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How do protective orders and peace orders differ?

No one should feel unsafe because of the actions of another. If you are being abused, harassed, stalked, threatened or otherwise harmed, there are legal actions you can take to make this behavior stop. Two possible actions include filing a protective order and filing a peace order.

The two types of orders are similar to each other, so people sometimes get confused about what the difference is between them and when they should file for one over the other. However, by having a better understanding of the similarities and differences of these orders, you can better select the option that is right for your situation.

Your relationship affects your options

The main difference between the two orders involves the situations of those who file for the orders. To file for a protective order, you and your abuser must have one of several specific types of relationship. However, if none of these situations apply to you, you can still seek help by filing a peace order.

To apply for a protective order, you and your abuser must:

  • Be currently married
  • Be formerly married
  • Have lived together in an intimate relationship for at least 90 days this past year
  • Be related by blood, marriage or adoption
  • Have lived together as a parent and a child for at least 90 days in the past year
  • Have lived together as a stepparent and stepchild for at least 90 days in the past year
  • Be in a relationship as a caretaker and a vulnerable adult
  • Be the parents of a child together
  • Have had a sexual relationship within one year before filing the petition

What each order can do

The other key difference between a protective order and a peace order is the type of help you can request. An interim protective order, a temporary protective order, an interim peace order or a temporary peace order can all provide some of the same type of help. This includes ordering your abuser to stop abusing you, to stay away from you and to not try to contact you at various locations.

Interim and temporary protective orders have a few additional options you can request. Under certain circumstances, a judge can order your abuser to stay out of your house or leave a home where you both live. A judge may also be able to give you temporary custody of children you have with the abuser and temporary possession of a pet.

If your protective order becomes permanent, a judge can order any of the same actions allowed with an interim or temporary protective order as well as some additional actions. A judge may be able to award emergency family maintenance, award possession of a jointly titled car, order counseling, order the abuser to surrender firearms, order the abuser to pay filing fees and court costs, and award other relief needed to protect you.

A final peace order can allow a judge to order any of the same actions that are allowed in an interim or temporary peace order as well as some additional orders. A judge can order counseling or mediation. A judge can also order the abuser to pay filing fees and court costs.

If you feel unsafe because of the actions of another, filing a protective order or a peace order may be an appropriate action. Though these types of orders differ slightly, the order that best fits your situation can help protect you from further harm.

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