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An order of protection is a legal document that limits the behavior of an individual. An order of protection may be granted by a court if an individual threatens another individual or to address various types of safety issues. Orders of protection can be issued by a family, criminal, or civil court, however the orders associated with each court differ. In family court, an order of protection may be issued to stop violence between family members, or intimate relationship, and provide protection for the individuals who are affected.

In family court, in order to obtain an order of protection, the person who is filing for the order, the petitioner, against the individual, the respondent, must have a relationship that falls within the following categories: current or former spouse, someone you have a child with, a family member that is related by blood or marriage, or someone he or she has an intimate relationship with. A relationship may be considered intimate based on how often the two people spend time together or how long they have known each other. After a petition for an order of protection is filed, a court will determine if the relationship is considered intimate or not. To start an order of protection proceeding, one must file a family offense petition in family court.

If you are the defendant/respondent of an order of protection:

The court’s goal in an order of protection is to protect all of the parties involved. For this reason, the court may issue an order of protection prior to a hearing. Even though an order of protection is issued, the respondent may not be guilty of what the petitioner has claimed. The court’s actions are intended to maintain peace between the two parties while they look into the facts of the matter. The person who has an order of protection issued against them is responsible for adhering to the terms of the order. Even if the petitioner invites the respondent into their home, this action may be considered a violation of the order. It is important that respondents follow the conditions of the order at all times.

If you are the issuer/petitioner of an order of protection:

An order of protection will remain in effect until it is terminated by the court. The order cannot be changed between the petitioner or respondent named in the order. Only a court can change the conditions it stipulates. If the terms of an order of protection dictates that the respondent must “stay away” from the petitioner, he or she must stay away.

An order of protection must be served to the respondent or he or she must have been present in court to hear the conditions of the order. A petitioner should keep a printed copy of the order of protection with them at all times and also provide a copy to local law enforcement. If the order of protection includes any children, the petitioner should provide a printed copy of the order of protection to the school and babysitters along with a photo of the respondent.

If an individual violates the terms of an order of protection, they may be subject to immediate arrest by law enforcement. Temporary orders of protection are signed by a judge to provide protection until all the facts of a case have been heard in court. After the judge hears all the facts, a final order is issued. In New York State an order of protection has an expiration date. However, it may be extended or renewed. All family court proceedings are confidential.

Filing for an order of protection or having an order of protection served on you can be emotionally difficult. If you are involved in a domestic dispute, contact an experienced New York family law attorney who can guide you through the process and make sure that your rights and the rights of your children are protected. The Law Office of Larry McCord and Associates are skilled and experienced in dealing with all aspects of family law matters. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call our Long Island, New York family law office at (631) 643-3084.

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