Getting Protective Order For The Victims Of Domestic Violence

If you have become a victim of domestic violence, you may seek legal protective order. This type of crime refers to cases where a live-in partner or spouse harasses another partner emotionally, physically, or just verbally. Before you start the procedure to get a protective order, you will have to make sure that you meet the legal requirements in this regard. The provisions vary from one state to another. For example, in the state of Maryland, these cases are not just limited to the offences committed by spouses. A protective order may be issued if there has been abuse by a person who has a child with the other party; a person who is related to other party by adoption, marriage or blood; cohabitants over ninety days; a stepchild, stepparent or parent; and by even a former spouse. The type of abuses also matters. The abuses may include a statement or act that causes imminent fear in you of serious physical harm, an act that causes serious physical harm, false imprisonment, rape or other sexual offense, and physical assault. Once you are sure that you are eligible to get protective order, you can follow these steps.

Getting A Temporary Order

When it comes to getting protective order for domestic violence, the first thing you have to do is to visit the court in your local jurisdiction. Depending upon the state you live in, it can be a small claim court or a district court. If the court is not open, you have an option to visit the commissioner’s office directly. There, you will be asked to fulfill some basic formalities. These formalities include some paperwork, where you will be asked to provide details, such as contact information of both you and the abuser, the details of the kind of fear you have (that something horrible you think is likely to happen), and the kind of abuse that has occurred. After that, they will issue an interim protective order that is valid for the next two days. In order to get the final order, you must visit the court again within these two days and go through a temporary hearing. During the temporary hearing, the court will look into the details in order to decide if there are reasonable grounds to issue protective order. If the judge is convinced, you will be issued a temporary protective order that will be valid for the next seven days.

Getting The Final Order

The hearing for final protective order for domestic violence will take place after seven days. This time, the other party will also get a notice to appear in the hearing and defend the charges that you have placed against him. After listening carefully to both you and the abuser, the court will decide whether a final order should be granted. The final order is valid up to one year, which is further extendable to additional six months.

What Kind Of Relief You Get?

The order brings certain forms of relief for you that can include paying of court costs, counseling, surrender of all firearms, use and possession of vehicles, temporary visitation or custody of any mutual children, emergency family maintenance money, keeping the abuser out of the home, and other such things.

What If The Abuser Violates The Order?

If the abuser does not follow the order and still tries to harass you, you can take legal actions and get him arrested. Depending upon the type of violation, the penalty for the abuser may include monetary fine with or without imprisonment.

In many cases of domestic violence, the victims often are even afraid to file for a protective order. If that is the situation, you can contact a local organization that helps such victims. For example, in Maryland, you can contact the House of Ruth.