Orders of Protection
"Who can get an order of protection order in Indiana, and what does it mean?"
An order of protection has many different meanings under the rather broad range of issues that arise with domestic litigation. Logically, it means “protection” from somebody or some thing.
At Ciyou & Dixon, P.C., we are strong believers in the notion that the more a client understands about the law applicable to his or her case, the better-equipped he or she is to help us be the most effective advocates we can be. This is certainly true of orders of protection.
A common type order of protection that Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. encounters is one obtained under the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act (ICPOA). The ICPOA was adopted several years ago by the Legislature to target the specific issue of domestic and family violence. Generally, this body of law is limited to persons involved in domestic relationships of some type. In other words, it applies to cases of domestic violence.
Where a spouse and/or child has been subject to abuse during a domestic relationship, the ICPOA provides one of several tools Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. may discuss with you to address your risks. The ICPOA provides a unique remedy for an ex parte (without a hearing) order of protection. These orders are provided to law enforcement, and the Brady law may disqualify a person subject to a protective order from possessing firearms.
Due to the high number of protective orders that are requested and issued, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates are sometimes tasked to defend against such orders. Unfortunately, in some cases a domestic litigant misstates, overstates, or otherwise improperly alleges a basis to obtain an order of protection. The judiciary typically errs on the side of safety and, in closer calls, issues a protective order.
In today’s society, where everyone from schools to employers have zero tolerance for domestic violence, the issuance of a protective order may have far-reaching and profound consequences if issued and maintained. For this reason, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys are adept at analyzing the facts of a case and the law to provide an accurate analysis and cogent argument against a protective order.
Property and Assets (Restraining Order)
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys routinely encounter cases in which a person or asset needs to be protected, but the ICPOA does not apply. There are a number of other legal tools we may look at to meet a client’s needs. We, again, are of the opinion that a one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter approach does not serve most clients well.
Some of the law that we look to, perhaps the most common, is found in the trial rules, which govern how Indiana trial courts operate and some of the remedies they may provide. Under Trial Rule 65(E), there are provisions that specifically apply to domestic litigants. The asset restraining order is the most notable.
We find that in the turmoil of divorce, it is often easy for a spouse to rationalize transferring, spending or likewise improperly handling marital property. With our clients, we assess if there are assets that may be readily moved or depleted.
If so, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. will consult with you about the need for an asset restraining order and whether it may be an appropriate remedy. Typically, these allow a party to access assets for ordinary things, such as paying for groceries from the marital account, but do not allow withdrawals for a casino or lavish trip.
Removal of Children (Taking to Another State)
In a small percentage of cases, before or after a divorce filing, a parent may flee the state with the child. Indiana trial courts usually take a very dim view of this behavior. Under statutory law, Indiana remains the child’s home state and the venue where the custody litigation is to take place. This is a very complicated area and involves the Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA, UCCJEA or UCCJEL).
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. divorce attorneys believe this matter should be avoided if possible. Such legal problems are time-consuming and expensive to resolve. Under the trial rules, namely 65(E), a trial court may also issue an order preventing this. Specifically, it may enter an order to prohibit a party from removing any child that resides in the state to another place with the intent to deprive the court of jurisdiction.
Personal Information and Sensitive Business Material
A very different, but nevertheless no less important, type of order of protection is one issued by a trial court in response to a discovery request. Discovery is the process by which one party gathers information from the other side. In its most basic form, one party can request of the other virtually anything and the trial court is not involved.
In a number of cases, we see information requested which is highly sensitive or personal in nature. Medical records sometimes fit this bill, such as if they reveal a sexual history. This is not likely relevant to the domestic case, but may be requested by a party to attempt to embarrass the other to gain some tactical ground.
Another case is where a marital business is involved. The operations and clients lists of that business may constitute a significant value to the business and thus the marital estate. For this reason, an irrational spouse or one motivated by spite sometimes request such information for purposes other than valuing the business — to provide it to a competitor or set up a similar business.
As your order of protection advocates, Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. can advise you as to protective measures. Specifically, even though a trial court is not generally involved in discovery, it may be turned to in order to address situations like this. And a protective order may be issued to protect the information or documents sought and still meet the needed use for the divorce. For example, the material may be ordered and not provided or sent to a third-party business valuator.
Should Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. be your legal advocate? At what point do I need an order of protection in a divorce? These details matter in a divorce case, and it is critical for a party to partner with a trusted legal team to address the details, which collectively may make a significant difference in meeting your case objective.