Basic facts about protective orders in Maryland

Taking the step to walk away from an abusive relationship is difficult. If you are in fear of what your abuser might do to you after you leave, you might need to take the extra step of obtaining a protective order. Knowing some basic facts about these orders can help you to decide if you need one and how to go about getting it.

A protective order is available to specific groups of people. You would apply for a protective order if you:

–are the spouse or former spouse of the abuser

–have had a sexual relationship with the abuser in the past year

–have a child with the abuser

If you weren’t in a romantic, sexual, or marital relationship with the person abusing you, it is still possible to qualify for a protective order. You would file for a protective order if you:

–are related by marriage, blood, or adoption to the abuser

–are the stepchild, stepparent, child, or parent of the abuser and you have lived with that person for at least 90 days in the past year

If you are seeking a protective order, you would have to show that something happened to warrant the order. This could be an assault, anything that made you fear that you were in imminent danger of harm, rape, false imprisonment, actual abuse, stalking, or attempted sexual assault or rape.

In order to get the order of protection, you need to file the petition with the District Court if the abuser is over 18 years old. If the person is younger, you would file with the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. From there, you will have hearings to attend. One is to get a temporary order and the other is for a final hearing.

You only have 30 days after the act occurs that makes you want to file for the order of protection. With this in mind, you should take action as quickly as possible so you don’t miss out on your chance.

Source: Maryland Judiciary, “Peace and Protective Orders,” accessed Oct. 03, 2016

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