If you are in the process of getting divorced and fear for your safety, you may want to ask for a protective order. Identifying your risks and knowing whether or not you qualify for a protective order can help you establish a need and seek help before it is too late.
A protective order can grant you the time, space and reassurance to proceed with your divorce without fearing for your well-being.
Abuse can take on many forms including physical, emotional and sexual. Mistreatment is any behavior that puts you in harm’s way or threatens your safety. Blackmailing, rape, holding you against your will, bodily harm and stalking are just a few examples. While such behaviors directly endanger your safety, they are also illegal and punishable by law.
Qualifying for help
Your situation and your relationship must meet certain qualifications to have eligibility for a protective order. According to the Maryland Courts, you must meet at least one of the following criteria to petition for a protective order:
- You were the victim of rape by the other person in the last year
- You have had a child with the other person
- You are currently married to, divorcing or separated from the person in question
- You meet the qualifications for a vulnerable adult
Once granted, a protective order can effectively limit the contact the other person can have with you. However, to effectively enforce the order, you must immediately notify authorities of any behavior that breaches the agreement. Timely reporting of suspicious behavior can prevent danger from escalating and help you to stay focused on moving forward.