Order of Protection Versus Restraining Order
Alternatively, restraining orders are applicable if you are being harassed or stalked by someone. To obtain a restraining order, you do not need to have a specific relationship with the person who is stalking or harassing you, as required for an Order of Protection. If a restraining order is granted, the Magistrate can order the defendant not to abuse or threaten you or your family members, enter or attempt to enter your home, workplace, school, or other location, and/or communicate or attempt to communicate with you. A family law attorney can assist you in differentiating between these two options and deciding which may be the appropriate option for protection in your particular case.
Filing an Order of Protection
If the Judge does grant an Order of Protection, the Order of Protection will typically last for at least 6 months, but not longer than a year. The Order of Protection can grant relief such as ordering the defendant to not abuse, threaten or communicate with you; to not enter or attempt to enter the victim’s home, workplace, school or other location; addressing and awarding temporary custody of any minor children in common; granting temporary financial support; ordering temporary exclusive possession of the parties’ residence; and possibly addressing personal property issues.
- Find a safe place to go, such as a family member or friend’s home. If you must remain in your own home, be aware of the safe rooms and areas in your home, such as rooms with locks on the doors or rooms with a window where you can escape if needed.
- Be prepared for an emergency escape. Consider having a back-up phone, such as a “pay as you go” cell phone, in case you are unable to get to your own phone. You may also consider keeping an emergency bag packed with extra clothes for you and your children, some cash, and a key to your car.
- Change your user names and passwords to bank accounts, credit card accounts, social media accounts, etc., which may be used to track your whereabouts or access your personal information.
- Know about resources in your community. South Carolina’s Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (SCCADVSA) provides shelter for victims of domestic violence and resource information (803-256-2900). The National Domestic Violence Hotline can be called at 1-800-799-7233 and is available 24 hours a day.
Engaging the services of a family law attorney is important in matters of such a serious nature. Ensuring the safety and well-being of you and your family members is of the utmost priority. The process can be difficult and daunting to maneuver on your own. If you have any questions about how we can assist you so that you can begin to feel safe again, please do not hesitate to contact Sodoma Law York at 803-366-0001.