What is a protection order?

A protection order is a civil court order that you, the petitioner, can request from the court to protect you from your abuser, the respondent. Although a protection order is a civil order, if it is violated, the abuser can be arrested and or charged with a crime.

Can my children be protected by a protection order?

Children are often included on protection orders whether they were directly harmed by the domestic violence or not. If you and the respondent have children in common, please be aware that the court will consider as part of its ruling, what kind of contact the respondent should have with the minor children. The court will want to know from your petition and any other sources whether your children have experienced abuse directly and/or if the respondent has exposed them to any abuse directed towards you.

A protection order may:

  • Order the abuser/respondent to stop hurting you, harassing you, or stalking you or your minor children
  • Order the abuser/respondent to stop having contact with you
  • Order the abuser/respondent to stay away from you, your home, your work, your school, or your children’s school or daycare
  • Grant you temporary custody of your children
  • Grant use of essential personal belongings (i.e. tools of the trade, toiletries, medications, legal documents, etc.)
  • Grant you use of a vehicle
  • Grant you custody and protection of pets

A protection order cannot:

  • Order the respondent to pay child support or spousal maintenance
  • Determine who "owns" or gets to keep property or personal belongings
  • Make final child custody determinations (i.e. which parent the child should live with until the age of 18)