Contest Orders for Protection (OFP's) - Civil Cases

Orders for Protection (ODF’s) are civil proceedings brought by one person against another alleging some type of abusive conduct and asking the court to order the party against whom the OFP is being brought to stay away from the person’s workplace, home, etc, and not to call or send emails or have other types of contact with the person.

The person seeking the OFP and the respondent must be or must have been members of the same family or household or be persons either currently, or in the past, are or were involved in a significant romantic or Sexual relationship, or have a child or a pregnancy together, or be related by blood or be spouses or former spouses. The parties involved DO NOT need to have ever lived together.

The party against whom the OFP is brought can decide to contest the allegations at a hearing in which a judge will issue findings either for or against the OFP, or he or she can agree to allow the OFP to remain in effect without any finding of abuse being issued. The standard of required proof is a preponderance of the evidence which is substantially lower than the standard in a criminal case. OFP orders are initially issued on a temporary, ex-parte basis pending a hearing in front of a judge on the allegations. A lawyer should be consulted immediately so that party against whom the ODP is filed can choose the best course of action for him or her. OFP’s can remain in effect for up to 2 years and can be renewed after that.

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