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How to Get a Protective Order

When you are in an abusive relationship, you may not know how to get out of it. Making the decision to get a protective order can be the first to end the cycle of violence. An experienced attorney can help you understand the specific orders available to you, and can help you find immediate protection

First Step

The first step to obtaining a protective order is filing for a temporary injunction. This can be done by completing a questionnaire and filing it with the court. In the questionnaire, you will need to list the instances of abuse, including dates and specifics. If you do not state the specific abuse in the questionnaire, you may not be able to use this instance of abuse at the trial.

Second Step

Once the questionnaire is filed with the court, a judge will review the facts and decide if there is need for a protective order. If the judge agrees there is a need for a protective order, he/she will issue a temporary injunction. The temporary injunction can also protect your children if they are being abused. Additionally, if you believe that your abusive spouse will take drastic measures when the protective order is served, like stopping the mortgage payments, gas, electricity, water, etc., a protective order can state that one party needs to continue making payments until a hearing. A temporary injunction is typically valid only through a hearing on a permanent injunction, which will be scheduled within a month.

Third Step

When the temporary injunction is served on the abusive party, it will include a hearing date. At this hearing, the judge will hear both sides of the arguments. You may bring witnesses to the hearing to testify on your behalf, if they have witnessed the abuse. The abuser can also testify and have witnesses present on his/her behalf. At the end of the hearing, the judge will decide whether or not to issue a permanent injunction, which can last for two years. The permanent injunction can also order one party to pay for utilities, mortgages, etc. Additionally, the permanent injunction can keep the abuser away from children or order supervised visitation.

Criminal Charges

Filing for a protective order is considered a civil action. If you feel that a protective order is not sufficient though, you pursue criminal charges against your abuser. That is done by going to the police and reporting the abuse. The police will then investigate, and if they find sufficient evidence, the police will take the case to the prosecutor. The prosecutor can then file criminal charges against the abuser in criminal court.

Deciding to request a protective order can seem like a daunting task. However, it will help protect you and your family in the future. The experienced South Florida divorce attorneys at Miami based Hager & Schwartz, PA in can walk you through the steps of a protective order and represent you at court. Our attorneys can make sure your rights are upheld and that you feel safe and protected. Contact us today for a consultation.

Categories: Divorce, Family Law