As stated, in cases where it is necessary, party can get an Order of Protection to protect the children from the other parent. To obtain an Order of Protection, a Petition for Order of Protection Against Domestic Abuse must be filed with the Court. Again, this measure should be used only in emergency situations where the safety of the children is truly at risk.
To get an Order of Protection, the behavior of the other party must fall within the definition of Domestic Abuse which is defined as: 1) stalking or sexual assault, 2) physical harm, 3) severe emotional distress, 4) bodily injury or assault, 5) a threat causing imminent fear of bodily injury, 6) criminal trespass, 7) criminal damage to property, 8) repeatedly driving by a residence or work place, 9) telephone harassment, or 10) harassment.
An Order of protection takes effect immediately upon service of a Temporary Order of Protection upon the offending party (Respondent) by the Sheriff. The terms of the Order are effective immediately so that further contact with the children is prohibited until the hearing on the Petition for Order of Protection is heard. This hearing must will be set within 10 days of service of the Order. If an act of domestic abuse is found to have occurred, the Temporary Order will be extended for 6 months. The Order can be extended for an additional 6 months upon a Motion to Extend the Order of Protection if there is good cause shown for the extension. In order to extend the Order of Protection for the additional 6 months, a Petition must be filed prior to the expiration of the first 6 months, or the Court will lose jurisdiction over the matter and be unable to extend the original Order.