Protective orders can play a pivotal role in the complex and emotionally charged arena of family law. These legal instruments, also known as restraining orders, are designed to protect individuals who believe they are at risk of harm from another party, typically a family member or intimate partner.
While the primary purpose of protective orders is to help ensure safety, they can have far-reaching implications for family law cases.
What is a protective order?
A protective order is a legal document issued by a court that prohibits one individual from contacting or coming near another individual. The main objective of a protective order is to help ensure the safety and well-being of the person seeking protection. There are several types of protective orders, each tailored to specific circumstances.
For instance, temporary protective orders are issued on a short-term basis, typically lasting until a court hearing can be scheduled. They are often granted in emergencies where immediate protection is needed. There are also permanent protective orders issued after a court hearing and can last for several years, depending on the circumstances of the case.
Impact on family law cases
One of the most significant ways protective orders can impact family law cases is in child custody and parenting time matters. When a protective order is in place, the court must consider the child’s safety as the highest priority. This may lead to restrictions on the visitation rights of the restrained party or the requirement for supervised parenting time to help ensure the child’s safety.
Protective orders can also influence the division of marital property. In cases where domestic violence or abuse is a factor, the court may award a larger share of the assets to the victim as a form of compensation. The restrained party may also be ordered to vacate the family home, further impacting property division.
Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is another area protective orders affect. The court may modify or deny spousal support if the protected party can demonstrate that the other party’s actions led to the dissolution of the marriage, such as in cases of abuse or cruelty.
Protective orders are powerful tools designed to safeguard individuals from harm. However, their implications extend far beyond safety alone. Therefore, seeking legal counsel is advisable to help protect your rights and interests if you are in need of a protective order or you have questions about how the influence of a protective order may impact your circumstances.