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Why You Should Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Order of Protection

Posted on October 1, 2019

Protecting your safety in New York City

There is nothing scarier than not feeling safe in your own home. If you are facing the threat of violence or if someone in your house is enduring domestic abuse, filing for an order of protection is the next step in protecting yourself and your family.

What is an order of protection, and what does it do?

In cases of physical or even psychological harm or the threat of harm, abuse victims can file for an Order of Protection against their abuser. The abuser is usually a family member, spouse, co-parent or current or former partner in an intimate relationship. An order of protection is an enforceable document that restricts access between the parties involved and can direct the accused abuser to:

  • Move out of a shared living space
  • Follow custody orders
  • Lose access to you and your children
  • Forfeit rights to own gun

All Family Court proceedings are confidential to the public, but the parties involved are informed of its terms. This is an issue if the filer is in a confidential location and does not want the accused to know where he or she is currently living. In that case, the filer may consider filing through a different NY Courthouse via an address confidentiality program.

Violating an order of protection is a criminal offense. Violation does not require contact or violence; if the accused shows up somewhere stipulated in the order, he or she is in violation and can be brought up on criminal charges.

How can I start the process?

Your New York family law attorney will help you file the correct documentation to obtain an order of protection. The process starts when you file the petition in court or online. Often, a judge will issue a temporary protection order to start, but you may have to ask for one. Then the paperwork phase begins with a Family Offense Petition. Read through this form carefully and make sure you understand all parts of it. It is important to be specific and clear, and that you do not sign the form until you are asked to do so.

If the judge accepts the petition and decides to move forward with a final or permanent order of protection, there may be a court hearing where both parties present evidence, or you and the accused may reach a settlement where both parties agree to the specific terms of the order. Our New York City family lawyers can answer all of your questions and support you through this difficult process.

Temporary and permanent orders of protection

Temporary protective orders are often issued at the time of filing, or the petitioner can request one be put in place immediately. It typically lasts until the court hearing for the final order. If the judge issues a final order of protection based on your Family Offense Petition, the order of protection may be in effect for two or five years. In addition to establishing a distance between the parties, the protective order may also include:

  • Financial restitution
  • Medical cost reimbursement
  • Mandatory counseling or participation in a program, such as one for alcohol or violence
  • Child visitation orders, requesting supervision or designated exchanges

Protect yourself and stay safe with effective legal representation

Paperwork may sound like a tedious formality in times of distress, but it is vital to make sure that your order of protection is completed properly and that it will stand up to court scrutiny. Protecting your family and your rights is our privilege. Serving all five boroughs and the surrounding counties, the matrimonial attorneys at the law offices of Vivien I. Stark, P.C. have over 30 years of experience in divorce and family law in and around New York City. Contact our office online or call (212) 349-1600 today to schedule your initial consultation.


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