Emergency Orders: What Every Domestic Abuse Victim Needs to Know

Emergency OrdersAn emergency order is a type of temporary restraining order. Like other types of restraining orders, with an emergency order, the person being abused (called the petitioner) files a motion before the court asking that the abuser (called the respondent) be prohibited from having contact with the petitioner.

Such requests typically cover all types of contact, including direct phone calls, texts and social media messages, as well as communication via friends and relatives.  In cases where the petitioner and respondent live together, the emergency order also prohibits the respondent from living in the residence they share.  In cases where they have children, an emergency order addresses child custody.

An emergency order is also known as a:

  • Temporary injunction for protection
  • Temporary restraining order
  • Temporary protective order

It’s important to understand that emergency orders are only temporary, and designed as a stop-gap measure until a more permanent solution can be established.

Emergency Orders versus Permanent Orders 

The purpose of an emergency order is to obtain a legally sufficient court order that prohibits the respondent from having any contact with the petitioner for a short period of time, which is usually 15 days or less.  Emergency orders are granted by a judge based solely on the representations of the petitioner.  The emergency order takes effect as soon as the respondent is served with a copy of the order, and remains in effect for 15 days or until a hearing is held, whichever comes first.

Hearings After an Emergency Order Is Issued 

Emergency orders are issued based solely on the representations of the petitioner. If the petitioner wants the order to remain in effect, they must attend a hearing, which is pre-scheduled at the time the temporary order is issued.  At this hearing, the court will hear testimony from both the petitioner and the respondent.  Upon listening to all the facts, the court will make a decision about whether to continue to enforce the restraining order, or to dismiss the case all together.  If the petitioner fails to attend the hearing, the restraining order may be dismissed.  If the respondent fails to attend the hearing, the court may extend the restraining order.

Because child custody issues are addressed during these hearings, it is a good idea to have legal representation, whether you are the petitioner or the respondent.

If You Are a Victim of Domestic Violence 

If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are laws in place that can protect you.  An emergency order can provide immediate protection against ongoing violence and abuse.  At Eric C. Cheshire, P.A., we are sensitive to domestic violence.  We understand that there is no “one size fits all” solution to families in crisis.  An emergency order provides clear directives with predictable consequences if the order is violated.  Contact us at (561) 655-8844 to determine whether an emergency order is right for you. We provide confidential legal services in all areas of family law.