Domestic Violence

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE occurs when there is a threat of abuse or actual abuse from someone in your family, in your home or with whom you have a close relationship.


A police officer responding to a domestic violence incident can call a judge 24 hours/7 days a week and ask for an emergency protective order that goes into effect immediately. This order lasts for up to 7 days and orders the person who made the threats or conducted the abuse to leave the home and stay away from you and any child(ren) for up to 7 days.


Obtaining a restraining order via the court is also an option for victims of abuse. These orders are more flexible. They can be tailored to be in effect for a week, a period of years or permanently. The activities they can cover include: orders to stop making threats or being abusive; orders to stop calling, move out, keep away from home and places of work; give up a gun; limit the time s/he spends with your children; pay certain bills; pay child support; release or return certain property; or pay some or all of your attorney fees. Law enforcement officers will enforce restraining orders.

A restraining order can:

  • Order the party to stay a specified distance away from you.
  • Order the party to stay away from your home, work, school, family’s home, children’s school, child care center, or baby sitter’s home.
  • Order the party to move out of your home, even if his/her name is on the lease or is co-owner.
  • Give you custody of your children and make visitation orders.
  • Order the party to pay child support.
  • Order the party not to call or write you or do so through another person.
  • Divide up property.
  • Order the party to reimburse you for lost earnings and/or actual expenses directly caused by violence.

To obtain a restraining order two conditions must be met:

(1) You and the other party must be one of the following: married, formerly married, related by blood/marriage/adoption, currently living together as “cohabitants”, have formerly lived together, currently have or have had a dating relationship, or be parents in common of minor children; and

(2) The other party must have caused or attempted bodily injury or sexual assault or placed you in reasonable fear of physical or emotional harm.