Gaithersburg Domestic Violence Attorney
When a spouse, partner, former spouse and/or the other parent of your child is physically abusive to you, this is domestic violence. It doesn’t matter if the violence occurred for the first time or as a persistent pattern of behavior. The person who has been abused is entitled to legal protection. The family law lawyers at Lustig, Gudis & Lucero, LLC are experienced in representing people who have been abused, and can get you the protection you need in the form of a “Protective Order”.
Conversely, when a spouse, partner, ex-spouse and/or other parent of a child makes a false allegation of physical violence and requests a Protective Order from the Court, this, too must be met head on with a trained family law lawyer experienced in dealing with domestic violence. The lawyers at Lustig, Gudis & Lucero, LLC have handled many cases involving both situations; when there has been physical abuse and where there has not, but allegations are made nonetheless.
The burden of proving that the physical abuse occurred falls on the Petitioner (the party alleging abuse). The legislature has set a high standard of proof, clear and convincing evidence, which the Petitioner must meet before obtaining a Final Protective Order. Although this standard is high, it is lower than that necessary to prove someone guilty of a crime. It may be that the abuse also rises to the level of a provable crime, but a Protective Order may be obtained at the same time criminal proceedings are pursued by the State’s Attorney. Because the standard of proof is high, if you believe that you are in need of a Protective order, it is important that you consult a trained and experienced Maryland family law attorney to insure that you have the best chance of getting the protection to which you are entitled.
Our Maryland Divorce Attorney Can Help You Obtain a Protective Order
The first step in obtaining a Protective order is to file a petition with the Clerk of either the Circuit Court or the District Court or, if the Courts are not open for business, with the commissioner. The petition can be filed ex parte, meaning it can be filed without having to notify the other party. A judge or the commissioner must first decide whether the Petitioner is a person eligible for relief. There must be a finding that the Petitioner is:
- (a) the current spouse or live-in partner of the Respondent (the person alleged to have been abusive);
- (b) a person related to the Respondent by blood, marriage or adoption;
- (c) a parent, stepparent, child, or stepchild of the Respondent;
- (d) a vulnerable adult; or
- (e) a person who has a child in common with the Respondent.
Once it has been established that the Petitioner is a person eligible for relief, the Court or Commissioner can then issue a Temporary Ex Parte Protective Order requiring the Respondent to
- (a) refrain from further abuse or threats of abuse;
- (b) refrain from contacting the Petitioner or attempting to contact the Petitioner;
- (c) refrain from harassing the Petitioner; and
- (d) refrain from entering the residence of the Petitioner.
The Temporary Protective Order will state the date when both parties must return to Court to have a Final Protective Order hearing, usually a week later.
An experienced family lawyer knows how to prepare for a hearing in Maryland
Once the Temporary Protective Order has been issued, the Sheriff’s Office will serve it on the Respondent. It is extremely important that you have a Maryland family law attorney represent you at the Final Protective Order hearing. The clear and convincing standard of proof will be applied by the Judge at this hearing. Your attorney will know what evidence to present at the hearing so as to give you the best chance of obtaining a Final Protective Order.
The Final Protective Order may include any of the following relief:
- (a) order the Respondent to refrain from abusing or threatening any person eligible for relief;
- (b) order the Respondent to refrain from contacting, attempting to contact or harassing any person eligible for relief;
- (c) order the Respondent to refrain from entering the residence of any person eligible for relief;
- (d) order temporary use and possession of the home in which the parties were living, if they were living together, or in the case of abuse of a child or vulnerable adult, order temporary use and possession to the adult living in the home;
- (e) order the Respondent to remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of a person eligible for relief or the home of other family members;
- (f) order the Respondent to remain away from a child care provider of a person eligible for relief while the child of the person is in the care of the child care provider;
- (g) award temporary custody of a minor child of the Respondent and a person eligible for relief;
- (h) establish temporary visitation with a minor child of the Respondent and a person eligible for relief on a basis which gives primary consideration to the welfare of the minor child and the safety of any other person eligible for relief;
- (i) award emergency family maintenance as necessary to support any person eligible for relief, and may award an Earnings Withholding Order;
- (j) award temporary use and possession of a vehicle jointly owned by the Respondent and the Petitioner;
- (k) direct the Respondent or any or all of the persons eligible for relief to participate in professionally supervised counseling or a domestic violence program;
- (l) order the Respondent to surrender to law enforcement authorities any firearms in the Respondent’s possession for the duration of the protective order; or
- (m) order the Respondent to pay filing fees and costs of the proceeding.
The Final Protective can be ordered for up to 12 months and can be extended thereafter if need be for an additional 6 months.
If you are being falsely accused of domestic violence, and someone has asked for a Protective Order against you, the need for an experienced Maryland family law lawyer is paramount. As you can see from the above list, you can lose many rights if the Protective Order is awarded against you. The lawyers at Lustig, Gudis & Lucero, LLC are experienced in defending against false domestic violence allegations will know what evidence to present before the Court to let the Judge see that the allegations are false. If you are served with a Temporary Protective Order, you need to contact us immediately.