Family violence (sometimes called Domestic Violence) is a serious threat and victims of are entitled to the maximum protection permitted by law. If you or a loved one is a victim of family violence, we can seek a protective order.
If the court finds that family violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking has occurred and is likely to occur again, a court may render a protective order to prevent it.
Caution: No piece of paper can protect you from all instances of violence. If you ever feel you are in immediate danger, call the police.
“Family violence” is basically defined as (1) any act by one member of a family or household intended to physically harm another member, (2) a serious threat of physical harm, or (3) the abuse of a child.
“Family” includes blood relatives or relatives by marriage, former spouses, parents (married or not) of the same child, foster parents and foster children, or any member or former member of a household (people living in the same house, related or not).
Protective Order Scope
A protective order may prohibit the offender from:
- committing further acts of family violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or stalking
- harassing or threatening the victim, either directly or indirectly by communicating the threat through another person
- going to or near a school or day-care center of a child protected under the order attends
If an offender violates the order and law enforcement is notified, officials will act to arrest the offender and seek to have charges filed. If a person violates the protective order in the presence of law enforcement, the offender must be arrested immediately.
In some situations, a protective order may also include orders to: prohibit transfer or disposal of property, establish possession and visitation of a child, pay child or spousal support for a period not to exceed one year, attend mandatory counseling, vacate the residence or other specified property, if certain conditions are met. These additional provisions are not criminally enforceable. A person who violates them is not immediately arrested, but may be taken to civil court, found in contempt, fined and jailed.
Protective Order Timeline
Unless a later date is requested by the applicant, the court shall set a hearing date no later than 14 days after the application is filed.
If, however, the court finds from the information contained in the application that there is a clear and present danger of family violence, the court may immediately issue a temporary ex parte order. The temporary order is valid for up to 20 days. Final protective orders are effective for 2 years, unless another length of time is specified.
Violence is too common leading up to or during a divorce. If you or a family member have been a victim of family violence or have a reasonable fear that it may occur, Attorney Vince Handler will get you help. Contact us today.