COVID-19 has caused many of us to feel isolated in our homes. For domestic abuse victims, isolation can be dangerous and terrifying. Thankfully, victims of physical, emotional, sexual, and/or financial abuse in Minnesota do have legal rights, and there are certain protections available to you if you’ve found yourself in a dangerous situation.
Obtaining an Order for Protection
First, make sure you are not putting yourself in danger by pursuing one of these Orders. If you are still being pressured or abused by your partner or family member, yet are afraid to immediately file for an Order for Protection, you should reach out to a local or national organization for survivors of domestic abuse to learn how to safely break free from your abuser.
When you’re ready, you should meet with a St. Paul Minnesota domestic violence lawyer to learn more about Orders for Protection and other legal action available to you. An Order for Protection can be temporary or permanent, so it’s important to cover the differences with your St. Paul family lawyer. A temporary ex parte Order for Protection will be issued based on your detailed, forthright allegations of the abuse you are experiencing. That temporary ex parte order may remain temporary or become permanent. A petition for an OFP will be dismissed if all incidents of abuse are not described in sufficient detail. When you request an OFP, the other party will have a chance to dispute the allegations in court.
An Order for Protection will protect you from abuse and from your abuser having contact with you. You can also request emergency custody of your children and temporary financial support. . When a court grants an OFP, it will send a copy of the OFP to law enforcement, who will serve the OFP upon the abuser. An abuser who violates an OFP can be arrested and charged criminally. There is no filing fee for to obtain an OFP, and you are protected from retaliation by your employer if you have to miss work to obtain an OFP.
Obtaining a Harassment Restraining Order?
A Harassment Restraining Order is a more general order that can be filed by and against anyone who is harassing you, or someone who has sexually assaulted you. You do not need to be living with or related to your abuser to file a Harassment Restraining Order. Maybe your ex is sending you repeated, unwanted belligerent, violent, or sexually abusive communications,, but you don’t live together anymore. This is exactly what a HRO is made for. It is meant to stop verbal abuse, but you can also request an HRO when someone you know is threatening physical violence via phone calls, text messages, or email. When you request an HRO, the other party will have a chance to dispute the allegations in court.
Family Lawyer St. Paul for Domestic Violence and Harassment
At Maxim Smith Family Law, we understand the fear and stress caused by domestic abuse, repeated unwanted contact by an individual, or an incident of physical or sexual abuse. We help our clients obtain Orders for Protection and Harassment Restraining Orders to force abusers to stop their abuse and protect clients and their children from the damaging effects of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. If you’re seeking legal guidance after leaving an abusive situation, reach out to our attorneys at 651-294-2407.