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What justifies a protective order?

If you experience abuse in an intimate relationship or family interaction, you may have grounds to seek a protective order to keep yourself safe. In fact, you may have more grounds than you realize to seek out this protection, as courts now recognize numerous forms of abuse and offer protective orders as remedies.

Most people understand that they may seek protective orders if they experience physical or sexual abuse. Abuse can take many forms, including relatively minor instances like someone grabbing you aggressively. However, physical and sexual abuse are not the only grounds you may use to obtain a protective order.

You may also seek a protective order if you experience psychological, emotional or economic abuse. This may include someone subjecting you to ongoing criticisms or other actions that belittle or humiliate you. It may also include instances when an abuser withholds financial access from you to keep you financially dependent on him or her.

If you are not sure whether or not a particular experience justifies a protective order, consider the severity of the treatment you receive and how regularly it occurs. While not all unfair or personally hurtful behavior can serve as grounds for a protective order, if you reach the point where you are considering seeking one because of the nature of the treatment you receive, there is a good chance that the law is on your side.

Should you face these difficulties, you shouldn't let them continue. Of course, it is almost always easier to make difficult changes with the help and guidance of a neutral third party. An experienced family law attorney can help you understand the specifics of your own circumstances and the legal tools available to restore your dignity and safety.

Source: FindLaw, "Domestic Violence Restraining Order FAQs," accessed May 25, 2018

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