Sometimes, divorce and custody cases involve more than one legal action, especially when one or both parties become involved in a Tulsa protective order proceeding. The Tulsa family law firm of Fry & Elder fully realizes this, which is why we are here to answer some of the more common questions in regards to Tulsa protective orders.
What is a protective order?
A Tulsa protective order and protective order elsewhere in Oklahoma is defined and governed by the “Protection from Domestic Abuse Act.” A protective order is a court order intended to protect victims of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking by banning contact between the claimant and the defendant. Once a protective order is issued and the defendant is served with the protective order, the defendant may not have contact with the person protected by the order until the protective order is lifted.
How does one go about obtaining a Tulsa protective order?
During regular courthouse hours, a victim of domestic violence, including rape, or of stalking or harassment may fill out a protective order petition at the office of the county court clerk. When the courthouse is closed, a victim may be able to obtain a temporary protective order from a law enforcement agency, such as the county sheriff, that will last only until the courthouse reopens.
How can a protective order affect me?
In addition to prohibiting contact with a specific person, a protective order can affect virtually every area of one’s life. Although the law specifically states that a protective order is not an appropriate tool to determine the issues of parental rights and property division, a protective order may temporarily impact those rights. For example, a protective order can require you to leave your home, and it can prohibit you from seeing your children for a period of time. Additionally, federal law prohibits anyone subject to a protective order from possessing or transporting firearms and ammunition. Violation of any part of a protective order can result in criminal charges being filed against you. Further, simply being the subject of a Tulsa protective order can cause you to lose your job and your professional license in certain circumstances.
Oklahoma custody law provides that if one parent proves “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the other parent has engaged in domestic abuse, stalking, or harassing behavior, there is a legal presumption that the parent engaging in such conduct should not have custody of, or even unsupervised visitation with, a minor child. Since Tulsa protective orders and elsewhere concern behavior such as domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment, a protective order entered against you may cause you to lose custody of your child or result in a requirement for you to have a supervisor present when you see your child.
Do you need a lawyer?
Protective orders are initially heard on an “ex parte” basis, which means the defendant (the person who is accused of abuse, stalking, or harassment) has no opportunity to be heard or to challenge the protective order when it is first filed. When the protective order is initially granted, a court hearing date is set by the judge and the protective order petition, order, and notice of the hearing is sent for service upon the defendant. Generally, a trial will be held at that set date and time to determine if a protective order is necessary.
A protective order involves very serious allegations that can permanently impact the lives of each party and the lives of their children. A protective order hearing can involve testimony and evidence that impacts future child custody decisions and criminal proceedings. If you are seeking the protection of a court order, or if you have been served with a notice that someone is asking for a protective order against you, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible. Each Oklahoma trial lawyer at Fry & Elder has extensive experience dealing with protective order cases.
Experience the Fry & Elder Difference
Should you have any additional questions about filing a Tulsa protective order, we urge you to contact the Tulsa family law firm of Fry & Elder today to set up a personal consultation with one of our experienced and acclaimed Oklahoma trial lawyers. The Tulsa family law firm of Fry & Elder has been iconic in the realm of family law for a number of years, with roots dating all the way back to 1932. The firm has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Law Firms from 2014-2016.
Additionally, our attorneys are some of the most respected and esteemed in the legal industry. Robert G “Hap” Fry Jr. has been named a “Super Lawyer” in Oklahoma and is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Firm attorneys James Elder, M. Shane Henry, Aaron Bundy and Fry all have garnered the prestigious AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindal-Hubbell®, which is the highest recognition in the legal industry. Luke Barteaux, Bundy and Henry also recently made the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars List. Contact Fry & Elder today to set up your personal consultation.