Protection orders are unfortunately common in family law cases and are often used for strategic reasons.
The misuse of a protection order when going through a divorce is one of the more prevalent and unfortunate trends in family law. A system that was designed to protect against abuse is itself being abused.
The terminology of orders of protection varies by state (they can be called protection from abuse orders, domestic violence injunctions, etc.), but they are better known as tactical nuclear weapons.
When going through a divorce, particularly when children are involved and custody and visitation are in dispute, parties can become frustrated with the court process and the time and expense involved.
Unfortunately, this leads some people to resort to using orders of protection as an expedited means of obtaining custody of the children or exclusive possession of the marital home while their divorce case is pending.
Abuse of Protection Orders
Protection orders are often entered on an “emergency” basis without notice to the defending party and then set for a full hearing date several weeks out. Courts will do this in order to maintain the status quo until proper notice can be given to the now restrained party and a hearing can be held.
All one party needs to do is tell a judge, under oath, facts sufficient to show that they, or their children, have been harmed or will be harmed if the protection order is not put in place.
With a small statement, the accused can be forced to stay out of the home, barred from parenting time, and prevented from any contact with his children, including through phone and email. In an instant, his house and kids can be taken away from him.
In effect, the order becomes a de facto sole child custody order.
Even if the allegations of abuse are found to be false and the protective order is dismissed at the full hearing, these men are still victimized by the stigma that they are abusers.
Having an order of protection entered against you may affect your criminal history record and many times a protection order is visible on background checks for employment.
So the unnecessary or false orders entered result in persistent damage to the innocent dad’s reputation, career prospects, financial status, and his standing in the eyes of his children.
Of course, orders of protection have their place when protecting someone against abuse; no individual, man or woman, should be subjected to this in a relationship. However, this protection is abused and mostly to the benefit of the accuser.