A protective order, also known as a restraining order or an order of protection, is a legal document that prevents a violent person in the home from contacting the victim(s). It can also establish other legal terms, like support and damages. Here’s what you need to file a protective order. 

Gather Your Evidence

Typically, abuse and domestic violence happen at home with only the perpetrator and the victim present. This means there may be very little evidence to work with to obtain a protective order. 

That said, it’s important to gather what evidence is available, such as:

  • your own statements,
  • statements from witnesses,
  • pictures and videos of injuries,
  • voicemails,
  • emails
  • texts 

Don’t Leave Anything Out on the Application 

It’s tempting to fill out the application as quickly as possible to get the order of protection established and in some cases, it’s absolutely necessary. However, it’s critical that you keep in mind that anything you do not include in your application usually can’t be discussed during the hearing to determine if the order will be put in place. 

It’s often in your best interest to take the time to include as many instances of abuse or violence that you can remember or have evidence of, if possible. Avoid keeping these notes in your home or vehicle where they may be found, especially if you’re planning ahead. 

Request a Permanent Protective Order After a Temporary One Is Granted  

Usually, an order of protection is temporary when it is initially granted. The court should inform you of how long the order is meant to last and when your hearing will be to determine if the order should be discharged or made permanent. 

The provisions of the temporary order are often used to establish the terms of the permanent order, particularly if they have been successful or if you share children with your ex and need to avoid disrupting their routines. You can also include requests for alimony, child support, and financial damages when pursuing a permanent order of protection. 

Protect Your Family from Abuse and Domestic Violence with an Attorney  

Do you need help protecting yourself and/or your children from a violent family member in the home? Okaloosa criminal defense and family lawyer T. Martin Knopes can help. Contact Attorney Knopes today to learn more about your legal options in regard to a protective order or to book your consultation at (850) 683-0700.