Sometimes in divorce cases, one or both parties files for an OFP (Order for Protection). These are court orders that protect the party in question from abuse. There are many misconceptions about OFPs. Here are the 5 things you need to know about OFPs.
- You can be served up to 12 hours before the hearing. However, if you are served less than five days before the hearing, you may request a continuance of the hearing (for up to five days).
- You have three choices when there is an Order for Protection. You can:
- Agree to the entry of the Order for Protection and admit to the allegations in the Petition (i.e. you say that you committed the alleged acts of domestic abuse) and the Order for Protection will be entered against you.
- You can stipulate for the Order for Protection to be entered without findings (i.e. you say that you will stay away from the person/not contact them but the judge will not say you committed any acts of domestic abuse).
- You can deny the allegations in the OFP and then have a trial (i.e. you will force the Petitioner to prove that the allegations are true).
- You can ask for spousal maintenance, custody, and other remedies under the Order for Protection. For example, if you are married and you are requesting your Order for Protection against your spouse, you may ask the Court to grant you custody of the children.
- You cannot contact the Petitioner even if they contact you first. If there is an OFP and you are restricted from contacting the Petitioner, even if the Petitioner invites you to his/her home, calls you/texts you, etc. if you respond, you are in violation of the Order for Protection.
- Interfering with a 911 call is grounds for an Order for Protection. If your family/household member is making a 911 call and you interfere with the call (i.e. by hanging up the phone, grabbing the phone, etc.) this is grounds for an Order for Protection.