What is a Protective Order?
Protective Orders or Temporary Restraining Orders (TROs) are documents filed with the state court system that, if granted, prevent your abuser from contacting you or being near you. Children, pets, and other dependents can also be protected under this order. Filing a protective order does not mean that your abuser will be criminally charged or immediately arrested. Protective orders cannot guarantee safety, but they can provide intervention in the event that your abuser violates the order after it has been served.
Keep a copy of your TRO on you at all times, and immediately report any violations to the police department by calling 911.
Protective Order Process
You will be referred to as the “Petitioner” and your abuser will be referred to as the “Respondent.” The Petitioner will complete a TRO petition and file it at court. A judge will review your petition and, if they determine that you are in immediate danger based on the information provided, they will issue a TRO.
At Family Court, if the TRO is granted, an Order to Show Cause (OSC) hearing will be scheduled within 15 days. The purpose of this hearing is to give both parties the opportunity to share why the protective order should or should not be extended. At that time, the judge will determine if the order granting you protection should be maintained or dismissed.
At District Court, if the TRO is granted, a TRO/Injunction hearing will be scheduled within 15 days. The purpose of this hearing is to determine if you can extend protection beyond 90 days.
You do not need to have an attorney at OSC or Injunction hearings, but you may want one, especially if you think the Respondent will obtain legal representation.