A protective order is designed to keep someone safe if they feel that their spouse or a romantic partner is a genuine threat to their safety. Many people are afraid to leave violent relationships because they think the other person will retaliate. As a result, seeking legal protection can be an important step in facilitating the safe transition from an abusive household to a healthier living situation.
A protective order can ensure that that person (legally) has to keep their distance and can help to prevent domestic violence incidents as a result. Protective orders can be used both for adults and to protect children.
A full order of protection
There are different orders that can be used, but a full order of protection is supposed to prevent dangerous actions. These could include things like:
- Sexual assault
- Threats of abuse
- Attempts of abuse
- Bullying and intimidation
Additionally, the individual who is named as the subject of an order of protection will likely be prohibited from contacting the victim or alleged victim. This restriction certainly means that in-person contact is prohibited. But it can also be extended to things like sending a text message or writing a message on social media. Even making a phone call can be prohibited and someone who does so may be accused of violating their protective order.
How long does an order of protection last?
When the court issues an order of protection, it’s also going to specify how long it will be in place. The minimum in Missouri is 180 days. But the law also stipulates that the order should not last for more than a year before it will need to be renewed, if necessary.
As such, these legal resources are sometimes used as temporary protection orders while the individual who fears for their safety is seeking a divorce. They may want to end the relationship and move on with their life, but that’s going to take time. Even a cut-and-dry divorce can take months. An order of protection can be beneficial to prevent unwanted contact or abuse during this particularly vulnerable time.
These orders are certainly a useful tool, helping to keep adults and children safe. It is very important for all involved to understand what options they have available to them, so seeking legal guidance is generally a good first step forward when initiating or responding to a request for a protective order.