Family Offense Petitions And Orders Of Protection

The Family Court Act gives the Family Court jurisdiction to issue orders of protection to people in a protected class even if they are already complainants in Criminal Court.

The Family Court handles cases involving disorderly conduct, harassment, aggravated harassment, certain sex crimes, stalking, criminal mischief (that is, damage to property), menacing, reckless endangerment, criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation, strangulation, assault and attempted assault, identity theft, grand larceny, or coercion.

If you are in a protected class of people and are the victim of one or more of these crimes you may seek an order of protection by filing a family offense petition.

You may file a petition against a spouse or former spouse, or against a parent or child, or against a member of the same family or household. This means that you can seek protection against a person related to you by blood or marriage, or against the father or mother of your child whether or not you have ever lived with that person, or against a person who is or has been in an intimate relationship with you.

The definition of “intimate relationship” is a developing one in the law. For a court to determine that there is an intimate relationship, it will look at the type of relationship, how often you have had contact with the other person, and for how long. A court can find an intimate relationship even if that relationship is not sexual in nature. There does, however, have to be something more than just a casual acquaintance or ordinary business dealings.

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