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Is a protection order a safe next step?

Deciding if a protection order is a safe next step depends on your needs and situation.

While many find that the order may be a good tool for preventing future harm, it may not work well in every case.

Ask yourself these key questions:

  • What are the short- and long-term benefits of getting a protection order?
  • What are the negatives?
  • Do the benefits outweigh the negatives?
  • What may happen if you do not file the order?
  • Will filing for a protection order put you in more danger than if you did not file the order?
  • Does the person causing you harm have access to a firearm?
  • Tell the person causing harm (the respondent) to stop harassing and/or contacting the person seeking protection (petitioner).
  • Order the restrained person to have no contact and to "stay away" from the petitioner. This also includes online contact or cyberstalking.
  • Some orders may:
    • Stop the restrained person from entering:
      • Schools
      • Daycares
      • Businesses
      • Places of employment
      • A petitioner's home, even if shared.
    • Order treatment or counseling
    • Award temporary custody of children under 18 years old to a parent
    • Create temporary visitations
    • Stop a parent from interfering with custody
  • Order child support
  • Order maintenance income (alimony)
  • Grant property ownership
  • Establish permanent child custody or "ownership" of a home
  • Guarantee your safety