Protective Order Law & Legal Definition


Protective orders may be issued to prevent a disclosure in a legal proceeding that would prejudice the rights of a party, or prevent the legal process from being used to harrass, embarrass, or cause someone undue burden or expense. Protective orders are civil orders issued by a judge to prevent one person from committing certain acts against others. The personal relationship between the “ respondent” (person alleged to commit the prohibited act) and the victim (person to be protected) determines which kind of petition would be filed. A protective order to is a method to help keep a victim of family abuse safe or stalking from further acts of violence or stalking. A permanent protective order will usually only be issued after a full hearing before the appropriate court.

An Order For Protection is a court order that protects a victim from domestic abuse. Any family or household member may ask the court for an Order For Protection. Specific procedures vary by court, so local court rules need to be consulted. A family or household member means married or divorced people; parents and their children; persons related by blood (such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, or grandparents); and people who live together or have lived together in the past. People who have never lived together may also ask for an Order For Protection if they have a child together or have been involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.

You can also apply for an Order For Protection to protect a child, elderly person, or dependant adult in your family or household. A protection order may include: stop domestic abuse, no direct or indirect contact with petitioner, no stalking, evicting the respondent, housing for the petitioner when the respondent is the sole owner or lessee, temporary custody of minor children, financial support, counseling.

Some things that may be included a protective order are:

  1. The specified distance where the abuser may not be allowed to come near the victim, family of the victim, friends, etc. This could and should cover such areas as the home, the place of victim’s employment, and if victim’s children are involved, then also their school, especially if it is believed they may be in danger of retaliation from the abuser.
  2. The abused has custody of the children, and that any visitation by the abuser is then supervised.
  3. The abuser is not allowed to follow, i.e. stalk or harass the victim.
  4. The abuser is not allowed to call the victim on the phone, or send letters, or correspond via e-mail or any other form of electronic communications.
  5. The abuser pays for all medical and/or dental costs, or any legal or court fees.
  6. The abuser is not allowed to carry a gun (firearms). It should be noted that federal law does not allow anyone who has a protective order currently placed on them because of domestic violence to acquire any firearms.
  7. The abuser must seek and get counseling.
  8. The abuser must do no harm or damage to victim’s property. If this happens abuser must pay for all damages incurred.
  9. If the abused needs to move as a result of the domestic abuse, then the abuser must pay moving costs.
  10. The abuser must provide financial support to the victim and to the victim’s children if applicable.
  11. Legal documents necessary for daily living, such as health insurance cards, birth certificates, bank books (savings and checkbook), etc. should remain with the abused/victim.