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What a protective order does for you and how to get one

When you married, you probably trusted that your spouse would cherish you, take care of you and keep you free from harm. Unfortunately, at some point along the way, your spouse betrayed that trust and began harming you physically. Now, you look to Louisiana's legal system to protect you by seeking a protective order, but have questions about how to obtain one and how it works for you.

When you seek a protective order from the court, the first order issued will be a temporary restraining order. If granted, the court issues a Uniform Abuse Prevention Order right away, which is sent to the court clerk to be filed and forwarded to the Louisiana Protective Order Registry. The order is also served upon your spouse. The next step involves attending a hearing to determine whether the temporary order should be extended up to 18 months.

Both temporary and long-term protective orders require your spouse to stop threatening and harming you (and other members of your family, including children and pets). Your spouse may be prohibited from coming within a certain distance of your school, home or employment. He or she may also be ordered not to interfere with the children, do anything to your property and even vacate the family residence. If your spouse took some of your property, the court can direct that it be returned.

When the parties share children, a long-term protective order may also include provisions for temporary custody and visitation. It may also set amounts for child support and spousal support -- temporarily. Your spouse may also be ordered to attend medical evaluations and counseling, depending on the circumstances. The court may also order your spouse to pay court fees and costs.

It may seem simple to obtain a protective order from the above, but in fact, you must provide the court with sufficient evidence that you need one. In order to increase the probability that you receive the help and safety you need, consider consulting with an attorney. A family law attorney is familiar with what the court in your area requires in order to obtain such an order.

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