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Common Questions About Protective Orders In Maryland

What is a Protective Order?

By Maryland statute, a Protective Order is a court order that says one person must refrain from doing certain acts against another person. While not legally accurate, many people commonly refer to a Protective Order as a Retaining Order or Ex-Parte.

Who can obtain a Protective Order in Maryland?

In order for the Court to grant you a Protective Order, you must testify before a Judge that you have a certain type of relationship with the person you want to be protected from.

The following relationships qualify for a Protective Order in the State of Maryland:

  • are married, divorced, or currently separated;
  • are related by marriage, blood or adoption (this includes stepparents and stepchildren if they have lived with you for at least 90 days in the past year);
  • have lived together in a sexual relationship for at least 90 days in the past year;
  • are the parents of a child together;
  • have had a sexual relationship with each other in the past year;
  • are a vulnerable adult;
  • were raped or sexually assaulted by the other person (including attempts) in the past six months.

Where do I file for a Protective Order in Maryland?

If you need to file for a Protective Order, visit the clerk’s office of your local District or Circuit Court, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  If the District or Circuit Court is closed you may file for a Protective Order with your local District Court Commissioner. They are generally available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. You can locate your nearest District Court Commission on the Maryland Court’s website here: https://www.courts.state.md.us/district/directories/commissionermap  This site also has links to the Petition For Protective form that the Court will require you to fill out.

Why should I file for a Protective Order?

 If you have been abused by being placed in fear of serious imminent bodily harm (threats of bodily harm that you have taken seriously), been subject to an act that causes serious bodily harm (punching, hitting, kicking, choking, stabbed, shot, etc.), assaulted, attempted rape or sexual assault,  raped or sexually assaulted, falsely imprisoned, stalked (criminal standard), subjected to revenge porn or your child has been subjected to mental injury, the Maryland Courts have a process to help protect you from further abuse. If you are being victimized by someone you have an intimate or familial relationship with, you should file a Petition for Protection from Abuse (the document you will fill out to try to obtain a Protective Order).  It is important to note a Protective Order MAY NOT be obtained based on harassment. If you are being harassed you may qualify for a Peace Order, but not a Protective Order.

What do I need to prove to obtain a Final Protective Order in Maryland?

In order for the Court to grant you a Protective Order, you will need to prove two things to a Judge. First, you will need to prove that you and the person you want to be protected from have a qualifying relationship, meaning that you are eligible to receive assistance (also called “relief”) from the Court. Second, you will need to prove that the person committed harmful acts  and abuse against you.  You must prove these two things to the Judge by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that it is more likely than not that you are a person eligible for assistance and that the person committed harmful acts/abuse against you.

What can the Court grant in a Maryland Protective Order?

When you file your Petition for Protection, if a Judge finds that you are a person eligible for relief, you will be granted a Temporary Protective Order. This Temporary Protective Order is meant to provide you immediate relief until the Final Protective Order hearing where both you and the other person will have the opportunity to testify and provide evidence to the Judge. The Temporary Protective Order generally lasts for one week and the Final Protective Order can last for up to one year.

 When a Temporary Protective Order is granted, the Court can order:

  • the other person to stop abusing, threatening, or harassing you;
  • the other person to have no contact with you;
  • the other person to stay away from your home, work, child care, or school;
  • the other person to leave your home (if you are married OR if your name is on the lease or deed);
  • if applicable, address temporary child custody, possession of a pet, safeguards at child-care providers, and possession of firearms.

When a Final Protective Order is granted, the Court can order:

  • the other person to stop abusing, threatening, or harassing you;
  • the other person to have no contact with you;
  • the other person to stay away from your home, work, or school;
  • the other person to leave your home and award use and possession of the home (if you are married OR if your name is on the lease or deed);
  • if applicable, surrender of possession of a pet and possession of firearms;
  • if applicable, use and possession of a jointly owned vehicle (your name must be on the title);
  • if applicable, counseling for domestic violence or substance abuse;
  • if applicable, custody of children in common and a temporary child access or visitation schedule;
  • if applicable, emergency family maintenance or financial support; and
  • any other relief that a judge determines may be necessary to protect you from abuse.

If you or someone you know is in need of a Protective Order, we encourage you to speak to an experienced family attorney at Silverman Thompson who can help you decide the right choice that is specific to your circumstance. For more information, contact Monica Scherer, Esq. at 410-625-4740. 

 

Monica L. Scherer, Esq. 

mscherer@silvermanthompson.com 

(410) 385-2225 

  

Joseph S. Stephan, Esq. 

jstephan@silvermanthompson.com 

(410) 385-2225 

  

Erin D. Brooks, Esq. 

ebrooks@silvermanthompson.com 

(410) 385-2225 

 

Disclaimer: This blog is informative in nature. The information contained herein is not to be considered legal advice and there is no attorney-client relationship formed between Silverman Thompson and the reader. 

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