Can an Order of Protection Keep me from Seeing my Child?

Order of Protection – Easy to Get. Attorneys often joke, “Down at the courthouse, they give out orders of protection like its candy.”

The joke is not true, but it’s close. When domestic violence (DV) is charged, it’s easy to get an order of protection (OOP). That’s because judges want to keep kids safe and to keep angry people away from each other.

Access To My Child

If your child is a “protected person” on the OOP, you can’t see the child. Such an OOP can:
1. Bar your access to your child and/or
2. Override any prior parenting time order.

Removing the Prohibition. Only a judge can remove the restriction. It requires a hearing. Warning: You are entitled to only one hearing to challenge the OOP.

How is prohibition removed? Two ways:

1. At the hearing, the judge can dismiss the OOP; or
2. At the hearing, the judge can remove the child from the order.

The question: Can an Order of Protection keep me from seeing my child?
Answer: Yes! And, even though OOPs are easy to get, they are hard to beat. Why? It’s safer for the judge. The judge wants to keep the peace. The judge wants to protect the kids. So, the easiest thing is to keep the OOP in place.

Can an Order of Protection Keep me From Getting Custody?

Legal Decision-making (Custody). Who gets custody of your child when you separate or divorce? If the adults can’t agree, a Superior Court Judge decides custody.

How the Judge Decides. The judge looks at various factors. Most factors are fairly even. But, if the judge finds evidence of DV, the judge must consider it.

Link to OOP. If there is an OOP, the family judge must consider it as evidence of DV. This is because every OOP has a finding that “an act of domestic violence has occurred or may occur.”

Significant DV or Significant History of DV. Secondly, if the judge finds there was significant DV or a significant history of DV, it is presumed that you should not get sole or joint custody. In other words, the other parent is favored for custody.

The 2nd question: Can an OOP Keep me From Getting Custody?
Answer: Yes! An OOP can tip the custody scale against you. If an OOP is issued against you, you are in a mine field.