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Protecting your children from domestic violence

In domestic violence situations, your partner may make you feel you can do nothing to protect your children. In fact, abusers often use threats against children to control their partners. They may threaten to keep your children from you or refuse to hand them off following a visitation.

If you fear for your or your children’s safety at the hands of a current or ex-spouse, you can ask for a protective order to keep you and your children safe.

When can you obtain a protective order?

If your partner has a history of documented domestic violence or physically or verbally threatens you or your children, you may be eligible to apply for a protective order. You can apply for a PO on behalf of yourself or your children against a person who threatens, stalks or abuses you or your children. The protective order instructs the perpetrator on what he or she cannot do.

You can apply for a PO within the county you reside. While you can apply for it yourself, the Department of Human and Regulatory Services, a prosecuting attorney and an adult family member can apply for you. You can also apply on behalf of your kids.

How does a protective order affect your children?

A protective order will instruct your partner on how he or she can pursue a relationship with your children. The PO can completely restrict all contact or may permit him or her to see the kids under supervised visitation. If the person arrives at your children’s daycare or school, he or she may be subject to arrest.

Keep in mind that a protective order does not affect child support obligations. The parent must continue his or her duties, despite the PO.