You and your partner just had a fight. It was awful. There was a lot of yelling, name calling, and nasty accussations. You’ve had that kind of fight before, but this time was different. This time your partner actually hurt you, or did something that made you truly fear that he/she was going to hurt you. You managed to get away, and are sitting at your friend’s house wondering what to do now. Maybe you were living with your partner and left him/her in the home you shared, maybe you have children together and took them with you to safety, maybe you’ve only been dating a few weeks. Regardless, the question remains…..what can you do to protect yourself, and your children, from experiencing that kind of violence again.
Orders for Protection (OFP)
One solution is to obtain an Order for Protection, otherwise known as an OFP.
A person can go to court and get an Order for Protection against a family or household member who commits an act of “domestic abuse.” Domestic Abuse is defined as:
- Physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
- The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault; or
- Terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call.
Once you have proven to the judge that your partner committed an act of domestic abuse against you or the children, the judge will issue an Order for Protection. In the Order for Protection the judge has the power to do the following;
- Restrain your partner from committing further acts of domestic abuse;
- Exclude your partner from your home, or the home you shared together;
- Exclude your partner from a reasonable area surrounding your home;
- Award you temporary custody of the children and establish temporary parenting time for your partner;
- Order your partner to pay temporary child support;
- Provide counseling if you are married or there are children;
- Order your partner to participate in treatment or counseling;
- Award temporary use and possession of property;
- Exclude your partner from where you work;
- Order your partner to have no contact with you either in person, by phone, e-mail, or any other means;
- Order your partner to reimburse you for property damaged due to his/her violent conduct; and
- Order your partner to not cancel any existing insurance coverage.
Hopefully once the Order for Protection is in place and you feel safer, you will be able to plan more clearly for your future. The Order for Protection can remain in place for up to two years, during which time you can obtain a divorce or take other more permanent steps to ensure your future safety.