What are my remedies if my spouse or significant other violates a stay away order of protection obtained in a family court?
Generally, once you have obtained a stay away order of protection, your spouse/significant other is no longer allowed to call you, email you, fax you, come to your work place, home or anywhere you may be, even if by coincidence.
If the order of protection is violated, you have three options:
- Call the police immediately and advise them that you have a stay away order of protection and it has been violated. New York State has very strict rules regarding stay away orders of protection. If the order of protection is violated and you call the violation in with the police, they have no choice but to arrest your spouse/significant other. They do not have discretion to decide whether or not to make the arrest. I have had more than one police officer tell me that his “hands are tied” and he/she has no choice but to make an arrest and ultimately let the Judge sort things out. So if you have a stay away order of protection and it has been violated, call the police immediately. If they refuse to act upon it, you should consider contacting Internal Affairs or even the Attorney General’s Office and advise them that the police are refusing to enforce the order of protection.
- File a violation petition with the family court. You can find the violation petition form on the Unified Court System website under family court forms. It is very easy to fill out. The perpetrator will not be arrested but will face incarceration if found guilty by the family court judge after a hearing is held.
- Do nothing. This is obviously not advisable for several reasons. First of all, you do not want to empower the person who you received protection against by failing to call in a violation. Who know what they will do next or what they are capable of. Protect yourself at all times. Better safe than sorry.