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Obtaining a Protective Order in Mississippi

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No one deserves to be in a relationship that becomes threatening or violent. If you feel unsafe in your home and want the comfort of knowing that you can legally bar a spouse or former partner from your home, obtaining a protective order may be a good idea. An experienced family law attorney can walk you through this process and handle the paperwork and hearings required to ensure that dangerous people cannot hurt you or your family. Read on to understand the process for obtaining a protective order in the state of Mississippi.

When Can You Get a Protective Order?

Temporary protective orders are available against spouses, former spouses, a partner with whom you live or share a child, relatives with whom you lived, or someone you’re dating. Protective orders are designed to protect you from “abuse” as defined by Mississippi law, which includes attempting to cause or causing bodily injury, threatening someone with imminent serious bodily injury, sexual assault against a minor, stalking, statutory rape, sexual battery, cyberstalking, or rape by force or drugging.

How Do You Obtain a Protective Order?

You can obtain a protective order by going to the municipal court in your town and completing the required paperwork with the court clerk. The court will notify you of when to appear for a hearing, and if you note that you require the protective order on an emergency basis, the court will hear your petition as early as possible. The judge will ask that you present any available evidence of the violence, threatened injury, abuse, or stalking you have experienced that has prompted you to request the protective order.

The abuser will not be present in court for the initial hearing. If the judge is satisfied, he or she will issue a temporary protective order that will last ten days, but which can be extended upon request, up to the maximum length of one year, but can only last 30 days where the victim has minor children with the abuser. The alleged abuser will be served with a copy of the temporary protective order, and as soon as service has been carried out, the order will become effective.

In order for the temporary order to become final, the judge will need to hold a hearing that allows both you and the accused abuser to tell your sides of the story. You will need to testify in court about why you believe the protective order should be made final, and the abuser will also be able to testify and argue why the order should be lifted. Having an attorney for this stage can relieve some of the pressure of arguing in court, by allowing a legal professional to handle the paperwork and formation of arguments, and to lift the burden off you. In granting the final order, the judge will have discretion regarding how long the order should last.

What Can a Protective Order Do?

A protective order will first and foremost make it illegal for the abuser to have any contact with you and, if included in the order, your children. The order can keep the abuser away from your workplace and home, and away from any school or daycare for your children. You can request under a protective order that the police accompany you to retrieve any personal belongings from a home you shared with the abuser. The judge can order that the abuser pay spousal support and/or child support, and can order that the abuser pay for any medical care you require as a result of the abuse.

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If you have been the victim of domestic abuse in the Ridgeland, Mississippi area or Madison County, contact the compassionate and knowledgeable family law attorneys at Hancock Law Firm for a consultation, at (601) 853-2223.

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