Procedures Applicable to a Plaintiff in a Protection Case - Relief Available

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F. Relief Available.

Certain kinds of relief are available in a final hearing order (after the hearing), depending upon whether the complaint is based on abuse or harassment. You should be prepared to request specific and appropriate relief based on the circumstances of your case.

In an abuse, sexual assault or stalking case, and in a harassment case the protection order may:

  • Prohibit or limit the defendant from having contact, direct or indirect, with you and any children on whose behalf the complaint has been brought.
    • Direct contact means any contact by any means (including, but not limited to, in person contact, telephone calls, letters, notes, e-mail messages, etc.) directly by the defendant to you.
    • Indirect contact means any effort by the defendant to contact you through other people (such as having them give messages or forward letters or e-mails to you);
  • Order the defendant to refrain from threatening, assaulting, molesting, harassing, attacking, or otherwise abusing you (and your employees in a harassment case);
  • Prohibit the defendant from entering your residence;
  • Prohibit the defendant from following you, or being at or in the vicinity of your home, school, business or place of employment, without reasonable cause;
  • Order the defendant not to take, damage or destroy your property;
  • Order payment of monetary compensation to you for losses suffered as a direct result of the abuse, sexual assault, stalking, or harassment;
  • Order the defendant to pay court costs and/or reasonable attorney's fees;
  • Order you to pay court costs and/or reasonable attorney's fees if you lose the case and the court decides the complaint was frivolous; and
  •  Any other order the court decides is necessary and appropriate.

In addition, in abuse, sexual assault and stalking cases (but not a harassment case), the protection order may:

  • Order the defendant not to threaten, assault, molest, harass, attack, or otherwise abuse any minor children residing in your household;
  • Prohibit the defendant from using physical force against you;
  • Grant exclusive possession of the shared residence to either party (or by agreement, order a party to provide alternate housing for the other party);
  • Prohibit the defendant from possessing or using a firearm or other dangerous weapon;
  • Order a division of the parties' household goods and personal property;
  • Award temporary custody of minor children or temporary visitation rights with minor children;
  • Order the payment of temporary support for one party, or any child in that party's custody;
  • Order one party to make child support payments to the state;
  • Require the defendant to receive counseling;
  • Order the defendant to terminate any life insurance policy on your life;
  • Direct the care, custody or control of any animal owned, possessed, kept or held by either party or minor child residing in the household; and
  • Direct the defendant to refrain from injuring or threatening to injure any animal owned, possessed, kept or held by either party or minor child residing in the household.

When you fill out the complaint, make sure you ask for all relief that you seek.

Note: If the court enters a protection from abuse order that prohibits the defendant from harassing, stalking or threatening you, then possession of a firearm and/or ammunition by the defendant may be a separate violation of state and federal law, even if the order itself does not prohibit firearm possession.

In addition, a parent's willful misuse of the protection from abuse process in order to gain tactical advantage in a divorce or paternity action may be considered by the court in that divorce or paternity action when deciding upon the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities.

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