How to Fight an Order of Protection

By Joseph E. Cordell, J.D., C.P.A, LL.M

Principal Partner, Cordell & Cordell

Last week I outlined what you need to know about orders of protection, which are unfortunately common in family law cases and are often used for strategic reasons.

In this article, I’ll give you seven tips on how you can fight an order of protection.

Tips for fighting a protective order:

  • Get the documents. In order to be prepared to fight the order you need to know exactly what is being said about you. These documents are public record and are available at the court house.
  • Know the law in your state. Know the timelines for contesting these orders, and take action immediately when you are informed that there may be an order against you.
  • Do not violate the order. Even if you believe the temporary order was wrongfully entered, it is still an order from the court and violation of it could result in criminal charges and jail time. Violation of an order will also send a message to the judge that the order is needed, because you cannot even behave with it in place.
  • Look for impossibilities and get objective proof. Take a good hard look at what is being said about you and gather any proof you can that it did not occur or that it could not have occurred. If you are accused of doing something while you were at work, obtain your timecard to show the judge that you could not have possibly done it. If the petitioner is alleging that you are harassing her on the phone, get your phone records to show that you have not called her.
  • Put on your game face. When you walk into court, all the judge knows is what the other party has written in their petition. Go to court dressed nicely, be respectful, and be calm the entire time you are there. First impressions with the judge matter and will help you during the hearing.
  • Testify. If you get the chance to testify, take it. Spend your time explaining your relationship with the petitioner and what actually occurred during the times she alleges you were harming or threatening to harm her. Do not throw mud! Judges are not more sympathetic toward you if you show how crazy she is. Stick to objective facts and steer clear of making her personality an issue.
  • Hire an attorney. You have the right to have legal representation if a protective order is entered against you. It is important to have someone advocate for your rights and to hold the other party to their burden of proof. Cordell & Cordell has men’s divorce lawyers located throughout the country.
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3 comments on “How to Fight an Order of Protection

    Don’t Violate the Order – Top of the List
    Although it’s hard to rank your suggestions, this is probably Number One.

    That, and not being out of control enough to be remotely worth the issuance of a TOP in the first place (although we know that sometimes a TOP will be issued anyway, per your previous post).

    Look at the damage Mel Gibson did to himself with those phone calls. Doesn’t matter if they were doctored or not. The time, effort and money he’s had to invest in contesting those tapes, and the potential harm to his case (no matter how terrific Steve Kolodny is – and he’s a great lawyer).

    I assume you’ll be posting about effective methods to combat TOP’s offensively (versus defensively).

    What about women who are served? What about the disabled? What if the accused cannot afford to fight the Order?
    Where are the legal advocates when you need them? In my case i was not aware that i needed a lawyer, so i lost and my exfiance won. What about any lies and exaggerations against the person? What if the judge takes the other persons side and doesn’t listen to the accused? This article doesn’t touch all topics. Sorry for seeming angry, but i still feel the sting of being psychologically and emosionally traumatized by a serious breakup and an Order of Protection that was used to just shut me up and treat me like rubbish despite how good i treated my exfiance! If i could afford a lawyer, i’d have sued my exlover last year! I could have even gotten him into legal trouble, because i know things about him that i should have told the FBI/police or whatever and i do not know what to say and do and who to go to. I don’t want to get him into trouble, but i am just such a wreck that i wish i could somehow warn the sob without making things worse and legally my hands are tied. I don’t know what to do! Help!

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