Sometimes divorces and child custody battles escalate if one party gets angry with the other.  This can leave one partner fearing for their safety or the safety of their children.  To protect against the possibility of physical or verbal abuse, Minnesota law allows residents to file an Order for Protection (OFP) against a certain individual.

There are three main ways an OFP can protect a person.  An Order for Protection can order a respondent:

  • Not to physically harm.
  • Not to have any contact.
  • Not to enter a petitioner’s residence or workplace.

In addition, an Order for Protection can also be used to decide parenting time or temporary custody.

Filing an Order for Protection

In order to file an Order for Protection, there are three requirements that must be met.  For the following example, we’ll assume you want to seek an Order for Protection in Hennepin County.

1)       You must file to a court with jurisdiction

In order for Hennepin County to have jurisdiction, one of the following must occur:

  • The petitioner or respondent must live in Hennepin County.
  • There must be pending or complete family court action involving either party in Hennepin County.
  • The alleged abuse must have taken place in Hennepin County.

2)       You must have a qualifying relationship with the respondent

A “qualifying relationship” can be any of the following conditions:

  • Being a spouse or former spouse
  • Living or having lived together
  • Having a child in common
  • Being related by blood
  • Having a parent/child relationship
  • Having a significant romantic or sexual relationship

3)       Allege recent domestic abuse

Allegations of domestic abuse can include any of the following:

  • Physical or bodily injury
  • Terroristic threats
  • Acts of criminal sexual misconduct
  • Fear or imminent bodily harm
  • Interference  with an emergency call

As noted earlier, an OFP can also influence parenting time or custody decisions.  Statute 518B.01 states “in addition to the primary safety considerations, the court may consider particular best interest factors that are found to be relevant to the temporary custody and parenting time award. If the court finds that the safety of the victim or the children will be jeopardized by unsupervised or unrestricted parenting time, the court shall condition or restrict parenting time as to time, place, duration, or supervision, or deny parenting time entirely, as needed to guard the safety of the victim and the children.”

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