“Family violence” or “family offenses” are crimes committed against an individual and/or their children by a person who has had an intimate relationship with them. Domestic violence falls under the umbrella of family violence. According to a report by the NYC Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV), there were more than 80,000 reports of family violence to the NYPD in 2018 alone.
Survivors of family violence can apply to family court for an order of protection. Also called a restraining order, an order of protection is a legal document that outlines what the abuser can or cannot do. The goal of an order of protection is to stop the violent acts and help safeguard the well-being of the petitioners.
Steps You Need to Take to Get an Order of Protection
An individual whose safety or the safety of their children has been threatened by a family member can request the court for a restraining order. In the State of New York, a “family member” can be anyone the plaintiff or the victim is related to by blood or marriage. A family member can also be anyone that the plaintiff has had an intimate relationship with, such as someone they’ve previously dated.
To get one, you would first need to go to a family court. It should be within the county where you or the abuser lives, or where the abuse took place. At the help center or petition room, you would be asked to fill out some forms. These have questions regarding you, the respondent/abuser, and your reason for seeking an order of protection.
The county clerk will set your petition in front of the judge, who will then issue a Summons and Complaint against the abuser. Depending on your situation, the judge may also issue a warrant of arrest.
The judge will then decide whether to grant you an order of protection.
What Can an Order of Protection Do?
An order of protection states that the respondent/abuser must not harass or threaten you. It can be full or limited. A full order of protection has additional requirements: they must completely stay away from you, your home, workplace, children, and children’s school. Meanwhile, a limited order of protection allows the respondent to maintain contact with you.
The judge may set other conditions for the respondent’s behavior. You may also request additional terms, such as limiting custody.
If the abuser is proven to have violated the order of protection, you can report it to the police as well as file a violation petition. When proven, the court may sentence the abuser to jail time.
The Importance of Process Servers in Obtaining an Order of Protection
A notice of petition and the Summons and Complaint must be served to the respondent.
Service of process can be attempted by law enforcement. However, if they’re unable to serve the notice of petition or summons to the abuser, you will need to have someone qualified and reliable to do it instead.
It is critical to choose a process server that is reliable and experienced in service of process for family court matters. This is because the order of protection only goes into effect as soon as service of process is completed.
The relevant legal documents such as the notice of petition and Summons and Complaint must be served at least 24 hours before a court date, and the court requires a signed statement that serves as proof of good service.
Serve Index Process Service for Order of Protection Petitioners
Personally delivering notices of petition, summons for order of protection, and other family court documents is made challenging by a number of factors. These include the time-sensitive nature of summons and petitions, laws governing process service, and documenting successful service.
Our process servers are more than capable of this difficult task. We have years of experience in process service, and we have the training and expertise to successfully serve process to uncooperative or difficult-to-track respondents. We also provide skip tracking services that you can use alongside our process service solutions to ensure the summons is delivered to the right person, in a timely manner.
Reach out to Serve Index LLC today for more details on how we can help you with this crucial step in the process of seeking an order of protection from New York Family Court.