Westchester County Domestic Violence Lawyer
Restraining orders, formally called orders of protection, are often the first step victims of domestic violence are encouraged to take in order to separate themselves from the abusive party. Here at the Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C., our Westchester County domestic violence lawyers can help you navigate the court system to gain the type and length of restraining order needed to protect you and your children from the abusive party.
Protective Orders: Who is Eligible?
In order to petition the court for an order of protection against an abusive domestic partner, that party needs to have one of the following relationships with you:
- Current spouse
- Former spouse
- Parent of your child
- Blood or marriage family member
- Someone with whom you currently, or have had in the past, an “intimate relationship”
First Steps: Family Court Order of Protection
To protect yourself from further abuse and potentially serious harm, the most important step to take is to remove yourself from the abusive partner. You can accomplish this by seeking a temporary order of protection from the court, which will last approximately two weeks before you will need to return to the court and explain, to a judge, what has been happening to you. However, the court can extend this temporary order until the hearing. If you succeed in securing a final order of protection from the judge, the order may last up to two years. However, for aggravated circumstances, the order can last up to five years. Lastly, if the order of protection is granted by a criminal court, as opposed to a family court, the order can be extended to eight years.
What Does an Order of Protection Accomplish?
An order of protection can make it illegal for the abusive party to come into contact with you, or make it illegal for them to contact you altogether. A full order requires that the abusive party stay away entirely. They are not allowed to have any contact with you whatsoever. A limited order (also called a “refrain from” order) allows the abusive party to have contact with you, but requires the party refrain from committing criminal or family offenses, such as harassing, stalking, sexual assault, parental coercive control, etc.—acts that are already criminal. By violating either type of order, the offending party can be charged with criminal contempt and be taken back to court for more impositions, or be put in jail.
Call a Westchester County Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
Orders of protection work by creating a very clear set of penalties that will be imposed on the offending party if they violate the order. Additionally, it can be extremely difficult to prove domestic violence. It is not nearly as complicated to prove that a person, who you had a restraining order against, came into contact with you. Simply coming into contact with you, in this case, constitutes a crime, and can be punished as such. To get started at once, call the Westchester County domestic violence lawyers at The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. today at 845-735-1300 to schedule a free consultation.