What is Domestic Violence?
If a family or household member hurts you or tries to hurt you or gives you reason to believe that they are going to hurt you in the near future, that person has committed an act of domestic violence.
What is a civil protection orders?
A protection order is a paper which is signed by a judge and tells your abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil legal protection for domestic violence victims.
Why get a Civil Protection Order?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, a CPO may help you. Once domestic violence starts, the violence often happens more often and gets increasingly severe. A CPO may stop this cycle of violence because the court orders the Respondent to stop hurting or threatening you and/or your children. A court can use a CPO to order the Respondent to stay away from you for up to five years. A CPO can give you time to "sort things out" and decide what you want to do next without having to be afraid all of the time. If your children have
seen domestic violence, a CPO may give all of you a chance to get some help so that you and your children are healthy and safe.
Am I eligible to file for a protection order?
A protection order protects you from abuse by:
· a spouse or an ex-spouse
· a parent or step-parent
· child or step-child
· other persons related to you by blood or marriage
· anyone who resides in your home or has resided in your home in the last five years
· anyone with whom you have had a child.
Do I need an attorney to obtain a Civil Protection Order?
No, but you are often better off having legal representation in your CPO proceeding. Having an attorney represent you is especially helpful when your case involves contested custody, visitation and/or when an attorney represents the Respondent.
Must there be a court hearing for me to obtain a Civil Protection Order?
Yes. There are two hearings involved in a CPO case: the ex parte hearing and the full hearing.
Ex Parte Hearing: At this hearing only you are present. The Respondent is not present.
. At the ex parte hearing, you take an oath to tell the truth and a judge or magistrate hears your statement of what happened. If the judge or magistrate finds that the events you described meet the requirements of the law, the court will issue an Ex Parte CPO and schedule a full hearing. If the Respondent is asked to vacate the home
in which you live, there will be a full hearing within 7 days. Otherwise, a full hearing will be set within 10 days.
Full Hearing: The full hearing is the final hearing.
At this hearing, both you and the Respondent can testify. You must be present at the full hearing. You should bring any witnesses who can support your case. If the court issues a Full Hearing CPO, the court files the CPO with the clerk of court. The clerk serves the
appropriate parties with certified copies of the CPO. The CPO remains in force until the date indicated in the CPO, with five years being the maximum.
What can I do if the abuser violates the order?
Violating a CPO is against the law. There are 2 ways to get help if your abuser violates the CPO.
If the defendant violates the CPO, call 911 immediately. If found guilty of a violation of a CPO, the defendant can be put in jail.
ALWAYS CALL THE POLICE
ALWAYS MAKE A REPORT
You may file for civil contempt for a violation of the order. The abuser is in "civil contempt" if he or she does anything that your CPO orders him or her not to do, if found liable for contempt the abuser may be fined or jailed.