Protection from abuse can be an important concern for families experiencing domestic violence, especially during the divorce process. It is important for those impacted to know when they may be able to file a petition for a protection from abuse order.
Protection from abuse orders
A protection from abuse petition can be brought in certain relationship situations including:
- Spouses or former spouses;
- Persons living together and holding themselves out as a couple (whether they have a child in common or not);
- Persons living separate and apart but who have a child in common;
- Persons in a current or former dating relationship which can include girlfriends, boyfriends or engaged couples.
- Family relationships including parent or child; brothers and sisters; grandparents and grandchildren; and family members related by blood, adoption or marriage who live in one home.
Family relationships that qualify can include step relationships and in-law relationships. Protection from abuse (PFA) orders are orders from the family law court that order one party to not abuse the other. Protection from abuse orders can also order one party to stay away from the other. Abuse is defined as threatening or harmful conduct and can include serious emotional harm.
Abuse that can fall under a protection from abuse order can including intentionally or recklessly causing or attempting to cause physical injury or sexual offense; intentionally or recklessly placing another individual in apprehension of physical injury or sexual offense or attempting the same; intentionally or recklessly damaging, destroying or taking the property of another individual; engaging in conduct likely to cause fear or emotional distress; trespassing on the property of the other individual or on property from which the trespasser has been excluded by a court order; or child abuse.
Obtaining a protection from abuse order
A protection from abuse order can be used to help keep those who have suffered domestic abuse or have been harmed or threatened safe. For that reason, those experiencing family violence should be familiar with the protections from abuse including a PFA order and who can petition for one and under what circumstances.