt help you.