Frustrated man talking on cell phone, looking at laptop & raising his hand

Domestic Violence: 3 Protection Options

Family Law - April 19, 2018

If you’re facing domestic violence, there is help and you can take legal steps to pull yourself and your family out of danger. Here we explain some of the facts of different types of protection and restraining orders, shedding light on their relationship to family law. These orders empower survivors of domestic violence, but it’s important to know the differences among types of protection and restraining orders.

  1. Emergency Protection Orders: In some states, the police can give the survivor an Emergency Protection Order, a short-term protection order typically issued by the police or magistrate when the abuser is arrested for domestic violence. With a limited time period, generally between 3-7 days, its function is to buy the survivor time to request a longer-term protection order. This is a good option when you can’t petition a court right away or if harm is imminent.
  2. Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Orders: A temporary restraining order is a court order that protects a person from physical, mental, verbal, and other forms of abuse. A civil order usually lasts for up to 3 weeks, a temporary restraining order can be extended and made permanent for 1-3 years. This is another type of emergency order issued before the parties have had the opportunity for a formal hearing and only stays in effect until a hearing is held.
  3. Domestic Violence Protection Orders: All 50 states have statutes in place for a protection order, but what they call it varies from state to state (they can be called protection or restraining orders). A protection order is longer-term than an EPO, lasting typically for 1-5 years, and in extreme circumstances, up to a lifetime. Protection orders can be renewed and may have different provisions, including
    1. No Contact provision: Prohibits abuser from any physical contact and verbal communication with the victim (including calling, texting, emailing, stalking, attacking and hitting, in some cases possessing a firearm). Some no-contact provisions contain a variety of other requirements, depending on the nature of the offense and the relationship between the parties involved.
    2. Stay Away provision: Orders for abuser to stay at least a certain number of yards or feet away from the victim.
    3. Move Out provision: Requires abuser to move out of a home shared with the victim. Firearms Provision: Federal law prohibits the purchase and possession of firearms by those who have been convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,” and/or who are subject to certain domestic violence protective orders. Gaps in federal law are addressed by more comprehensive state laws, though not every state requires the surrender of firearms after the conviction of a domestic violence misdemeanor.

Bottom line

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior characterized by any form of abuse towards an intimate partner, including physical, psychological, sexual, and economic abuse. The procedural requirements of filing a protection order are best handled by an experienced lawyer. Let a lawyer help you explore your options and ways you can protect yourself and your family. This is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact a professional for further information.