It is always scary to be the victim of domestic violence, and I am sure that you are concerned about making sure your spouse, former spouse or significant other cannot get access to you or your children. If an incident has occurred recently, you need to report the incident to law enforcement. Your next step should be to go to your local courthouse and file a Petition for Protection from abuse, which is commonly called a PFA.
What is an Order of Protection?
If the court grants or gives you the protection order
- The court can remove your spouse or significant other from your home.
- Make sure that you have access to a vehicle
- Grant you temporary custody of your children
- Order your spouse or significant other to stay at least 300 feet away from you, your residence, and your workplace.
- Require your spouse or significant other to surrender any weapons, and may grant you additional relief.
If you’re not at your home, if you fled to a shelter, you still need to make sure you make a police report and you still need to file a protection order, but you may not be able to return to the home, if the perpetrator is still living in the home, until such time as the court enters an order allowing you back into the home and ordering your partner out of the home.
Once that protection order is in place, you need to make sure that you do not have any contact with your spouse or significant other. Do not call them, do not text them, do not talk to them on Facebook, because then you are violating your own protection order, and the court may take that into consideration when deciding whether to make that protection order permanent.
Once you have your protection order in place and your spouse or significant other has been served, you need to keep a copy of that with you at all times because if your spouse or significant other shows up in a place where you are and you have a protection order, you can call the police and your spouse or significant other should be arrested on the spot for violating that protection order.