Protection from Abuse
Protection from Abuse in Huntsville
Skilled and Compassionate Advocates to Protect You Against Abuse and Violence
Those who have experienced abuse or threat of abuse from a spouse or someone with whom they have had a dating relationship, have the right to obtain legal protection in the form of a protection from abuse order. Rebekah L. Graham & Associates can guide parties through the process for obtaining a protection order with care and compassion.
Those who are falsely accused of abuse should act quickly to obtain experienced legal counsel to assist them in defending against false claims. Permanent protection from abuse orders have profound consequences. The attorneys at Rebekah L. Graham & Associates haves experience defending against inappropriate petitions for protection from abuse.
Obtaining Protection from Domestic Abuse
Victims of abuse, or those who have a reasonable cause to believe that they are in immediate danger of abuse, may file for a protection from abuse (PFA) order. For purposes of a protection from abuse action abuse includes such actions as assault, sexual abuse, harassment, stalking, menacing, kidnapping, and criminal trespass. To qualify for a protection from abuse order, the victim must be related to the abuser in one of following ways:
- Current or former spouse
- Have a child in common
- Current or former dating relationship within the past twelve months
- Current or former household member (excluding non-romantic or non-intimate co-residents)
- Relative of a current or former household member who also lived with the abuser
The simplified steps for obtaining an order for protection from abuse are as follows:
- The plaintiff goes to the clerk of the court for the appropriate forms, which are completed and filed with the clerk of the court.
- The plaintiff is taken before the judge for the ex parte hearing.
- Law enforcement serves the defendant with the petition and ex parte order, which includes an order to appear before the judge at a specified date and time for final hearing.
- Both plaintiff and defendant attend the final protection from abuse hearing and present their case before the judge.
Temporary Protection Orders / Ex Parte Protection Orders
A temporary ex parte order may be granted immediately following filing if the judge believes a protection from abuse order is necessary to protect the plaintiff and/or the plaintiff’s child from abuse. Such orders are obtained without the defendant being present (hence, “ex parte”). The ex parte order is meant to protect the plaintiff from the defendant from the time of filing until the full court hearing takes place.
Ex parte orders may order any of the following relief:
- Prohibit the defendant from committing (or threatening to commit) acts of abuse;
- Prohibit the defendant from harassing, stalking, annoying, threatening, or placing the plaintiff or others in fear of injury;
- Prohibit the defendant from contacting the plaintiff or plaintiff’s children directly or indirectly;
- Prohibit the defendant from any physical contact with the plaintiff or plaintiff’s property and stay at least 300 feet away from the plaintiff’s home, work, children’s school, and any other place that the plaintiff frequents;
- Remove the defendant from a home shared with the plaintiff, regardless of who owns the home;
- Award temporary custody of any children of the parties;
- Order the defendant not to interfere with the plaintiff’s attempts to remove any children of the plaintiff and order law enforcement to assist during such removal of children;
- Order the defendant not to remove any children from an individual with legal custody, unless so ordered in a subsequent order issued by the court;
- Order the defendant not to destroy, sell, encumber, or conceal specified property;
- Order the plaintiff to have the possession and use of a car and/or other personal items, regardless of ownership; and
- Order any other relief the court deems necessary to provide for safety and protection.
Final Protection Orders
A Final Order of Protection from Abuse may be issued following an evidentiary hearing, during which both parties have the right to be present, testify, and present evidence and witnesses. The standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence. If granted, a Final Order of Protection from Abuse can be permanent without an expiration date or may be for a set period of time.
Permanent protection orders may order the same terms as temporary protection order, as well as:
- specify arrangements for visitation of any children;
- order the defendant to pay attorney fees and court costs;
- grant the plaintiff possession of the family home if you are married or co-parenting and have the abuser evicted from the home;
- order the defendant to pay child support and/or spousal support; and,
- grant the plaintiff possession of a vehicle.
Our Compassionate Huntsville Attorneys Can Help
Do not hesitate to enlist professional legal help for protection from abuse. The lawyers at Rebekah L. Graham & Associates deal with protection from abuse cases on a regular basis and are sensitive to your situation. They will approach your case and situation with compassion and tenacity. If you seek legal assistance in the filing process or for representation in the court hearing, they can help. If you are wrongly accused, they can defend you against false claims.
“My case was handled with speed and great care.” - Micheal
“She was always prepared and efficient, and I felt that her advice and foresight protected me.” - Kimberly
“Rebekah did a great job in my mediation.” - Robert B.