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Are You Abused by Your Spouse?

You need the best Maryland family law attorney on your side.

Peace and protective orders are designed to provide relief against various forms of malicious and abusive behavior inflicted by others. The difference between them is dependent on who is eligible. Protective orders are for domestic violence cases and those that are eligible are: current and former spouses, cohabitants for 90 days, a person related to the respondent by blood, marriage or adoption, a parent, stepparent or stepchild, vulnerable adults or a person who has a child with the respondent. A couple examples of relationships that may qualify for a peace order are: a boyfriend/girlfriend who you do not have a child in common with, a neighbor, a coworker, an acquaintance or a stranger.

The following are what counts as abuse:

  • an act that causes serious bodily harm such as kicking, choking, shoving, etc;
  • an act that places a person in fear of imminent serious bodily harm;
  • assault; rape or sexual assault;
  • false imprisonment;
  • mental injury to a minor child or stalking.

If you are a victim of such heinous acts, you may apply for a peace or protective order at the district court, where a judge or a court commissioner will enter a temporary order if there are reasonable grounds for the protective or peace order.

At the most basic level, these orders requires the respondent (the person against whom the order is sought) to do three things:

  • refrain from harming or threatening to harm the petitioner;
  • refrain from contacting the petitioner by any means whether it’s face to face, phone calls or messages; and
  • stay away from places the petitioner frequents such as a home or place of work.

There are three types of peace orders. The first is an interim peace order which goes into effect once the respondent is served by a law enforcement officer and lasts until a judge holds a temporary peace order hearing. A temporary peace order is in effect until a final peace order is issued.

If you find yourself a victim of abuse, consult an experienced Maryland Family Law attorney who understands the difference between orders and can help you settle the dispute correctly.