When an individual is a victim of domestic violence, they may feel completely trapped by their violent partner and situation, believing that they have no out and nowhere to turn. While a domestic violence situation can be suffocating, a victim of domestic violence does have options. One of those options is to seek a civil protection order.
At the law offices of the Alsobrook Law Group, our experienced domestic violence and family law attorneys can help you to understand the basics of a civil protection order, including how to request an order and what the order does. Reach out to our team today for representation you can count on.
What Is a Civil Protection Order?
Also commonly referred to as a restraining order, a civil protection order is a court-issued order that that provides protection for victims of harassment, threats, and abuse. A temporary protection order may include the following provisions:
- Require the defendant (abusive party) to leave a shared residence;
- Provide the plaintiff (victim of abuse) with temporary custody of any shared children;
- Order the defendant to maintain a certain distance from the plaintiff’s home, school, work, or other frequently-traveled location; and
- Prohibit the defendant from committing any abusive acts against the plaintiff or members of the plaintiff’s family or household, including harassing the plaintiff.
A temporary order of protection can be issued by a judge in the immediate aftermath of the filing of a petition for an order of protection without a hearing. Once a hearing is held, where the defendant will have an opportunity to present their side of the case, a final order can be issued. A final order can include many of the same provisions listed above, and may also include orders about the child visitation rights of the defendant, the defendant’s duty to pay attorneys’ fees and court costs, a defendant’s requirement to pay spousal support, and more.
Who Can File a Petition for a Protection Order in Alabama?
A protection order is designed to offer protection to victims of domestic violence. As such, it may be filed by any person who is seeking protection from a spouse or former spouse, a person with whom the victim has a shared child, a dating partner, or a household member. In Alabama, a “household member” is anyone who has maintained a living relationship with the plaintiff/defendant that was romantic or sexual.
How to Get an Order of Protection in Alabama
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you should take steps immediately to protect yourself. In order to get an order of protection in Alabama, you will need to visit your county courthouse and file a petition for protection from abuse order. You can request an emergency ex parte order if you believe that you are in danger and need protection immediately. You can visit a domestic violence shelter for assistance in filling out the forms. You can also work with an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the process.
Important Things to Know About an Order of Protection
An order of protection is a civil order, not a criminal one, and merely orders that the defendant adheres to the stipulations of the order. While there is a consequence for breaching the order, including a $2,000 fine for a first offense and up to a year in jail, an order of protection is not a guarantee that you will be safe. If you believe that you are in danger of harm or death, you need to find a safe place to live where the abusive party cannot find you.
Also note that an order of protection, while it may include language about child custody and support, is not a divorce. If you want to file for a divorce, you will need to pursue your divorce through the proper legal channel.
Our Experienced Family Law and Domestic Violence Lawyers Can Help
Suffering abuse at the hands of a spouse or romantic partner is truly a terrible experience, and one that may leave you feeling terrified about the future. While you may feel hopeless and alone, there is help available. At the offices of the Alsobrook Law Group, we encourage you to get help now – you do not deserve to be abused.
For legal guidance in pursuing an order of protection against your abuser, please call our law office today at 334-737-3718, come into our Opelika office, or send us a private message. We understand how delicate these case types can be, and promise to protect your confidentiality. We are here to help you obtain the protection and feeling of safety and security that you deserve.