Family Court Orders of Protection
WHAT IS A FAMILY COURT ORDER OF PROTECTION?A family court Order of Protection is a type of restraining order approved by a judge that sets limits on an offender who is stalking, harassing, abusing, or making threats of abuse against their victim. They typically demand abusers to stay away from their victim's home, workplace, refrain from any contact, and to hand over any guns.
WHO CAN GET A FAMILY COURT ORDER OF PROTECTION?In most states, family court limits who it has jurisdiction over. Typically a close relationship between the survivor and offender (“petitioner” and “respondent”) is required. In order to file for a family court Order of Protection, your relationship with the abuser must fall into 1 or more of the following categories:
- Related to abuser by blood
- Legally married to the abuser
- Separated or legally divorced from abuser
- You have a child in common with abuser
- You were in a dating / intimate relationship with the abuser
If the offender is not somebody the victim knows in one of these ways, only criminal court is an option. They are also issued in criminal court to protect victims of crime, but in order to do so a criminal case must be ongoing. More states are providing family court jurisdiction to victims of stalking who did not have a prior intimate relationship with their stalker. New York is not one of those states.
HOW DOES AN ORDER OF PROTECTION KEEP YOU SAFE?It restrains the behavior of somebody who harms or threatens to harm you. They typically demand abusers to stay away from your home , workplace, refrain from any contact, and to hand over any guns.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE FAMILY COURT ORDER IS VIOLATED?It is a crime to violate a temporary or final Order of Protection. If the offender violates the order, you can call the police and seek to have the offender arrested. Violence does not have to occur. Even if the offender sends you an email, text, or gift that still constitutes a violation if the order says those communications are not allowed. You can also seek to file a violation in family court, but this won’t likely result in an arrest. Rather, calling the police will.