Sometimes relationships break down and one party (whether a spouse or a cohabitant) physically abuses, stalks, or unduly intimidates the other. When this happens, a protective order can help ensure the victim is kept safe from further abuse or intimidation by doing the following:
- Ordering Respondent (i.e., the person against whom the protective order is sought) not to harm Petitioner (i.e., the person seeking the protective order), Petitioner’s children, or those who live with Petitioner.
- Ordering Respondent to stay away from Petitioner, Petitioner’s home, job, vehicle, and school.
- Ordering Respondent to not contact Petitioner.
- Ordering Respondent to not possess guns or other deadly weapons.
- Ordering temporary possession of the home and car.
- Ordering temporary custody, parent-time, and support for children.
- Ordering temporary financial support if Petitioner and Respondent are married.
To obtain a protective order, you must petition a court, and then appear in court and tell a judge why you need a protective order. If the Respondent disagrees, he or she is entitled to argue why the order should not be granted. It is often difficult to know what to say to a judge under such stressful conditions, and this is why you should have an attorney help you with your protective order, or help defend you against a frivolous protective order.
Keep in mind, protective orders essentially last forever, although they may be reviewed and dismissed after two years upon Respondent’s request.