20 Mar 5 Steps to Take When Served with a South Carolina Order of Protection
Here in South Carolina, a lot of divorcing spouses represent themselves in court. And for the most part, if there are no children and no assets, this can be okay. But a lot of self-represented parties find themselves in hot water when it comes to things like orders of protection. Here are five simple steps you can take to help you if you are ever served with a protective order.
Step 1: DO NOT TRY TO “WORK IT OUT”
It can be very tempting to go talk to your spouse (or recent ex). You might be thinking maybe it’s a mistake. Perhaps you feel like there has been a miscommunication. The important thing to remember is that protective orders are court orders. They carry the full force of the law, and if you violate the order—even for a good reason—you could go to jail. Worse than that, however, a court could consider your violation when determining things like child custody. So, take a deep breath, and call a lawyer before you even think about contacting the person who took out the order against you.
Step 2: READ THE ORDER
It can also be tempting to look at the large font or bold typeface notice language on an order of protection and skip over the rest. There is key information in the notice that you need to know, such as the date and time of the hearing, where to appear, and the appropriate court location. Under the law, a person must give due process before a permanent protective order is entered. Therefore, if you were never notified of a hearing, chances are your spouse or ex has obtained what is known as a “temporary protective order.”
He or she did not need to give notice to get this type of order. They only have to make a showing that there is some immediate threat. You then get notice of the formal hearing where you can contest this.
Step 3: DON’T GO NEAR THE PERSON OR THEIR RESIDENCE
This can be very difficult if you live with the person who obtained the order. Find a friend’s house or family member to crash with for a few days, while your attorney prepares for the hearing. At the hearing, your attorney can ask the judge for permission to allow you to retrieve important belongings, work clothes, and other items that you will need. If there is no legal justification for the order, then you and your attorney can prepare a strategy to fight the accusations that led to the order.
Step 4: STAY OFF SOCIAL MEDIA
In a divorce or child custody case, social media can make things worse. Rest assured that no matter how innocent, everything you post will be made public and can be taken out of context in front of a judge. Let your close friends know you are taking a break from the Internet for a while. Focus on your case, and follow your lawyer’s advice.
Step 5: HIRE A LAWYER TODAY
someone was able to get a judge to issue an order of protection against you, it is likely because that person has accused you of some form of a domestic battery or other violence. These are serious accusations that can lead to criminal charges. They can also impact your divorce or child custody case. Don’t take chances. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC to speak with a Charleston family law attorney today.