An Order of Protection is a document containing special orders from the court regarding issues concerning a specific family or household. These are sometimes referred to as a “restraining order” or in some states as an “Injunction.” There is no federal law that regulates these types of Orders, and each state has its own laws governing them.
An order of protection is generally only available to people who are involved in domestic relations cases such as divorce, child custody or visitation disputes. There are 12 different types of orders that can be issued:
- Emergency Order- Issued by a judge without notice to the other party and in most states will expire after 14 days; allows the court to make temporary orders for custody, visitation, possession of the minor children and parenting time. If an order is issued by a judge without notice to the other party this is sometimes referred to as an ex-parte order.
- Order After Hearing – An order based on findings of fact made at a hearing held before a Judge or Magistrate after which the judge may make temporary custody and visitation orders.
- Permanent Order – Once the judge rules on all of the issues in a case an order may be issued permanently establishing legal custody, parenting time and visitation, child support ,and spousal maintenance.
- Temporary Order – An order that will become permanent after one year or more than three years depending on the state. This type of order is usually issued in cases where there are extreme circumstances or allegations of abuse by one party against the other.
- Limited Order – An order that will expire after a time frame determined at the hearing, such as six months or a year; this type of order is normally used for issues such as child support and child custody.
- Stay-Away Order – An order forbidding a parent from having direct or indirect contact with the other parent and/or minor child(ren). These may also forbid the person from coming within a specific distance of where that person lives, works, or goes to school.
- No-Contact Order – An order forbidding a person from having direct or indirect contact with another specific person.
- Child Custody and Visitation Order – An order regarding which parent has legal custody of the child(ren) and rules for parenting time, visitation and contact. These orders can also determine if grandparents may have contact with minor children.
The court is required to issue an order of protection in a domestic violence case if it believes that:
- It has jurisdiction over the parties involved and the issues to be decided.
- One party is in “fear of imminent harm.”
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