What is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is issued by the court to limit the behavior of someone who harms or threatens to harm another person. It is used to address various types of safety issues, including, but not limited to situations involving domestic violence. Family Courts, criminal courts, and Supreme Courts can all issue orders of protection.

An order of protection may direct the offending person not to injure, threaten or harass you, your family, or any other person(s) listed in the order. It may include, but is not limited to, directing him/her to:

  • stay away from you and your children
  • move out of your home
  • follow custody orders
  • pay child support
  • not have a gun

What are the different Orders of Protection?

Emergency Order of Protection
An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is a court order that protects its holder – called the petitioner – from harm by a person named in the order – called the respondent, who is not required to know about the hearing. An EOP takes effect as soon as the judge approves it and lasts for only 14 to 21 days. When the EOP is issued, the court sets a hearing for a Plenary Order.

Since the respondent is not given notice of the hearing the types of remedies that may be ordered in an Emergency Order of Protection are limited. The court may not order counseling, changes to custody arrangements for minor children, payment of maintenance or child support, or monetary damages in an Emergency Order of Protection.

Plenary Order of Protection
A Plenary Order is issued by a judge after a hearing with both the petitioner – the person seeking safety- and the respondent – the person accused of abuse. The petitioner must be present in court to get the order and the respondent must be notified about the hearing although is not required to show up. A Plenary Order lasts for up to 2 years.

Interim Order of Protection
Interim orders of protection protect the petitioner during the period between the time that the respondent has received notice of the petition and the time that a final hearing on the merits can be conducted.