When you find yourself in a dangerous domestic situation, whether with a spouse or a significant other, who has been threatening or abusive to you, it is important that you understand your legal options to protect yourself. A protective order, sometimes called a restraining order, is a viable option for you to prevent the offending party from committing any more threatening or abusive acts. Here's what you need to know about what that protective order can do, and what happens when it is violated.
What Can A Protective Order Do For You?
No matter what state you live in, the fundamentals of the protective order are basically the same. That order prevents the defendant from any kind of contact with you, That means that they cannot call you, cannot legally lay a hand on you, and in most states, cannot even legally contact you indirectly.
In addition, you will also be protected from the individual coming within a predetermined distance of your home (even if it is a shared home), your work, your school, and your child's school. The distance is determined by the protective order and can vary by state and situation.
Depending on the state you live in, the protective order may also include other requirements, such as paying for medical insurance, mortgage costs, or other expenses if you are a stay-at-home parent.
What Happens When A Protective Order Is Violated?
Many people feel discouraged about protective orders, feeling as though they are just a piece of paper and they have no authority. It's important to remember that a protective order is a legal court order and, as such, it is legally enforceable.
That means that you do have legal recourse if the individual you've sought the protective order against chooses to violate it. If they cross onto your property or threaten you in any way, those actions are criminally enforceable. You can call the local police department and the individual will be arrested and charged for the violation as well as any offense they commit in the process.
If he or she fails to meet payment requirements that are detailed in the order, that is handled a little bit differently. Payment requirements are not criminally enforceable. Instead, those must be handled as contempt of court charges. You need to work with an attorney like Roseline D. Feral Attorney at Law to file a contempt of court claim, but then the courts can enforce those payments or seek incarceration for contempt.