Over the course of time, state and federal government focuses on certain crimes or issues of legal importance to society. In the emotional context of domestic relationships where children are involved or with similar matters of the heart, domestic violence often goes unreported. For this reason, Indiana has a comprehensive system for those who are abused to obtain a protective order, commonly referred as the Indiana Civil Order Protection Act.
Unfortunately, as with every other aspect of law and life, a small percentage of litigants abuse the process for illicit purposes. For example, a spouse may allege domestic violence to obtain a protective order and gain a tactical advantage in a divorce or other type of custody case. However, Indiana courts are open to hear such disputes and deny or revoke protective orders obtained on false or distorted facts.
There are several keys avoid a protective order issuing or to defending the same. First, is common sense. If the situation is escalating, a parent should leave the situation to avoid it from escalating. Second, on close analysis of facts alleged in a protective order petition, it may be a logical defense exists. For example, at the time the alleged event occurred, the accused was in a different place and some document exists to establish this fact. Third, some protective orders are based on a situation where facts, timeline, and circumstances do not line up.
For this reason, if you are served with a protective order that appears to be based on tactical reasons, it is always wise to consult with a knowledgeable attorney. He or she can help you sort through the allegations and determine if you should seek a hearing on the matter. Judges do not want orders abused and carefully listen to all such claims as false allegations undermine the integrity of the rule of law.
While you may believe it is better to just accept a protective order that is not based on accurate facts or is fabricated, the implications are significant. This may provide a basis for supervised visitation, loss of a job, or Brady-disqualification. For these reasons, if you find yourself in a situation where a protective order is issued against you that you believe is not based on law, you should consult a lawyer.
In addition, a protective order may form a foundation for other civil or criminal action and is a powerful restraint. We hope this blog post has helped you understand you have legal rights and should carefully evaluate your situation in such litigation. If so, this blog post has met its educational objective.
Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates practice and defend against protective orders throughout the State of Indiana. This blog is not intended to provide specific legal advice for your situation. It is not a solicitation for legal representation.