A Oklahoma City protective order and protective order elsewhere in Oklahoma is defined and governed by the “Protection from Domestic Abuse Act.”
A protective order is a court order intended to protect victims of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking by banning contact between the claimant and the defendant. Once a protective order is issued and the defendant is served with the protective order, the defendant may not have contact with the person protected by the order until the protective order is lifted.
During regular courthouse hours, a victim of domestic violence, stalking or harassment may fill out a protective order petition at the office of the county court clerk. When the courthouse is closed, a victim may be able to obtain a temporary protective order from a law enforcement agency, such as the county sheriff, that lasts temporarily until the courthouse reopens.
In addition to prohibiting contact with a specific person, a protective order can affect virtually every area of one’s life.
Although the law specifically states that a protective order is not an appropriate tool to determine the issues of parental rights and property division, a protective order may temporarily impact those rights. For example, a protective order can require you to leave your home, and it can prohibit you from seeing your children for a period of time.
Additionally, federal law prohibits anyone subject to a protective order from possessing or transporting firearms and ammunition. Violation of any part of a protective order can result in criminal charges being filed against you.
Furthermore, simply being the subject of an Oklahoma City protective order can cause you to lose your job and your professional license in certain circumstances.
Oklahoma custody law provides that if one parent proves “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the other parent has engaged in domestic abuse, stalking, or harassing behavior, there is a legal presumption that the parent engaging in such conduct should not have custody of, or even unsupervised visitation with, a minor child.
Since Oklahoma City protective orders and elsewhere concern dangerous behavior, a victim protective order (VPO) entered against you may cause you to lose custody of your children, or result in a requirement for you to have a supervisor present when seeing your child.
Protective orders are initially heard on an “ex parte” basis, which means the defendant (the person who is accused of abuse, stalking, or harassment) has no opportunity to be heard or to challenge the protective order when it is first filed.
When the protective order is initially granted, a court hearing date is set by the judge and the protective order petition, order, and notice of the hearing is sent for service upon the defendant. Generally, a trial will be held at that set date and time to determine if a protective order is necessary.
A protective order involves very serious allegations that can permanently impact the lives of each party and the lives of their children. A protective order hearing can involve testimony and evidence that impacts future child custody decisions and criminal proceedings.
If you are seeking the protection of a court order, or if you have been served with a notice that someone is asking for a protective order against you, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Each Oklahoma family law attorney at Ball Morse Lowe, PLLC has extensive experience dealing with protective order cases.
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