How Do I Get a Order of Protection in New York City? The Process

How to Get an Order of Protection in New York City: The Step-by-Step Process

Dealing with domestic violence, stalking, or harassment can be scary and overwhelming. Getting an order of protection in New York City can help provide legal protection and peace of mind.

What is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a civil court order that helps protect victims of domestic violence and harassment from further abuse or threats (1). It can:

  • Order the abuser to stop the harassment or abuse
  • Prevent the abuser from contacting or communicating with you
  • Require the abuser to stay away from your home, workplace, or school

Orders of protection provide legal consequences if the abuser violates the order. This can include arrest, additional criminal charges, and fines or jail time.

Types of Orders of Protection in NYC

There are several types of orders of protection in New York City (2):

  • Temporary Order of Protection: Provides immediate short-term protection, usually for up to 2 weeks. Can be issued without notifying the abuser.
  • Final Order of Protection: Provides longer-term protection, typically for up to 1 year. The abuser must be notified and has a chance to respond in court.
  • Stay Away Order: Requires the abuser to stay away from you, your home, workplace or school. May be issued along with other protection orders.

The type of order needed depends on the situation. A lawyer can advise which option is best.

Who Can File for an Order of Protection in New York City

The following people can file for an order of protection in NYC (3):

  • Someone who experienced domestic violence committed by a spouse, former spouse, someone they have a child with, or an intimate partner
  • Victims of stalking, harassment, menacing, or disorderly conduct
  • Victims of sexual assault or abuse
  • Family or household members of the victim

Minors under 18 can also file for protection orders in Family Court.

Where to File for an Order of Protection in NYC

There are several courts where you can file for an order of protection in New York City (4):

Criminal Court

If there’s an existing criminal case related to the abuse, you can request an order of protection during the case from the criminal court judge. This is common for cases like assault, stalking or harassment.

Family Court

Family court handles domestic violence cases involving spouses, former spouses, intimate partners, and other family members. Family court can also issue orders related to child custody or visitation rights.

Civil Court

You can file a civil lawsuit and request an order of protection from a civil court judge. This allows victims without an existing criminal case to still get a protection order.

Getting advice from an attorney can help determine the best court for your situation.

Gathering Evidence to Support the Order

It’s important to gather evidence to prove that abuse occurred when applying for an order of protection (5). Useful evidence can include:

  • Medical records: Doctor or hospital reports documenting injuries from abuse
  • Police reports: From prior complaints or arrests related to the abuse
  • Text messages and emails: Containing threats, insults or evidence of stalking
  • Photos: Of injuries, damage to property, or evidence of stalking
  • Videos: Such as security camera footage showing violence
  • Witness statements: From people who observed the harassment or abuse

Presenting this evidence to a judge can help prove the need for a protection order. Having an attorney assist with gathering and presenting evidence is highly recommended.

How to Apply for an Order of Protection in New York City

Follow these key steps when applying for an order of protection in NYC:

1. Find the Right Court

Determine which court – criminal, family or civil – is best suited to issue the protection order. Getting legal advice can be very helpful here.

2. Complete the Forms

Fill out the required forms, such as the Family Court Family Offense Petition or the Temporary Order of Protection Request (6). Forms are available at the court clerk’s office or often online.

3. File the Petition

File the completed forms with the court clerk to officially request an order. Filing fees may apply unless you qualify for a fee waiver.

4. Attend the Hearing

The judge reviews the petition and evidence at a hearing. You’ll need to describe the harassment, abuse or threats you experienced. It’s recommended to have an attorney attend to represent you.

5. Get the Signed Order

If approved, the judge signs the protection order. Get several certified copies from the clerk – you’ll need to serve one to the abuser.

Serving the Signed Order of Protection

After the order is approved and signed, an adult who isn’t involved in the case will need to officially deliver (“serve”) a copy to the abuser (7). This can be done by:

  • A law enforcement officer
  • A hired process server
  • Another adult, as long as they don’t get injured or harassed.

Whoever serves the order must fill out an “Affidavit of Service” form to prove it was delivered.

After Getting the Order of Protection

Even after getting an order of protection, additional precautions should be taken:

  • Call 911 if the abuser violates the order or threatens you
  • Consider filing contempt charges if the abuser knowingly violates the protection order
  • Inform family, friends, neighbors to call police if the abuser is spotted near your home or workplace
  • Give copies of the order to employers, schools, childcare centers
  • Carry a copy at all times. Police can enforce the order anywhere in the state.

Getting an order of protection provides important legal protection. However, it may still be necessary to take extra safety precautions while the order is active.

We hope this guide gives you a better understanding of how to get an order of protection in NYC. Please reach out if you need assistance getting protection from domestic violence or harassment.

Resources

Overview of Orders of Protection in New York State – https://www.nycourts.gov/faq/orderofprotection.shtml

Types of Orders of Protection in New York – https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/services/victim-services/resources-domestic-violence-orders-protection.page

Who Can File for Protection Orders – https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nypd/services/victim-services/domestic-violence-get-help.page

Filing for Orders of Protection in New York Courts – https://www.womenslaw.org/laws/ny/restraining-orders/orders-protection-and-other-civil-orders/basic-info/how-do-i-get-order

Gathering Evidence for Court Order – https://www.womenslaw.org/laws/ny/restraining-orders/orders-protection-and-other-civil-orders/basic-info/preparing-court

Forms for Orders of Protection – https://www.nycourts.gov/forms/familycourt/index.shtml

Serving Orders of Protection – https://www.womenslaw.org/laws/ny/restraining-orders/orders-protection-and-other-civil-orders/basic-info/how-do-i-serve-order