An Order of Protection (often called a “protection order”) is a Court Order usually requiring a person to perform or refrain from performing a specified act or acts. The purpose of an Order of Protection is to ensure the safety of the victims of family offenses or other crimes by limiting the perpetrator’s contact with them and restricting certain specified behavior.
In Family Court, the person asking for an Order of Protection is called a “Petitioner”. A “Respondent” is the person against whom the Order of Protection is being sought.
An Order of Protection may;
- require the Respondent to stay away from the home, school or job of the Petitioner;
- require the Respondent to refrain from assault and other harassing behavior such as verbal abuse;
- require the Respondent to surrender weapons to a local police station; or
- require the Respondent to refrain from intentionally injuring or killing any animal owned by the Petitioner or child residing with the Petitioner.
There are two (2) types of Orders of Protection, temporary and permanent. A temporary Order of Protection may be issued by the Court on the same day that a person files a Family Offense Petition. In addition, the Order can be issued ex parte, meaning that the judge can issue a temporary Order to one party without the other party being present. The temporary Order can last, at the Court’s discretion, for days or months, depending on the circumstances. A permanent Order of Protection is usually issued after a full hearing occurs and evidence is placed on the record of the Court. The permanent Order will indicate a specific duration for which it is effective. The duration of a permanent Order ranges from two (2) to five (5) years.