A protective order is a court order which sets forth limitations on communication and contact between family members.  The most typical situation wherein a protective order may be appropriate is when one spouse feels threatened or is actually the subject of threats from the other spouse.  A protective order may prevent communication between the parties, order that one individual stay away from a home and/or place of employment, and can also apply to children.

So how does one obtain a protective order?  Every county has its own procedure in processing a petition for a protective order.  If you believe that your spouse poses an immediate threat to your safety and/or the safety of your children, it is important to contact your local county court clerk or an attorney familiar with your county’s procedure to inquire as to how to apply for a protective order.

A petition for a protective order can be applied for and granted on an ex parte basis, which means the other party does not need to be present.  In essence, you can fill out a petition (or do so with the assistance of counsel), file the petition with the court, and leave the court house with a protective order in hand.  In such a circumstance, the local police authority will serve the protective order on the person that is the subject of the order (the “Respondent”).

That is not always the end of the process, however.  The Respondent has the option to request a hearing so that they have an opportunity to present their version of the relevant facts.  If a hearing is requested, the assistance of counsel can be important in insuring that your interests are properly conveyed to the court.

Please feel free to contact ROBERTS MEANS, LLC, if you have any questions on how to petition for a protective order or need the assistance of counsel at a hearing on a protective order.