An Order for Protection is an order one receives from a judge prohibiting a spouse, ex-spouse, ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend from having contact with him or her. A court hearing is set allowing the parties to present witnesses, police reports and other supporting documentation. A judge issues an Order for Protection upon proof that someone (1) committed physical harm, bodily injury or assault, (2) committed the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, or (3) terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct or interference with an emergency call. A judge has the ability to make determinations of temporary legal and physical custody of children, child support, and property division.
Courts sometimes see a party inappropriately seeking an Order for Protection with little supporting evidence hoping to use the Order for Protection against the other party for strategic purposes in a divorce or custody action. Such behavior is used against the improper party in future hearings.