A protective order, also known as a restraining order (peace bond in Canada), is a court order used to protect an individual, family or entity from threats, assault, domestic violence, harassment or stalking. The criteria for obtaining a protective order and the court’s ability to enforce it vary based on the issuing state or province. If you believe you need a protective order or have been threatened with a protective order it is vital to speak with an attorney right away.
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The process of obtaining an order of protection generally begins by filing forms with the court. It is important to make sure the correct forms are filled out properly and filed with the correct court clerk. In some situations you may request an emergency protective order or (EPO) sometimes known as an ex parte order. An emergency protective order grants a temporary order in advance of a court hearing.
Emergency protective orders are only temporary and ultimately you will have to face the other party in court. Once you are granted a hearing you must prove the other party is a threat. The rules of evidence vary greatly by state or province, so it is important to have an attorney to help you compile the evidence required to prove the other party is a threat. Providing police reports, medical records, pictures of injuries, copies of threatening letters, voice mails or any other information that supports your claim will aid your case greatly.
If you are a defendant in a hearing you also need legal guidance to explain your rights. Some feel that the burden of proof in many courts is too low which leads to unwarranted protective orders. There are cases where divorcing spouses have used protective orders to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody battle. If you are involved in a divorce or child custody battle and are threatened with a protective order, contact your divorce lawyer right away.
Protective orders are generally issued in civil court as opposed to criminal court, which means the party restrained by the order has not been convicted of a crime. The court can set specific limits on the distance the individual can be from the protected party, limit visitation with children, order protective supervision of any necessary interaction between the two parties or set other rules it feels are necessary to the safety of the individual protected by the order. Failing to follow the court’s orders means the party is in contempt of court and can lead to serious criminal charges.
If you need information on the rules pertaining to protective orders where you live call your LegalShield provider law firm and speak with an attorney.
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