Matrimonial and Family Law Blog

Saturday, April 15, 2017

I’m Afraid of My Spouse - How Can I Obtain a Protective Order?

When a marriage is not working out, tensions can run high. Sometimes spouses behave in a way that frightens you and your children making you feel that you and your children need protection from them. If that is the case, a New York matrimonial lawyer can assist you in getting a protective order.

What Is A Protective Order?

A protective order, also called a restraining order, is an order limiting the behavior of a person who is likely to cause harm to another. It can forbid a person, such as your spouse, from physically interacting with you or communicating with you. It is issued by a family court or criminal court.

A family court protective order can be issued to prevent violence at home or between intimate partners. You can obtain a protective order against:

  • a current spouse
  • a former spouse
  • a co-parent
  • a family member
  • an in-law
  • an intimate partner. This isn’t necessarily someone you’ve had sex with. The courts determine intimacy by looking at such factors as how long you knew each other or how often you met. It includes people who have been dating or living together. It can also include people in same-sex relationships.

If you feel threatened by your spouse and you would like protection from him or her, you will have to apply for a family court order of protection.

How Do I Apply For A Protective Order Against My Spouse?

You will have to go to a Family Court and apply for one in their petition room. However, just because you want an order does not mean the court will grant you one. The judge is under no obligation to issue orders of protection until reasonable cause is shown. You will be better placed to approach a family law attorney to help you complete and file your petition to maximize your likelihood of being granted legal protection.

In your petition, you must indicate why you want the order of protection against your spouse. Be as detailed and descriptive as possible. State the family offense that occurred such as actual or threatened physical, verbal or sexual abuse. Use vividly descriptive language when explaining details such as physical injuries suffered, weapons used in committing the offense, previous incidents of abuse and offenses committed on your children.

What Protection Should I Ask The Judge For?

In your petition, ask for an order prohibiting the respondent from assaulting or harassing you. You may also ask that your spouse:

  • Stays away from you and your children, your home, your place of work, and your children’s school
  • Refrains from communicating to you by texts, emails, calls, letters, or through third parties
  • Is excluded from your family home.

You can also ask for temporary child support and the withdrawal of your spouse’s firearm license.

The family court will either issue a temporary order of protection that will be operational pending the determination of the case between you two or a final order of protection at the end of the case that will run for two to five years.

What Happens If My Spouse Violates The Protective Order?

It is a criminal offense to violate any term of the protective order. If your spouse does this, call the police and he/she will be arrested.

If you feel threatened by your spouse, take immediate action to protect yourself and your family from him/her. An order of protection, whether temporary or final, will give you security and peace of mind.

If you are going through a divorce contact the law offices of Gassman Baiamonte Betts, PC today at 516.228.9181.


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