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What is a Civil Protection Order

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For victims of domestic abuse or threats, a civil protection order is often a good way to help prevent further attacks or threats. A civil protection order is similar to a temporary restraining order and a temporary protection order, but each has its own attributes and situations to which they apply.

A civil protection order is used during civil proceedings, as opposed to criminal cases. It is issued by a domestic relations court as a measure to prevent further abuse by ordering the abuser to do or not do certain actions. A civil protection order can remain in force for up to five years, giving the victim time to safely determine a course of action while keeping the abuser away. Any violation of the civil protection order is a crime and can be punished in the court system.

In addition to keeping the victim safe from domestic abuse, civil protection orders also sets rules for the abuser, such as requiring payment of child support or spousal support if applicable and relinquishing possession of a home or car.

Two hearings are required to obtain a civil protection order from the court: an ex parte hearing, which involves only the person petitioning for the civil protection order describing the events to a judge. If the judge finds the events meet the requirements, a full hearing is scheduled, which gives both parties and any witnesses the opportunity to testify to the events in question.

A temporary protection order is similar to a civil protection order, but it only requires that the abuser stay away from victim. It does not include any provisions for financial support or other rules set forth by the civil protection order. Also, the temporary protection order expires once the defendant's criminal case has been resolved, while a civil protection order can stay in force much longer.

Civil protection orders and temporary protection orders apply to family members or estranged family members. A civil stalking protection order is available to protect people from those who are not members of their family or household. It requires two documented instances of stalking, so maintaining documentation, such as police reports, is critical to getting the civil stalking protection order.

Finally, a restraining order is used most frequently in divorce proceedings to prevent one party from selling common household property, running up joint credit cards or draining a joint bank account. Whether your situation calls for a civil protection order, a temporary protection order or a restraining order, a family lawyer will be able to help you understand the options available to you.

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