As the best order of protection lawyers in Gilbert AZ we often get asked, “what is a contested divorce and how long will it take?” I want to talk to you about something that is one of the most difficult issues that we ever deal with in our family law practice and that is when someone comes into our office and needs an order of protection. An order of protection is a court order that a person can obtain from a judge in order to protect them from somebody else. Usually it’s a situation where a spouse is being abusive in some way. Technically, or specifically, what the person seeking an order of protection must show is that domestic violence has happened in the relationship or is likely to happen. Now that being said, you should never take an order of protection lightly. It is not a tool that I ever recommend people use to get a leg up in their family law case. It is absolutely a tool that should allow you to get protection from someone who is being abusive.
Getting an order of protection is fairly simple and quite frankly, you don’t need an attorney to do that. You generally would go down to the courthouse. They have many people at the courthouse who can direct you where you need to go to fill out a petition for an order of protection. Now that petition is the document that’s going to go in front of the judge and explain to the judge what’s going on and why you need an order of protection. What’s really important is to put the appropriate language in the order protection petition. You have to explain to the judge in very specific detail what has happened and why you feel threatened or how abuse has happened. You’re even able to go back as far as a year in most cases. Once you’ve filled out the petition, they will actually forward your petition to a judge who is on call to hear these types of emergency orders every single day. You will then meet with the judge in the court room, or in Covid world, you’ll meet by video. The judge will review your petition and determine right then and there whether or not you have put enough information for the court to determine whether or not domestic violence has occurred or is likely to occur. If the court agrees with you, an order will be issued prohibiting the other person from contacting you or coming near you.
Now, that’s not the end of the story. Once you get an order of protection, it is not effective until it has been served on the other party. Typically, you’ll be able to arrange through the Sheriffs Department to have that served. Once it’s served, then that person is on notice that they cannot go beyond what the orders allow them to do as far as communication. Now, in some cases, when you have children for example, the court may allow the parties to continue to communicate with each other but only in writing. For example, text or email and only about the children. So, if a spouse who is subject to an order of protection sends a text or an email about something other than the children in that scenario, that would be a violation. What should you do if someone violates an order of protection? You should always call the police immediately, and the reason for that is the order protection is only good if you’re willing to enforce it. You went to the bother of getting it in order to protect yourself. If someone’s violating it, that means they don’t respect that order and presumably you could be in danger, so you need to call the police.
The person who’s been served with an order protection always has the ability to ask the court for a hearing. If they do so, the court will schedule an evidentiary hearing, or a trial, usually within about 10 days where both you and the other party will have to go to court, and you, the person who obtained the order of protection, will have to present evidence to the judge to show why it should stay in place. This is where we come in all the time. It’s not very common for us to go and help somebody get an order protection, although we often advise people to do so. Where we come in more often is after somebody has requested a hearing. In that case, we certainly can go with you to court to help you present your evidence to the judge as to why that order of protection should stay in place. On the other side of the coin, we also help people who have been served with an order of protection. This is a situation where you’re the one who has had an order of protection taken out against you that is now prohibiting you from contacting your spouse or your girlfriend or even your children in some cases. Not every single order of protection is valid and should be kept in place. If you find yourself in a situation where either you feel like you need to get an order protection or one has been taken out against you, please call us at the law offices of Kevin Jensen. We take this matter seriously and we’ve handled many, many, many order of protection matters and we are here to help you in anyway we can.
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