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Orders of Protection or Isn't Living Together During a Divorce Fun?!

Posted by attorney Kenneth Keith

We have to start by saying Orders of Protection probably represent the single most abused device in all of the practice of Family Law. Somehow it has come to be accepted practice that just before or as you begin a divorce action you should seek an Order of Protection in an attempt to remove your mate from the home you share. There can be no question but that there are situations where Orders of Protection are both necessary and maybe even long overdue. Many who follow the path to Family Court because they think it will help with their divorce find themselves facing a Cross-Petition wherein their spouse seeks their own Order of Protection. Even where no Cross-petition is filed spending the time time and money in Family Court pursuing an Order of Protection that could have been better spent to resolve the real issue, the divorce, is viewed as not always having been time and money well spent. That said, the only way you can get an Order of Protection is by showing that a Family Offense has been committed. Family Offenses are defined by the Penal Law and areonly:

Disorderly Conduct


Aggravated Harassment


Reckless Endangerment

Assault or attempted Assault


Criminal Mischief

An Order of Protection may include the requirement that the person against whom the order is issued:

Stay away from the petitioner and any children involved (Stay-Away Order)

Pay reasonable counsel fees of the petitioner

Participate in a batterer’s education program

Pay petitioner’s medical bills for injuries sustained as a result of the abuse

Stay away from the home, school, or place of employment of the petitioner and any children involved

Refrain from committing additional family offenses or acts that endanger the welfare of other family members

Be permitted to remove personal property from a shared residence at a time designated by the court

Be permitted to visit with any children at court designated times and places

Refrain from intentionally injuring or killing, without justification, any companion animal the respondent knows to be owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner or a minor child residing in the household.

Note: Orders of Protection can be issued by Family Court, Supreme Court and criminal courts.

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