Orders of protection are issued by either FamilyCourt, Criminal Court, or Supreme Courtto protect you from another person who is abusing, harassing, threatening, or intimidating you. Orders of protection are commonly issued during a domestic violencesituation but may also be issued under other circumstances.
An order of protection essentially directs the offending person not to injure, threaten or harass you, your family, or any other person(s) listed in the order. Additionally, it may direct the offending person to:
To obtain an order of protection in the Family Court, your relationship to the other person must fall into one of the following categories:
To start an order of protection proceeding in Family Court, you need to file a form called a Family Offense petition.The person filing the petition is called the “petitioner,” and the person the petition is filed against is called the “respondent.”
The New York City Family Court website has specific information on filing an order of protection in New York City.
To obtain an order of protection you must state that a “family offense” occurred – whether it be that you were verbally, physically, emotionally, or sexually abused, or the person threatened to hurt you. When filling in the petition, it is important to write down as many details as possible and describe when each incident occurred, where it occurred, what happened, whether you were injured, and whether any kind of weapon was used. The petition must be accurate and fully state what you want to tell the Judge.You must tell the petition clerk specifically what you would like the Judge to order, such as:
The petition for an order of protection and temporary order of protection must be personally served (handed to) the respondent for it to go into effect. The New York City Sheriff’s Office may serve the order of protection, or you can hire a process server to serve the papers. You can also ask any person over eighteen years old to serve the order of protection to the respondent as long as this person is not a party to the case. However, you as the petitioner may never serve the papers yourself. The person who serves the papers must complete an “Affidavit of Service,” have it notarized and filed with the court as soon as possible.
A full order of protection means that the subject of the order of protection (the respondent) must stay completely away from you, your home, job, and school, and must not do anything to threaten or harass you.A limited order of protection allows the respondent to maintain contact with you as long as they do not threaten, harass, or abuse you.
A temporary order of protection is issued on the day that the order of protection is filedand lasts only until the next court date, at which point it may be extended. A final order of protection is issued at the end of the casewhenthe Judge finds that a family offense was committed. A final order of protection usually lasts for two or five years and can also include:
1) Restitution: If the respondent damaged any of the petitioner’s property (car, windows, furniture, etc.), the court can order the respondent to pay damages (“restitution”) up to $10,000. However, the value of what was damaged must be proved to the Judge.
2) Medical Expenses: The court can order the respondent to pay for any medical expenses that occurred from the abuse.
3) Participation in a Program: The court can order the respondent to participate in services, such as drug and alcohol counseling.
Keep in mind that an order of protection does not guarantee your safety. However, it is a crime to violate an order of protection. If the respondent violates the order of protection, you should report it to the police and they could be arrested, depending on the circumstances.
Because of the very sensitive nature of abusive situations, it is critical that a person who is being abused, threatened, or harassed by their partner seek the counsel of a New York family law attorney who has experience representing families in domestic violence cases. Latonia Early-Hubelbank, Esq. at Early Family Law is skilled in representing clients during order of protection cases. If you are involved in a domestic violence situation, please call . Latonia is here to listen and help with your domestic violence case in any way that she can.