What is a protection order?  

If you have been assaulted, threatened with imminent harm or your children have been assaulted, you should call the police, then go to the courthouse and obtain a temporary protection order. The court, upon demonstration of sufficient grounds, will issue a temporary order restraining the other party from all contact with you and/or your children for 14 days. The other party is served with that order by law enforcement. There is a hearing in 14 days for both parties to appear and the court to decide whether to issue a permanent protection order good for 1-2 years.

ANTI HARASSMENT PROTECTION ORDERS: These actions are brought in District Court and involve parties who are not related or have not lived together, such as the next door neighbor or your ex-husband’s girlfriend. Again, upon petitioning the court and receiving a temporary anti-harassment order good for 14 days, there is a hearing on whether to make that order permanent. To insure your success, you may wish to have an attorney represent you.

These cases are normally handled without the need for an attorney, but what if the party you are seeking to restrain shows up with a lawyer? If you are the party accused and you wish to defend yourself against the issuance of a permanent order, you should contact an attorney to represent you at the hearing. Attorneys do appear for both sides in Protection Order cases. The stakes are high, which is why you may wish to retain a lawyer.

Possible Court Actions:

The court can only issue a protection or restraining order which, if violated, can result in a criminal conviction. The order also becomes part of your record. The court cannot address a parenting plan, who gets the car or house or child support.  This is simply an emergency action used to protect individuals from harm. The court will often encourage the parties to “go to Family Court” and obtain a Parenting Plan, which is when an attorney can help to obtain a safe Parenting Plan and also restraining order as part of those proceedings.