Domestic Violence

Laws have been enacted that allow for better protection for victims of domestic violence.

Additionally, state agencies are charged with protecting children that are victims of child abuse. The agencies are legally permitted to remove the child from the home and take temporary custody of him or her. If the violence and neglect continue, parental rights will be terminated.

Protective Orders

A protective order, or order of protection, is an order issued by a court prohibiting the abuser from communicating with family members and requiring them to stay away from the home, family member's place of employment, or the children's schools. Anyone who is a victim of family violence may apply for a protective order. If the abuser violates the protective order, they may be arrested immediately and taken to jail.

Sidebar: Protective orders are not available unless there is a relationship between the applicant and the person who is the subject of the order, such as ex-spouses, relatives, persons who live together or have a child together.

TIP: Although use of an attorney is recommended, women's shelters and other programs that assist victims of domestic violence may have the forms necessary so that a person can obtain a protective order on their own.

Is the protective order permanent?

If the facts warrant, the court will enter a permanent protective order. However, protective orders are usually issued on an emergency and temporary basis, with an expiration date.

I obtained a protective order for myself and my children against my ex-spouse, but they have visitation with the children this weekend. Do they have to go?

No. The protective order supersedes other court orders, such as custody orders. Under the terms of the protective order, your spouse is not allowed near your home or family.

TIP: Keep a copy of the protective order with you at all times in case it is violated and you need to show it to the police.

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