In Arizona, splitting couples or spouses will often allege damning and alarming domestic violence allegations in a formal written petition to the Court seeking issuance of an “order of protection” (“OOP”).
When sought by alleged victims of domestic violence or harassment, orders of projection (or injunctions against harassment) the Court will frequently issue an order of protection on 75% or more of the applications seeking an order of protection.
OOPs are therefore relatively simple to obtain, but they are far more challenging to have them dismissed and quashed by those who have been accused of wrongdoing.
Persons seeking orders of protection must appear in person at the courthouse nearest their primary residence and provide sworn statements, in writing, and present live testimony under oath to the assigned judicial officer detailing their alleged harm to their body, or to their lives. If the judge believes that it’s more likely than not (51%), that domestic violence has occurred within the past 12 months, or that domestic violence or ongoing harassment is likely to recur in the next year, the Court can issue an order of protection.
The order typically prohibits the alleged perpetrator from coming within 1,000 linear feet of the ‘victim’s person’, the victim’s residence, workplace, and sometimes includes the victim’s kids as well.
If you have been served with an OOP, you are immediately prohibited from communicating with, or even being in the same home, as the alleged victim who got the orders against you. You do have a constitutional right, however, to immediately challenge the OOP and demand a live evidentiary hearing in the Court that originally issued the orders against you.
The Court is typically required to convene a live evidentiary hearing within 5 to 10 business days upon your filing of a “Request for Hearing”. You may hire and bring legal counsel and third party fact witnesses with you to the OOP hearing.
The victim, can likewise appear in court that day with their own separate legal counsel and fact witnesses who may or may not be permitted to present live, sworn testimony. Most OOP hearings are one hour or less in duration.
At that point, the OOP is either quashed and terminated, or is sustained and upheld. If upheld, most OOP’s are valid for one full year. OOPs can sometimes be ‘renewed’ in the final and 12th month by the victim if circumstances warrant. An Arizona OOP is valid in all 50 states under the full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Sadly, many spouses game the OOP system as a way to juice their custody strategy in a pending divorce. If an OOP is sustained while you have a divorce pending, it can wreak havoc on obtaining custody of your children in the underlying divorce.
Regretfully, many litigants fabricate or puff their factual allegations of domestic violence at the hands of their spouse—when in fact—no such violence ever occurred. In those situations, the party on the receiving end of an OOP can see things spiral out of control in the pending dissolution case quickly. Once an OOP is issued, and assuming a divorce is pending, the divorce court will typically merge and consolidate the OOP into the pending superior court divorce case so that they are handled by one unified court and one family law judge.
If and when granted by the Court, a romantic partner or spouse can find themselves locked out of their primary residence, locked off from their own children, and their partner’s place of employment—literally overnight.
These are serious court orders which require swift and immediate legal action by the person served with an Order of Protection. This is not the time to ‘wing it’ or ‘just let it expire in a year’— these orders can have significant impact on your online profile, your credit score, your ability to maintain sensitive employment (e.g. government clearances) or licenses (e.g. state bar, medical boards, etc).
Contact a seasoned and experienced Order of Protection attorney the instant you are hand served a copy of the orders issued against you. You absolutely must evaluate your legal options, particularly if you are in the middle of a divorce or custody battle.
Contact Our Order of Protection Lawyers in Scottsdale
If you are dealing with a restraining order or are thinking of filing for one, contact Canterbury Law Group today. Our dedicated order of protection lawyers in Scottsdale will ensure thorough preparation for your restraining order hearing, or defense from same, and help you navigate the tricky legal issues that inevitably arise.