MN Orders for Protection and Divorce

In Minnesota, there is a type of court order that is called a “domestic abuse order for protection.”  This is an order that is intended to protect an abused party from an abuser.  Typically, a domestic abuse order for protection provides that the abuser may not have contact with the abused party, and that if he or she does, he or she is subject to arrest and prosecution.  To obtain an order for protection in Minnesota, the abused party files a petition in district court which states the nature of the abuse and sets forth the relief requested.

When people are genuinely the victims of domestic abuse, an Order for Protection is a necessary an appropriate remedy.  No one should be abused or threatened.  The abusing party does not get a free pass, just because he or she happens to be married to the person they are abusing.  If you are the victim of domestic abuse, you should seek help from an attorney and you should consider all options, including filing a petition for an Order for Protection.

Unfortunately, many people falsely claim that domestic abuse occurred in order to gain an advantage in a divorce proceeding.  This is unfortunate, but it happens to be reality.  Some people lie.  They often justify this to themselves by thinking that the end justifies the means.

If you are getting divorced, your spouse may lie about domestic abuse in order to get a quick order throwing you out of the house.  If this happens, you should consult with an attorney.  At a domestic abuse hearing you will be presented with three options.  None of them are very good.  But, generally speaking, it is best to try to get the court to defer all decisions relating to custody and parenting time to the court that is presiding over the divorce proceeding.  Often the best way to accomplish this is to avoid a trial on the issue of whether the domestic abuse occurred.  This can be done by agreeding to entry of an Order for Protection without the court making a finding that domestic abuse occurred.  Then, take up the issues of child custody, parenting time, child support, etc., in the divorce court.  Generally you will get a fairer hearing.

I want to emphasize that I understand that there are real victims of domestic abuse.  These people are entitled to an Order for Protection.  But, there are also people who lie about domestic abuse in order to gain an advantage over their spouse.  If a case is presented correctly, I have confidence that our court system can tell the difference.

Daniel Fiskum is a Minnesota divorce attorney who has been practicing since 1992. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has been named a "Super Lawyer" by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Fiskum is currently writing a book for attorneys and non-attorneys entitled "The Streetfighter's Guide to Divorce," which is scheduled for publication in May, 2010. Many of his blog entries will appear in the book. You may contact attorney Fiskum directly at (952) 270-7700. His office is located in the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The Fiskum Law website is found at www.fiskumlaw.com.

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