Domestic Violence and Temporary Protective Orders

If you are in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage, leaving the marriage can be the most dangerous action you can take. You may not have money as your spouse took it all, or you may not have a place to go or even a car to drive. The Family Violence protection act allows you to seek emergency relief in these cases. If you can show that there is a history of violence and that you are in reasonable fear of you or your children’s safety, the Court can direct the sheriff to remove your spouse from the home and leave you and your children alone until further Order of the Court. A hearing will be held within a month to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to continue the TPO.

I recommend filing for a divorce at the same time. While a Court can award child support, alimony and property division in a temporary protective order, this proceeding is intended to be a stop gap until the necessary steps in a divorce are taken by the parties. Often people use the Family Violence Protective Order in lieu of a divorce, which is understandable if you do not have the funds to hire a lawyer and are in a bad spot. However, the Court generally is not going to do all the things done is a divorce, so if you can afford to file a divorce at the same time.

If a TPO or Family Violence Protective Order has been filed against you, do the following:

  1.  Obey the order precisely. Do not try to “talk it out” or meet to discuss. If you violate a TPO you will be arrested, potentially for a felony stalking warrant. You will be in jail for some time before you can bond out.
  2.  If your spouse has not filed for divorce, you file for divorce. Oftentimes the Court will simply put a restraining order in the divorce proceeding and dismiss the family violence order.
  3. Do not take this lightly. A family Violence Order will remain on your record and can be seen by future employers. Many employers will fire an employee with a TPO on them.

Here are the forms you need to file for a TPO.