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Orders of Protection Attorney Overview

Lawyer Assistance Obtaining Restraining Orders in Cases Involving Domestic Violence

One of the most difficult situations that a family can experience occurs when one or more people are the victim of domestic violence or domestic abuse. This type of abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual violence, emotional manipulation, or economic control. Fortunately, the law provides victims with the ability to achieve safety through an order of protection.

If you or a family member are being abused by a family member or a person in your household, a family law attorney can help you understand your options and work with you to meet the requirements to receive an order of protection. If a restraining order has been taken out against you, a family law or criminal defense lawyer can work with you to reach a positive resolution to your case.

Protections Provided By Restraining Orders

Each state has its own laws regarding orders of protection, and the terms used in these situations can vary from state to state. Some states refer to domestic violence orders of protection, domestic restraining orders, civil protection orders, or injunctions for protection.

State laws typically allow a person to receive an emergency court order that provides immediate protection from harm. Emergency orders usually last for a short period of time (typically two to three weeks), and a hearing will be held to determine whether a long-term solution is needed. Depending on state laws, a long-term protection order may last for multiple years, or even for life in extreme situations. Before an order expires, another hearing may be held to determine whether it should be extended.

An order of protection will place a variety of requirements on an alleged abuser. These requirements may include:

  • No contact - An alleged abuser will typically be prohibited from contacting their family members in any way, including phone calls, email, text messages, or sending messages through friends or family members.
  • Stay away - An alleged abuser may be required to stay away from their family members' home, workplace, school, or other locations where they are present.
  • Exclusive possession of residence - An alleged abuser may be required to move out of their family home.
  • Firearm ownership - While an order of protection is in effect, an alleged abuser will typically be required to surrender any firearms they own to law enforcement.
  • Mandatory counseling - An alleged abuser may be required to attend counseling for domestic abuse, anger management, or substance abuse.
  • Child custody - An order of protection may include terms stating that one parent will have primary or sole custody of a couple's children. An alleged abuser may also be required to pay child support or spousal support to the alleged victim.

While an order of protection is in effect, it is important for all parties to follow its terms. Violation of an order of protection is a serious offense that can result in severe penalties, including fines, jail time, loss of one's driver's license or professional license, and restrictions to one's parental responsibility or parenting time.

If you or a family member are the victim of domestic violence, or if you have been accused of domestic abuse, a skilled attorney can work with you to protect your rights and advocate for your family's best interests in hearings related to an order of protection. An experienced lawyer can help you understand how the laws of your state apply to your situation and provide you with the representation you need.

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