Definition of Order of Protection

An order of protection is a court document which forbids one person from engaging in certain behaviors towards another in hopes of eliminating potential harm. Orders of protection may prevent one person from having physical contact with another person. In this case the person would be barred from going to the victim’s home, place of employment, or school, or from contacting the victim via email, phone, text message or any other electronic means.

Orders of protection are frequently used to stop an individual from threatening, harassing, or stalking another person. An order of protection can be a civil or criminal issue and can be requested in either court. If protection from someone you are legally married to, divorced from or related to by blood is needed, this request can be made in a civil court, giving very specific information about what actions the abuser can and cannot perform.

In divorce it is possible that a spouse, who is barred from having contact with a mate, may still be allowed to have contact with their children (unless the court determines the children are in danger). The abuser will, however, still be required to pay spousal support and child support. Under an order of protection the judge can make any decision they believe will prevent the abuser from injuring another person. Orders of protection are temporary orders, but they can last from one year to several years, depending upon the seriousness of the case. If the case is dismissed, the order of protection will end.

If you have an order of protection against your spouse and they violate the order, you should call 911immeidately and report it to the police. Unfortunately, an order of protection will not guarantee your safety.

« Back to Glossary

Browse Divorce Terms Alphabetically

A |
C |
D |
E |
F |
G |
I |
J |
L |
M |
N |
O |
P |
Q |
S |
U |
V |