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An order of protection seeks an order protecting an individual from physical abuse, physical threats, stalking or harassment. Additionally, the Court may grant orders affecting numerous other rights of parties. This includes child custody, child support, maintenance (alimony) and property possession. RSMO Section 455.045 Given the vast array of relief that may be granted by the Court, and the fast-moving nature of the proceedings, having an attorney assist with your order of protection can be beneficial to the outcome of your case.
Procedure of an Order of Protection
There are two types of order of protection: 1) Child orders of protection, and 2) Adult orders of protection. A child order of protection seeks protection of a child from abuse, stalking or harassment. An adult order of protection seeks protection for an adult from abuse, stalking or harassment.
Each starts when an individual files with the Court a Petition for an order of protection. RSMO Section 455.038. The Petitioner should name the individual against whom protection is sought (the Respondent), and the alleged conduct of the Respondent that necessitates the order being entered. The Petition is forwarded to a Judge for determination of whether sufficient allegations have been made to grant the Petition on a temporary “ex parte” basis. Due to orders of protection being considered emergency matters, no hearing is held during this step. Instead, the Judge reviews the Petition outside the presence of the parties.
Regardless of whether the Petition is granted on a temporary, ex parte basis, the matter is set for a final hearing. For child orders of protection, a guardian ad litem will usually be appointed. A guardian ad litem should also be appointed when an adult order of protection alleges abuse or neglect of a child of the parties. The guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed by the court to represent the child’s best interests. The guardian ad litem will investigate the case, and recommend to the Judge whether to enter a full order of protection. The Judge may still choose to not follow the recommendations of the guardian ad litem.
Before a final hearing can be held, the Respondent (the individual against whom the order is being sought) must be served with the Petition. A hearing is held, and each side may present evidence under oath. Then the order, including any temporary/ex parte order, is either dismissed, or is entered as a full order lasting from 180 days up to a full year. RSMO Section 455.045. If the full order of protection is granted after hearing, the Court may also grant orders regarding custody, child support, maintenance and property.
Issues of Importance in an Order of Protection
An experienced attorney can assist an individual in an order of protection in numerous ways. Initially, an order of protection needs to have certain allegations proven in order to be granted. Additionally, the allegations required may differ based on the type of relationship between the Petitioner and Respondent. The attorneys at Cline, Braddock & Basinger can assist a Petitioner in pleading their case, correctly, or assist a Respondent in defending and establishing the deficiencies in a Petitioner’s allegations.
Furthermore, the attorneys at Cline, Braddock & Basinger may greatly assist in litigating any issues involving child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony) and property possession as part of an order of protection case. Order of protection hearings often involve most of the issues addressed in a divorce case. These issues are frequently addressed under emergency circumstances, when the parties have not had any time to stabilize their living arrangements. Once a custody or child support order is entered, it can be difficult to convince a later court to significantly change its view of the case. Other times, the parties may not have the resources to commence further proceedings to change the orders entered. As such, it is advisable to retain an attorney to properly present your side of the case during this crucial time.
Finally, an order of protection may have significant impacts on a person’s future. The entry of an order of protection can impact a Respondent’s employment and housing prospects immediately. Entry of an order may also prevent the ownership and/or possession of fire arms by the Respondent. The violation of an order of protection is a also a criminal offense, subject to jail and fines. Defending against an order of protection successfully can affect an individual’s finances and living arrangements for the remainder of his or her life.
Contact Our Offices Today!
The attorneys at Cline, Braddock & Basinger have years of experience successfully prosecuting and defending order of protection cases. If you have filed an order of protection, are looking to file one, or have been served with an order of protection, you may call the attorneys at our law office for a free consultation to see if we may assist you.
Attorneys at Cline, Braddock & Basinger are ready to assist you. It is our hope that you find these materials useful. When you are ready contact our offices to schedule a free appointment!