In Indiana, domestic violence incidents are treated with the utmost gravity. If your spouse, partner or a family member has accused you of abuse, you may find that they have received a protective order against you. This order has the possibility to upend your routines and relationships. Due to the nature of its restrictions, it is important to understand the ways in which a protective order could affect you.
How protective orders work
To receive a protective order against you, your accuser must file a petition through the court. Depending on the nature of their allegations, the court may immediately issue an ex parte order. This order may prohibit you from:
- Committing or threatening commit domestic violence against your accuser
- Contacting your accuser and going to places your accuser frequents
- Entering any residence that you share with your accuser
- Using any property that you share with your accuser
Within 30 days of the ex parte order’s issuance, the court will schedule a hearing – if it requires you to leave your home or forfeit shared property – regarding whether to issue a final protective order. The court will also have to schedule a hearing if you and your accuser share children, if you own firearms or if you will have to cover certain fees or expenses for your accuser related to your case. Absent these situations, the ex parte order will become final unless you request a hearing to contest it within 30 days of its issuance.
The consequences of a final protective order
If your accuser receives a final protective order against you, it will remain in effect for two years. Once the final order ends, your accuser has the option to request its renewal. While your final order lasts, you will face the same restrictions as those set forth in your ex parte order. You may also face additional consequences, including:
- Having limited – or no – visitation with any children you share with your accuser
- Paying your accuser’s attorney’s fees and expenses related to the case
- Surrendering any weapons that you own to the local sheriff
Receiving a protective order against you – whether ex parte or final – could disrupt your life. With the help of an attorney, you can work to mitigate your potential consequences.