COVID-19 has put many people in difficult positions due to the mandated stay-home orders. This is especially true if you are experiencing abuse at the hands of someone within your household. Even if you are stuck inside your home, you are still able to obtain a Protective Order (“PO”) if you or your children are being abused, harassed, or stalked. A petition for a PO can be filed online for no cost at https://www.in.gov/judiciary/selfservice/2352.htm. Note: There is a red escape button on the page if you are interrupted and need to exit the site quickly.
There are two relevant kinds of POs. One, an Ex Parte Order for Protection, can be issued without a hearing if you are experiencing an emergency requiring immediate assistance. The order will become effective immediately and the court may schedule a hearing on the order at a later date. The other type of PO applies if you are not in danger of immediate harm. In this situation, you may file for an Order for Protection, which is issued only after the court holds a hearing on a Petition for Order of Protection. The court will schedule a hearing, you will be notified of the date, and you will be required to attend the hearing and present evidence in support of the Petition.
If a judge grants a PO in your favor, the judge may order the person who is subject to the PO to do a variety of things. For example, the judge may require that person to immediately cease all threatening or harassing behavior, leave your home, or pay certain fees, bills, or support. The judge may also require that person to give you use of the home, car, or other personal items necessary for your own support. The PO is valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed after 2 years have passed. Either PO is useful in a legal sense, but if you are being threatened with immediate, physical harm, your first step should always be to call 911.
If you need assistance in filing a PO or with any other family law issue, contact our office at (317) 825-5110.
This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.