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Orders of Protection In Divorce

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Contracts Lawyer

Relationships sometimes take a turn for the worse when one spouse starts abusing the other. When there is abuse in the relationship, it is best for the couple to be separated, especially if there are children involved. An abused spouse seeking a way to protect him or herself from domestic abuse can seek a civil order that would keep the abusive spouse away for a period of time. As our own contracts lawyer knows, working with an experienced attorney during a contract dispute of any sort is imperative for your safety.

The following is a brief overview of orders of protection from a divorce lawyer from the Law Office of Daniel E. Stuart, P.A.

Order of Protection Process

Victims of domestic abuse can seek an order of protection by filing in civil court, asking for one as part of a divorce, or asking for one as part of a criminal case related to the abuse. Once an order of protection is granted, the protected person may call the police whenever the order of protection is violated. Despite the order’s characterization as a civil order, there are criminal penalties for its violation.

A person can apply for an emergency, interim, or plenary order of protection. As the name suggests, the emergency order of protection is supposed to offer somewhat immediate relief to the petitioner. The emergency order of protection can be granted based on the petitioner’s testimony alone, and usually lasts about thirty days. Interim orders of protection cover the time period between an emergency order expiring, and a more long-term plenary order of protection being granted. Before granting a plenary order, a court typically hears both sides, and can order the plenary order to be in place for up to two years.

Who Can Apply for an Order of Protection?

The group of people who can apply for an order of protection is quite broad-based on the definition of domestic abuse. Most states define domestic abuse as when a person hits, chokes, kicks, threatens, harasses, intimidates, or interferes with the personal liberty of another person to whom he or she is married, cohabiting, or shares a child. The definition also extends to other groups of people, including former spouses.

What an Order of Protection Covers

A person who has suffered domestic abuse can seek an order of protection to prohibit the abuser from returning to a residence shared with the victim, approaching or making contact with the victim or any children the couple has together, and taking the children out of state, and may even compel an abuser to return any property belonging to the victim. If a victim knows that an abuser has weapons, even legally possessed ones, he or she can seek an order of protection that compels the abuser to hand in the weapons to law enforcement officials if there is a reasonable fear that such weapons may be used against the victim.

If you are a victim of spousal abuse and are filing for divorce, make sure to share this information with your divorce lawyer so they can take the appropriate legal steps to protect you.