How to File a Restraining Order in a New York Divorce
While the majority of divorces are stressful, ending a marriage with a history of domestic violence or abuse can be even more so. If you’re in the process of divorcing an abusive spouse, it’s imperative to prioritize your safety and wellbeing during and after the legal proceedings. One of the most effective ways to do so is by filing for an order of protection.
What Is an Order of Protection?
According to New York state law, an order of protection is issued by the court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. Such orders are administered to protect those at risk of domestic violence or abuse and are commonly used in situations involving domestic violence.
How Does an Order of Protection Work?
An order of protection legally prohibits a threatening person or partner from injuring, threatening, or harassing the protected person(s) listed on the court order. It can direct an abuser to:
- Maintain a certain physical distance from you and your children.
- Move out of your dwelling.
- Follow court-mandated custody and visitation orders.
- Prohibit the abuser from possessing a firearm.
Who Can Issue an Order of Protection?
There are 3 courts that can issue an order of protection in New York state:
- Family Courts. This order is issued as part of a civil proceeding to stop violence within a family. To pursue a Family Court order of protection, the threatening person must be a current spouse, former spouse, someone with whom you have a child, a family member related to you by blood or marriage, or someone with whom you have an intimate relationship.
- Criminal Courts. These orders are typically issued following a threatening person’s arrest. Oftentimes, a Criminal Court order of protection is issued as a condition of their release or bail from jail during a criminal case. There does not need to be a relationship between the plaintiff and defendant to secure this particular order of protection.
- Supreme Courts. A Supreme Court order of protection is issued as part of an ongoing divorce proceeding. The judge will determine whether or not the order of protection will be issued and under what terms.
What Happens if Someone Violates an Order of Protection?
Regardless of the court that issues it, an order of protection is to be taken extremely seriously, as violating an order is considered a crime. Violating an order of protection is punishable by severe consequences and almost always leads to arrest.
It’s critical to call the police if you find yourself in a situation where a threatening person violates an order of protection. Keep in mind that the threatening person does not have to physically hit you to violate the order. It can be as simple as the person showing up in your home or being within the prohibited distance of you and your children. If you find yourself in a situation that threatens your life or poses danger to yourself or your loved ones, it’s important to call 911 immediately.
Steps to Obtain an Order of Protection During Divorce
There are steps you must take to obtain an order of protection during divorce proceedings. If you are in the process of ending a marriage with an abusive spouse, consider these steps to successfully obtain an order of protection and prioritize your safety:
#1. Seek legal counsel from a skilled attorney.
Family law disputes are complex enough as it is. The presence of domestic violence or spousal abuse often serves to amplify the intricate nature of the law. Our justice system and associated legal jargon can be overwhelming for the average person.
It’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced divorce attorney who can guide your steps, ensure you meet necessary deadlines, and be a needed resource from start to finish. They will be your best advocate in court and can help you obtain a favorable outcome by the time the final paperwork is signed. Don’t gamble with your safety by failing to hire reliable legal counsel—it’s more than worth it.
#3. Fill out the required paperwork.
It’s important to be as descriptive as possible when providing details regarding the abuse you endured at the hands of your spouse. Explain when, where, and for how long the abuse occurred. Use specific language when able (such as slapping, hitting, grabbing, strangling, choking, threatening, etc.).
Be sure to vocalize any questions or concerns you have during the process, as it’s imperative to fill out all paperwork correctly and honestly. Your divorce attorney will be an excellent resource to ensure the appropriate paperwork is completed and corresponding deadlines are met.
We’re Here to Put a Stop to Domestic Violence
At Rubenfield Law Firm, we understand how fragile, stressful, and anxiety-inducing family law disputes can be. We know that these feelings are amplified in the event that your marriage includes a history of domestic violence and abuse.
No one deserves to stay in an abusive marriage in which they fear for their personal safety and the safety of their children. That’s why we’re here to step in. Our dedicated divorce attorney has served clients in the Long Island area for over 30 years by providing personalized legal representation and tireless advocacy. Don’t wait to take your life back. Take the first step towards freedom by reaching out to our firm today.
Worried about divorcing an abusive spouse? Take the first step to protect yourself and your loved ones. Call (631) 777-7200 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.