Protection Orders

Information on Protection Orders

The danger of violence from a friend or family member is a reality for many people. This may be true in cases of divorce. When a couple is seeking the dissolution of their marriage they may be placed in a threatening position. Divorce can stir up many emotions and make for heated situations. This may increase the likelihood of a violent situation arising. The court can review the case and if they believe there is the possibility of an incident of violence or harassment occurring, they may choose to issue an order. The order can place various restrictions that may be temporary during the duration of the divorce case. An individual can request a protective order for them or their children.

Types of Orders

When an individual is seeking protection from a physical violence, there are various types of orders that used in different situations. The following are the options that are available to those that need legal intervention to provide safety for them or their children:

  • No Contact Order: These orders are issued when there is a criminal charge as a result of an assault. The criminal court will automatically issue a no contact order in any charge involving assault preventing the defendant from contacting the victim.
  • Domestic Violence Protection Order: These orders are issued in a civil context where the victim files a petition for a protection order preventing the respondent from contacting the victim. A domestic violence protection order (DVPO) may be sought by anyone who is being assaulted, stalked, or threatened with bodily harm and is utilized when the petitioner and the respondent are members of the same family, household or current or former dating relationship.
  • Anti-harassment Protection Order: If there is harassment between members of the same family, household or current or former dating relationship, or where there is assault, stalking, or threat of bodily harm or injury where the petitioner and the respondent are not members of the same household, family or current or former dating relationship, an anti-harassment protection order (AHPO) is appropriate.
  • Restraining Orders: These orders issued as a part of an existing domestic case such as a divorce or a legal separation. The court can issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) at a hearing for temporary orders which will stay in effect pending the divorce and then enter a permanent restraining order when the divorce is finalized, when appropriate.

Protection Orders are often a precursor to divorce because of a domestic violence incident triggering one spouse to immediately seek an order restraining the other person from contacting the other and sometime extends to the minor children. Once a protection order is entered, the parties who are now living separate and apart cannot contact each other for any reason thereby making visitation arrangements for children and other issues between the parties difficult if not impossible. The court, in a protection order action, has limited power to decide issues regarding children and assets. A divorce or legal separation must be filed in order to make any permanent provisions for children and division of assets or other financial disposition.