Obtaining Orders of Protection in New York

An 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 determination.

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 of protection.

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.