As Valentine’s Day approaches, thoughts of love and companionship are brought to mind, but for some, the experience of a relationship is anything but champagne and roses. In cases of violence, stalking, or harassment, the actions of a former intimate partner may lead to the filing and defense of a request for an Order of Protection.
A person seeking an Order of Protection needs to set out the instances of abuse, stalking, or harassing behavior in a petition that will be assessed by a judge, who then makes an initial determination about whether an “ex parte” Order should be issued until such time as the court can hear from both sides in a trial (typically 2-3 weeks later). In some cases, the court will not issue an “ex parte” order but, rather, will issue a summons for a person to appear in court and for the matter to be heard. When an “ex parte” order is entered, that Order goes into effect immediately, even if the person has not been served; when a summons is issued, there is no ex parte order pending and communication is not limited.
A petition for an Order of Protection is not a matter to be taken lightly, whether a court issues an ex parte order or a summons. Entering final Orders of Protection can have a lasting impact on work, travel, and the ability to have a firearm. The defense against an Order of Protection may be litigated in the same manner as any other civil action, with depositions being taken and records being subpoenaed, as examples.
In either requesting or defending against an Order of Protection, the advice of an attorney is invaluable. The family law attorneys at Paule, Camazine & Blumenthal are practiced in both the prosecution and defense of these Orders.