WHAT IS AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

An order of protection is a document issued by Family Court to help protect you from an intimate partner who is harassing and abusive. An intimate partner can be a spouse, former spouse, persons who have a child in common or a male and female who are cohabiting or formerly cohabited.


WHAT RELIEF CAN AN ORDER OF PROTECTION PROVIDE FOR YOU?
  • It will require an abuser to stay away from you at home, work, school and any other place ordered by the court.

  • It will prohibit the abuser from threatening or abusing you.

  • It will prohibit the abuser from contacting you in any way, including 3rd-party contact.

  • It can award temporary custody and visitation rights in regard to minor children.

  • It can award you temporary financial support and/or temporary child support.

  • It can award temporary possession of the home and furnishings.

  • It can require that you and/or the abuser be prohibited from transferring, selling, destroying, encumbering or disposing of any real or personal property or property that is jointly owned.

  • It can require that law enforcement be present when you or the abuser is collecting personal belongings.
HOW TO APPLY FOR AN ORDER OF PROTECTION:

You can contact the advocate at the SAFE Home. The advocate will assist you in filling out the petition for the order of protection, setting a hearing date/time and filling it with the Family Court. The advocate will also accompany you to court on the day of the hearing.

THE ORDER IS NOT IN EFFECT UNTIL IT IS GRANTED BY THE JUDGE.

AN ORDER OF PROTECTION CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR SAFETY
  • An order of protection is a temporary order that is no less than 6 months and no longer than 1 year. You will need to contact an attorney or legal services for legal advice, legal separation, permanent custody and/or divorce.

  • An order of protection is only a piece of paper. It cannot guarantee your safety. It is up to you to enforce it.