There are times when those in intimate relationships or marriages when abusive and violent behavior is exhibited by one of the parties to the relationship. Understandably, this conduct has significant psychological, financial. and emotional effects on it’s victims. Those victims can be men or women of any age or socio-economic status. When acts of domestic abuse occurs, including emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and technological abuse (for example, using texting or using social media to harass, stalk or intimidate), a victim of this behavior can seek a civil protection order from the court to prevent contact with the abuser if there is evidence that there is an imminent risk of harm to that victim. A temporary protection order can be issued which can give the victim a right to the parties’ residence, and temporary decision making authority over children. That order can be obtained in the absence of the abuser. The Temporary Protection Order also sets the course of the case to allow the victim to pursue a permanent protection order against the abuser.
The evidence required to support a protection order is a consideration to be evaluated carefully and thoughtfully because once the abuser is served with the temporary protection order, it is very likely that they will fight the issuance of a permanent protection order. Evidence of threats are a matter of one person’s word against the other. If there is a recording of these threats, that proof is very persuasive to prove that there has been an act of domestic which must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence. For other acts of domestic abuse, physical violence can be proven by taking pictures or by being examined by a doctor. Stalking can be proven by having photographic evidence. For all acts of domestic violence, the abuser’s own statements can be used as evidence against them should they admit to the acts which support a request for a protection order. Emails, text messages and recorded phone conversations (where consent to do the recording is legal with only one party’s consent) can all be used to prove acts in support of other evidence or as evidence of the commission of an act of domestic violence standing without other evidence.
Before filing any civil protection order, it is important to act in a timely manner and speak to an attorney who has experience in handling protection orders to make sure you have the strongest case possible to obtain an order of protection. Sergei Thomas has had over two decades of litigation experience, and has handled many civil protection orders. If you are at risk of abuse, please don’t hesitate to contact us.