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If you fear for your life, you need a protective order

There are many times in life where things don't go as planned. If your marriage is one of those things, then you may be leaning toward a divorce. If you're concerned that telling your spouse you want a divorce may turn violent, you should learn more about a protective order.

A protective order is a court order that bans one person from coming into contact with the other. These orders, also called restraining orders, can protect you, your children and your family members while you go through a divorce.

How long do protective orders last?

Protective orders, once implemented, last up to one year. A temporary protective order may last a month or until the date of a hearing for a domestic violence allegation. Other protective orders may be for 90 days up to three years in length, depending on the circumstances.

What happens if your spouse violates the protective order?

If he or she violates the order, you should contact the police immediately. Your spouse may be arrested and placed in jail for up to a year and could face a fine of $1,000.

Can a protective order really help me?

The court has the ability to enforce a protective order, and the authorities are informed about the order. You may wish to ask for the police to make your home a part of their nightly or daily routes if you are concerned about the order being violated. If you receive violent phone calls or threatening letters, you should let the authorities know.

In the end, a protective order is only as good as you let it be. You must report any signs of your spouse violating the order or intending to violate the order to get the protection you need from the police. It's a good idea to keep your cellphone on hand and to lock your doors. Stay aware of your surroundings, so you can remain safe.

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