How Do You Get an Order of Protection During the Pandemic?
Domestic violence incidents rose earlier in the pandemic as stay-at-home orders went into effect and people were closely confined. Today, while COVID-19 restrictions on movement are hopefully on the decline, domestic abuse remains a problem and victims need to be protected.
If a family member or a current or former intimate partner is abusing or harassing you, you can petition the family court for an order of protection (also called a restraining order). Though New York courts have in large part reopened after a lengthy shutdown, methods of remote access that were put in place during the pandemic are still operational. You have the option of pursuing an order of protection by going to court or by petitioning through the virtual court, which can be a useful remedy for people under threat of domestic violence.
Whichever route you choose to take, the fastest way to seek an order of protection is by calling a qualified family lawyer. At our firm, we can consult with you over the phone or in a video conference. Either way, we’ll prepare and file your Family Office Petition, which is the document that the court will review when deciding whether to issue the order. Within a few hours (or the next day if the filing is at night), a judge will hold a brief hearing and ask a few questions about the petition. We will be there with you for the hearing, whether it’s in court or virtual.
After the hearing, the judge usually issues a temporary order of protection (TOP), which requires your alleged abuser to:
- Stay away from you and your children, including their school and any other place you or your kids frequent
- Turn the children over to you so you can have custody
- Pay temporary child support
- Vacate your home
- Surrender firearms
- Stop contacting you through text, email, phone, etc.
Our team will take care of serving the TOP on your abuser, which puts them on notice that the order is in effect. The TOP stays active until your next court date, which is usually within a week. Your abuser has the right to appear, either in person or virtually, and to challenge your petition. Again, we will be there to represent you. If we prevail at the hearing, the judge will issue a permanent order of protection, which can last up to two years (or five years if there are aggravating circumstances).
Despite the continuing spread of COVID-19 and its emerging variants, New York courts are still putting priority on issuing orders of protection. If you need one, call Bryan L. Salamone & Associates, P.C. right away at 1.631.479.3839 or contact us online anytime. Our office is located in Melville and we serve all of Long Island.