Abuse is a serious and heartbreaking topic. Victims of abuse have often suffered long before they ever file a restraining order. While filing a Victim's Protection Order certainly doesn't prevent violence 100%, doing so ensures that if that order is breached, the violator will be met with penalties.
To qualify for a VPO, you must fall into the following categories regarding the person you're seeking a VPO against:
- Victim of rape
- Divorced from the person
- Currently or previously in a dating relationship with the person
- Divorced from the person's spouse (is the person married to your ex?)
- Formerly living in the same household as the person
- Currently living in the same household
- Related to them by blood
- Related to them by marriage
- Their child
- Their parent
In the cases above, you can request a VPO. However, if none of these apply, you must have experienced harassment or stalking more than once in order to file. But what constitutes harassment and/or stalking?
Harassment is defined as conduct directed toward a person that includes, but is not limited to, repeated and continuing contact that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress and actually causes emotional distress to the victim.
Stalking is defined as any person who, willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
To file, you'll need to fill out the form at the county clerk's office. From there, a judge can potentially consider your petition the same day you file, if you arrive early enough in the day.
We understand that sometimes these scenarios can feel scary, shocking, and in some cases, shameful. But our family law attorneys have the knowledge and empathy to walk you through your circumstance. We'll equip you with the legal understanding to help you file your VPO and protect yourself and your family, if necessary.