Family life is complicated. Unfortunately, for some, it can also be violent and abusive. If you’re in this situation, it may seem like you have no place to turn. But the law is there to help keep you and your family safe – and ensure that justice is served. Often, cases of spousal or domestic abuse can require a protective order of some kind. If you’re unfamiliar with the ins and outs of protective orders, there are few things you should know.
In an emergency, you should always dial 911.
If you or your family law attorney have filed a protective order, you likely feel safer than you would otherwise. That said, an order provides no physical barrier from an abuser – although it can make it illegal for him or her to contact or visit you. If that person breaks the law or you feel that you’re in danger, always call 911. Your attorney can help you after the fact, but calling the police should be your first move. Whether an abuser shows up at your door or is contacting you with threats or harassment, get the police involved – it’s the best way to keep you and your family safe.
There are different types of orders.
Your family law attorney can help you navigate the sometimes complex waters of protective orders, but it’s important to understand that there are various types of orders.
Order of Protection
You may file an Order of Protection, which is a legal restraint used to keep known abusers from contacting the abused. These orders can also contain other types of protection, such as removing firearms or weapons from the home and ensuring the abuser has no legal right to be on the property. Keep in mind that a protective order is a legal barrier – not a physical barrier. If at any time you feel like you or your family are in danger, seek help.
Another type of protective order is an Emergency Order. This order may be used if you are in immediate danger of domestic violence. These orders are filed more swiftly than a typical protective order, but offer essentially the same type of protection – a legal barrier and the removal of firearms from the abuser. Emergency orders, however, have limited enforceability. Typically, they are only valid for one day, during which you and your attorney can file for longer order.
Injunction Against Harassment
An Injunction Against Harassment is a legal order that forces someone to stop harassing another person. These injunctions may be used for more than domestic violence cases; they are often used against neighbors, coworkers and even strangers who may present harassment or danger.
The relationship matters.
When it comes to matters of domestic violence, your relationship with the abuser will determine whether you need an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment. For example, if the harasser or abuser is your spouse, child, parent, grandparent, step-parent, step-child or blood relations living in the home with you, you will likely file an Order of Protection. That said, if you are not related to the harasser or abuser, you will likely need to file an Injunction Against Harassment.
An attorney is imperative.
While it is certainly possible to file a protective order yourself, an experienced family law attorney can help you choose the best course of action to keep you and your family safe. Whether or not you’re also considering a divorce or need to work through custody or other legal issues, your attorney is your first line of defense when it comes to getting – and keeping your family safe.
Remember, if you’re suffering from abuse, you’re not alone. The attorneys at Gold Spike Legal are ready to help you become happy, healthy and safe again.