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  • Writer's pictureLaurie M. Wasserman

Domestic Abuse and Protective Orders

Domestic abuse is a serious matter and can be heightened during times like now, where we are encouraging social distancing and quarantine. We are continuing to handle domestic abuse cases throughout this time and the courts are still open to handle these important proceedings.

What is a Protective Order?

A Protective Order is designed to protect a person from abuse. A court will issue the Protective Order to tell an abuser what they can or cannot do for specified things. If the abuser fails to follow the Protective Order, law enforcement has the right to immediately arrest them and take legal actions.

Examples of Protective Orders include:

  • No Contact: the abuser is not allowed to contact the victim at all (including in-person, phone calls, texting, emails, and letters)

  • Peaceful Contact: the abuser can only contact the victim when discussing specified topics (e.g. making decisions about their children)

  • Stay Away: the abuser is not allowed to come within a specified distance of the victim

  • Move Out: the abuser must move out of the home

  • No Firearms: the abuser must surrender all firearms to law enforcement for the duration of the order

  • Counseling: the abuser must go to counseling for the duration of the order

Abuse is defined as several actions, including:

  • An act that causes serious bodily harm (e.g. hitting, choking, shooting, shoving, or biting)

  • An act that places someone in fear of imminent serious bodily harm (including threats)

  • Assault, rape, or sexual assault

  • Mental injury to a child or minor

  • Stalking

To be eligible for a Protective Order, the person filing it must fall into one of these categories:

  • Spouse of the abuser (current or former)

  • Shares a child with the abuser (whether or not you were ever married)

  • Lives with the abuser and has a sexual relationship or has lived together for at least 90 days

  • Related to the abuser (including through marriage or adoption)

  • Has had a sexual relationship with the abuser (within the last year)

What if I do not fall into the Protective Order categories?

If you are not a person eligible for a Protective Order, you still may be eligible for a Peace Order. You must file for a Peace Order within 30 days of the act occurring.

How can an attorney help me?

An attorney will guide you through the Protective Order process and ensure you get the legal measures in place to increase your safety. Additionally, abuse hearings can have civil and criminal implications beyond just the Order of Protection and you will want an attorney to represent you during this time.

If you need immediate assistance with a domestic abuse situation, please call the local authorities, or National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.

If you have questions about domestic abuse cases during this time, please email Laurie Wasserman at or call our main number 410-842-1070. For the foreseeable future, we will be available by telephone and virtually to serve our clients.


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