Protective order hearings are not only an opportunity to seek protection from your abuser, but also an important time to ask for the economic sustenance you and your children need during this crisis and beyond.
Every state has different laws pertaining to protective orders; check your state law through WomensLaw.org to learn about the relief options for abuse victims in your state.
Depending on your state law, during protective order hearings you may be able to ask the judge to have your abuser:
- vacate the residence
- pay the rent (including first and last month’s if you need to move because of the abuse)
- pay the mortgage/utilities for a period of time, even if the abuser is court-ordered to vacate the residence
- pay child support
- pay school tuition
- pay family maintenance or other economic support, including money for food, clothes and other necessities
- pay medical insurance for you and/or your children
- pay medical costs, compensatory damages and punitive damages for physical and/or psychological injuries sustained during the violence
- pay for property damage caused by the abuser
- give you temporary use of the vehicle
- give you temporary use of personal property
- address liens, debts due and other economic burdens
You will need to give the judge a detailed explanation as to why you need these economic remedies; judges do not always assume or understand why a victim needs economic help. It is also vital to ask that this economic relief continue as long as possible. This may be your one opportunity to advocate for yourself and your children’s economic security, so speak up!
Learn more about going to court.
In many states, you can also file for a modification of your protective order if there is a material change in circumstances. If, for example, you lost your job due to your abuser’s continued harassment at your workplace, you could possibly ask that he pay more than 50% of the rent that he was originally ordered to pay.
If the abuser does not comply with an economic remedy or other provision of the protective order you may (depending on your state law) be able to file civil or criminal contempt charges and/or criminal charges.
It is recommended that you contact a family law attorney with domestic violence expertise for help securing your economic needs. A domestic violence program in your area may also offer some guidance on the matter.
Learn more about protective orders.
The Following articles provide more information about ecomomic remedies and protective orders:
Ecomonic Relief by State
Economic Rights in Protective Order Proceedings
Protection Orders as a Tool for Economic Justice
Information contained on this website should not be construed as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.