A civil protection order is the ability of the domestic relations court to issue an order that protects an abused or threatened to be abused individual. Typically, if a party files civil domestic violence charges against another party, it is likely that there is no prior history of domestic abuse. The grounds to file for a civil protection include: a person needs to have a fear of imminent harm or death. If the court finds this fear is reasonable, the court can issue a protective restraining order, removing the aggressor from the house and blocking contact with the victim for seven days. There is a second hearing after seven days where both parties come back to the court and the Court hears the matter in detail to determine whether the restraining order should be issued for one to five years. The civil restraining order process provides extra protection where the situation may not rise to the level of a criminal charge that the prosecuting attorney will prosecute.
There are occasional instances where some people use the civil protection order process for leverage in divorce cases. A person may file, more for purposes of negotiating leverage than the basis of genuine fear of the other person, and the labeled aggressor either does not hire counsel to represent them at the initial hearing or they do not realize the long term impact that a civil protection order can have on their life. Therefore, they sign off on it or they don’t show up for the hearing. There are also situations where the civil protection order can be modified or lifted, if the filing party is disregarding the order, resuming contact or spending time with the aggressor. If it can be shown that the aggrieved party, the person that got the civil protection order is contacting the party, spending time with the person the order is against, it may be possible to get the civil protective lifted or modified based on the fact that the person that received it, perhaps does not actually need the protection.