Let me begin with saying that I am not advocating that you abuse an order of protection. Rather, I’m going to point out how orders of protection are abused in family court.

Why would someone want to abuse an order of protection?

There are two common reasons people would abuse an order of protection. First, someone wants a person they live with to move out. For example, a husband and wife are going through a divorce but still live in the same household. Then one spouse decides they just can’t live with the other spouse any longer, so they go to court, make some false allegations, get an order of protection that excludes the other spouse from the marital residence, and PRESTO!, the other spouse is moved out against their will.

The other common reason is simple: the person obtaining the order just doesn’t like the other person, and obtains the order to vex them. It usually goes something like this: Person A and Person B have been dating for awhile, and Person A gets mad at Person B. Instead of just not talking to Person B, Person A goes to court, makes some false allegations, and gets an order of protection prohibiting Person B from talking to Person a. Then Person A continues to initiate communication with Person B in an effort to bait Person B into violating the order of protection. Then Person B mistakenly believing they can now communicate with Person A because Person A initiated the communication, does in fact respond to Person A’s communications. Person A then calls the police, and Person B is charged criminally with violating the order of protection. Person A then takes satisfaction in knowing they have caused Person B much grief.

But the allegations were false, can’t I just challenge the order of protection?

You may not always want to challenge an order of protection, depending on your circumstances. This is what makes orders of protection obtained through false allegations so frustrating – they were obtained through lies, but challenging them might pose an intolerable risk. For example, if you challenge an order of protection and lose, you may be labeled a prohibited possessor, meaning you cannot possess firearms. Besides, if someone is going to lie to get an order of protection against you, why would you ever want to speak with them again anyway?

How do I avoid someone using lies to get an order of protection against me?

If you think someone is crazy and malicious enough to lie to get an order of protection against you, avoid them if possible. Sometimes people surprise you and do unexpected things. If you are in a situation like a divorce or a breakup, and things are contentious, avoid being alone with your soon-to-be ex. If you must be alone for some reason, record the interaction. If you are in a high-conflict divorce and your spouse wants you to move out, get a temporary order from the court that gives you exclusive use and possession of the marital residence.

If someone does get an order of protection against you, you would be well advised to consult with an attorney to learn about your rights, the feasibility of challenging the order, and the possible risks.