Orders of Protection

In order to apply for an Order of Protection, you must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.
  • The victim and the defendant have a child in common.
  • The victim or the defendant is pregnant by the other party.
  • The victim is related to the defendant or the defendant’s spouse by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law.
  • The victim is a child who resides or has resided in the same household as the defendant and is related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.
  • The relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship. The following factors may be considered in determining whether the relationship between the victim and the defendant is currently or was previously a romantic or sexual relationship:

(a) The type of relationship.

(b) The length of the relationship.

(c) The frequency of the interaction between the victim and the defendant.

(d) If the relationship has terminated, the length of time since the termination.

To qualify for an Order of Protection one must show that an act of domestic violence has occurred or is likely to occur. Domestic violence is defined by statute as encompassing the following behavior:

  • Endangerment
  • Threatening or Intimidating
  • Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Custodial Interference
  • Unlawful Imprisonment
  • Access interference
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Criminal Damage
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Use of the Telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend
  • Harassment
  • Stalking
  • Surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming

Typically the Court will only consider incidents of domestic violence which have occurred during the year prior to the filing of the Petition for Order of Protection. The Court can, if it finds it to be appropriate, consider acts which precede the year.

An Order of Protection is a court order that may:

  • Keep the other party away from you and, in rare instances, the children
  • Restrict the other party from access to the residence
  • Restrict the types of communication that the other party can have with you
  • Restrict the other party from appearing at your place of employment, school, church, etc. and the children’s school, daycare, and the like
  • Require the other party to surrender any weapons to local law enforcement

An Order of Protection must be served upon the other party by a private process server or law enforcement officer and is valid for one year from the date of service. Under certain circumstances, the Order of Protection can be renewed but will require the filing of pleadings for renewal.