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Orders of protection are a tool to distance two people in the interest of preventing harm to one person by the other. This is a broad definition on purpose for the sake of dealing with each case fairly and accounting for each person’s best interests. 

The New York Courts website explains the difference how, in family court, this order may help stop violence within a family or intimate relationship during a civil proceeding like divorce. 

Benefits of an order 

During a divorce in which one party (the petitioner) fears for their safety, they can file an order of protection against the other (the respondent) to ensure that they stay a certain distance from the petitioner and any children involved. Types of orders like “stay away” may just dictate a distance while “no-offensive contact” orders regulate actions like yelling and swearing. This can create, whether temporary or final, a safe buffer against domestic violence.

Enforcement of an order 

Should the respondent approach the petitioner within the protected distance, the petitioner is within their legal right to call the police. 

Exploits of an order 

Sometimes a petitioner may abuse this tool as a way to negatively impact the respondent. It may even push the respondent out of their home with no recourse outside of a full hearing—something that can take weeks of waiting to get to. 

Divorce is a tense time for both parties, especially if the risk of violence exists. In these moments, it is important to stay safe and work with the courts to ensure a smooth transition through the process.