Dealing with domestic violence is never easy. Even if you know you are in a dangerous situation, you may feel like you are not in a position to do anything about it, or you may be afraid that acting could result in you getting hurt. But if you or a loved one has been the victim of domestic violence, getting an order of protection might be a useful way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from harm.
What is an Order of Protection?
An order of protection, also known as a restraining order, is a court order issued by a judge that requires someone to stay away from other people or places designated in the order. It can also order someone to refrain from certain kinds of conduct, legal or illegal. Violating an order of protection is considered a criminal offense, which can result in sanctions, fines or incarceration, depending on the severity of the violation. It can also limit and affect custodial rights and parental access to a child or children.
While orders of protection can be issued for a variety of reasons, they are most often used in a family law context when someone has committed an assault against their significant other or their children. In that case, as a victim of domestic violence (or as the guardian of a victim of domestic violence), you can go to the family court and seek an order of protection. If granted, it can force them to stay away, and if violated can lead to arrest.
How Does an Order of Protection Protect Me?
An order of protection helps to keep you safe from domestic violence by creating an immediate legal punishment for harming you or harassing you. Violation of an order of protection for any reason is grounds for immediate arrest. This means that if your significant other has an order of protection against them that bars them from directly contacting you for any reason, they could go to jail simply for calling you, sending you an email or messaging you on social media.
In theory, this should dissuade your abusive partner from trying to get near you to hurt you or your other family members. In practice, this does not always work, but all you need to do is call the police and tell them about the violation, and they can arrest your abusive partner immediately. You do not need to go through some extended legal process before you can ensure you and your loved ones will be safe from domestic violence.
Are There Any Other Benefits to Getting an Order of Protection?
Aside from the importance of protecting your personal safety, an order of protection can serve as useful evidence in a divorce proceeding and a finding of domestic violence is a factor in determining parental fitness. It lends credence to claims of cruel and inhuman treatment by your spouse and can help you in getting a favorable child custody ruling. It may also serve you in obtaining other concessions during divorce proceedings, which can help you get a fresh start away from your abusive spouse. However, the best way to be sure of the advantages of an order of protection is to consult with a family law attorney, who can advise you on your legal options.
If you are going through a divorce, or are planning to, an experienced attorney can help protect your finances and legal rights. Whether your divorce involves a situation with complex assets or few assets, an experienced matrimonial attorney can help ensure an outcome that protects your interests. The divorce lawyers at Blodnick, Fazio & Clark are skilled and experienced in representing clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law. Call (516) 280-7105 or fill out our contact form to arrange a free consultation.