What Is a Protection Order?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2020
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A protection order is a preventative measure that is often taken by individuals who are abused or who fear that they may be. The order is meant to serve as a deterrent by allowing the victim to identify her threatening party and to inform him that he is forbidden from contacting or coming near her. If a person, knowing that he is subject to a protection order, violates its terms, he may be arrested. The amount of time for which this type of protection remains in effect varies from one jurisdiction to another.

The laws in a particular jurisdiction should outline who is eligible to obtain a protection order. For example, some laws limit availability to family and household members. How these terms are defined may vary. In some jurisdictions, people who have children together are considered family no matter how casual or brief their relationship was. There may be a fee required to file for a protection order, but in many cases it is free. A person generally does not need to have an attorney to file for or obtain a protection order if she meets the jurisdiction's requirements.


The order can forbid several types of actions. The subject may be ordered not to contact or come near the individual who filed for the order. Furthermore, these restrictions may be extended to protect her family and other household members. It may forbid the subject from residing in the residence that he previously shared with victim. If the subject abused the victim, she may have the order forbid him from hurting her in the future.

It is important for individuals to understand how this type of protection works. To begin with, a person is not bound by the terms of the protection order until he is aware that it exists. This normally requires a procedure known as service, which means that the order is presented to the individual in a legal manner.

The law will determine which types of service are appropriate. Mailing the document is usually not an option. This means that if the subject of the order is hard to locate, the order may be obtained long before it is actually in effect.

Once a person is officially served, he is bound by the protection order. If he violates any of the terms, he may be arrested. In many cases, one jurisdiction will recognize an order issued in another. Consider, for example, that a person lived in California and got a protection order against her ex-husband. If she moves to Nevada and he appears at her home, Nevada authorities may take action.


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Post 1

I have a 13 year old hostile stepson who comes over to our house and threatens my daughter. He cries to his father that he wants to hit my daughter. I am fearful he will hit her one day when I am not here. Can i put a protective order on him? Or a restraining order?

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