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Facts about Maryland domestic violence protective orders

Domestic violence is an affront to human dignity, and no one should ever be subjected to it, no matter if they live in Upper Marlboro County, Maryland, or elsewhere in the nation. Domestic violence occurs between family members, spouses and others who live together and can take many forms. It can involve physical abuse, such as slapping, punching, kicking, verbal abuse, such as screaming and yelling, sexual abuse, such as rape, or even kidnapping and preventing another person from leaving their home. Fortunately, the state of Maryland can help a victim of domestic violence stop the abuse by issuing a protective order.

A protective order is a document issued by a judge that orders one person to stop committing harmful acts against another person, and it can be either temporary or permanent. It is a legal binding document that the abuser must follow or else be subjected to serious legal consequences, including fines and potential jail time.

A person can file for a protective order, if that individual and the abuser are currently married or once were married, are related to each other either by adoption, blood or marriage or have had a child together. Someone can also file for a protective order, if the victim-abuser relationship is that of either a parent-child or stepparent-child, and the two have lived together for at least three months in the past calendar year.

A protective order can cover a wide range of issues and can force an abuser to stop his or her behavior. It can do this by ordering an abuser to remain physically separated from the victim whether at home, work or school, as well as by ordering the abuser to stay out of the victim's house. It can also force the abuser to leave the home of the victim, if the two individuals were not married and if the abuser's name is not on the deed of the home.

To file for a protective order, a victim needs to complete a Petition for Protective Order, which can be found at the Clerk's Office of a nearby District or Circuit Court. A petition can also be filed at the commissioner's office at the local District Court. This office is usually open 24 hours a day.

Source: "Domestic violence," April 19, 2015

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