order of protection is a legal document protecting you from an abuser. You can request an
order of protection if you are a victim of abuse or are afraid of being
abused. An attorney, domestic violence agency, or the Family Court Clerk
are available to help you determine whether or not the court will issue
an order on your behalf. There are two different types of orders of protection:
one issued by Family Court and one issued by Criminal Court.
A Family Court order protects you from abuse by someone close to you such
as your spouse, ex-spouse, someone with whom you had a child, or anyone
related to you by blood or marriage. The Family Court can also issue an
order of protection against someone deemed to have an “intimate
relationship” with you. An “intimate relationship” is
one that goes beyond being casual. After considering the facts provided
about the relationship and how long it has lasted, the court makes this
Where no arrests are made and the police are not involved, you must go
to the Family Court to have a Family Court order of protection issued.
You will need to appear in court after filing the petition. The judge
decides if your case warrants a temporary order of protection after reviewing
this petition. The judge first issues a temporary order because the person
against whom you are requesting the order of protection is not present
in the courtroom at this time. On a future date, you and the other party
will appear in court. If at that time the issue between you and the other
party is not resolved, you will need to hire an attorney and prepare to
go to trial. The Family Court appoints an attorney to handle your case
if you cannot afford one.
If the District Attorney petitions the court to issue a warrant or if law
enforcement makes an arrest, then you may pursue a Criminal Court order
Regardless of which type of order is issued, it will legally require your
abuser to do any of the following:
- Stay away from you and any members of your household as determined by the court.
- Leave and/or stay away from your home.
- Stay away from your workplace or any other location determined by the court.
- Cease all communication with you.
- Receive counseling.
- Pay your attorney’s fees, medical expenses, or other damages you
suffered as a result of the abuse.
- Allow you, under police protection, to retrieve any belongings you may
have at the residence.
- Surrender any guns.
Both the Family Court and Criminal Court consider any previous abusive
acts, any possible drug and/or alcohol use, the level of seriousness of
the abuse or threats against you, and whether your abuser obeyed any previous
orders to determine what is needed for your protection.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, please
contact us for assistance.