An order of protection is a ruling issued by a judge designed to protect someone who has been, or could be a victim of violence. They are frequently used in domestic violence cases, and they require that a defendant remain a certain distance away from the plaintiff. There are numerous reasons why you might want to withdraw an order of protection, including the best interests of your children or a belief that you are no longer in danger. The decision to withdraw the order however, should not be taken lightly because orders of protection can be vital tools to protect people from violence.
Consult with a family law attorney. State laws vary regarding orders of protection and the procedure for withdrawing one can be too complex for a layperson. Moreover, if you are involved in a dispute with someone who has threatened you, having an attorney to defend your interests is vital. Your state bar association can direct you to a qualified family law attorney.
Ask your attorney to file a motion to withdraw the order of protection. Though the motion is not an absolute necessity to withdraw the order, it allows your attorney to itemize the reasons the order is being withdrawn. This can protect you, if you need to re-file for an order of protection at some later point, or if the defendant tries to sue you for filing a protective order.
Explain to the judge why you wish to withdraw the order of protection. If you are in family court, you can do this in lieu of filing a motion to withdraw. Simply stating, for example, that you believe withdrawing the order is in the best interests of your children is usually sufficient. The judge may ask you for evidence that you are no longer in danger; because there have been cases of people being harmed after withdrawing orders of protection.
- In very rare cases, the defendant may be able to sue you for attorney's fees associated with defending himself, if you withdraw an order of protection. Talk to your attorney to determine if this is possible in your situation.
- You should never withdraw an order of protection out of fear or pity, because orders of protection can be life-saving devices.
- Many states have organizations offering free legal help to battered women and divorcing families. See Resource 2 to find a free or low cost attorney.
- Women's Law: Orders of Protection
- "Civil Protection Orders"; Peter Finn; 1990
- "Family Law"; Robert E. Oliphant; 2007
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