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What Is a Protection Order?

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What Is a Protection Order?

A “Protection Order” or, “Protective Order” is used to protect a person from harmful, dangerous, or offensive behavior by another person. The court commonly issues them for persons seeking protection from a spouse or family member (for instance, if there is an instance of domestic violence involved in a divorce case).

Protection orders can accomplish a number of things for the protected party, such as preventing the defendant from contacting or communicating with them, or preventing them from even coming within a certain distance. Protection orders are usually issued in connection with a court hearing, but sometimes they can be requested apart from any formal legal proceedings. 

This is the case with certain types of protection orders, such as emergency protective orders, which can be obtained without that much legal processing. Protection orders are very powerful tools, and serious legal consequences can result if the order is violated.

Is a Protective Order the Same Thing as a Restraining Order?

The terms “Restraining Order” and “Protective Order” are often used interchangeably. However, the two terms can have very different meanings in some jurisdictions. For example, in some states, restraining orders only apply to orders connected with formal proceedings, whereas protective orders are used in many more situations. Thus, restraining orders are sometimes used only where the parties are spouses with one another, whereas protection orders can often be enforced between any two parties.

Also, in some areas like Ohio, police don’t always need to enforce a restraining order, but they are always required to enforce protective orders in the event of a violation. Thus, in some areas, restraining orders may only enforced by the person and their attorney, whereas protective orders may be enforced by law enforcement authorities

Lastly, protective orders tend to be broader and can cover many more aspects than a restraining order. While a restraining order might only deal with communication and contact restraints, a civil protective order might also address additional factors like:

  • Eviction orders (for example, if an abusive family member won’t leave the home even when ordered to do so)
  • Temporary child custody arrangements
  • Temporary spousal support arrangements
  • Mandatory counseling classes for one or both parties

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With a Protection Order?

Protection orders or protective orders can often be very complicated to deal with. However, they may be absolutely necessary in some situations in order to protect a person from further harm. If you need assistance with a legal proceeding or a court order, you should contact a lawyer immediately. If the issue involves a family member, you should consult a family lawyer. Your attorney can help guide you through the legal process, and can make sure that your rights are being fully represented. 

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 11-11-2014 11:19 AM PST

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