As well-seasoned divorce lawyers, we created a series of blogs for those of you thinking of divorce in Arkansas. Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting thoughts about grounds for divorce, orders of protection, real and personal property, covenant marriage, who pays and more. For information about Leigh Law’s Family & Domestic Law services, click here. We also answer several of your most common questions on our FAQ page.
This Article is About Orders of Protection in Arkansas
When leaving a spouse, the first question is always are you afraid for your safety or safety of your children? If yes, we have to take steps to protect you and you have to take steps to protect yourself.
Domestic Abuse is very common, particularly when the victim is pregnant or just had a baby. We work with many domestic abuse victims in our office. Working with Domestic Abuse victims requires a special recognition of the emotional impacts involved, and how they affect the victim’s decision-making now and in the future. We aim to make Domestic Abuse victims feel safe in our offices and under our guidance. Our priority is to get them to safety. figuratively and literally. as quickly as possible while also considering the long-term ramifications of our actions on future divorce or custody cases.
Don’t Risk Your Safety and That of Your Children
No belonging, personal possession, clothes, house, or pet is worth risking your safety and the safety of your children. If you are afraid, do not go back. Ever. Under any circumstances.
Only the client really knows if the fear is justified. Our job as lawyers is not to question the allegations or the fear. We will always believe you and fight for you.
Don’t Misuse Your Order of Protection
All victims must consider that it is common for Orders of Protection in Arkansas to be misused. Don’t think of it as a fast end run around the longer, more complicated, more expensive process of a custody battle or divorce. Judges are wary because this kind of manipulative use of Orders of Protection is rampant, and it hurts all domestic abuse victims.
The ramifications of having a permanent protection order against you are high. They are quasi-criminal proceedings and will show up on background checks and prevent the person from having a gun or even bullets. This affects the daily life of someone in Arkansas, where hunting is a way of life. Even temporary protection orders can affect the livelihood and job security of the person it is against.
The victim must consider that the truth does not matter. What matters is what the court believes, and if the Court thinks that you misused the protection order system, that may hurt the outcome of the imminent divorce and/or custody bathe that is looming. A thorough analysis of the facts and evidence before you file is very smart.
How Do I File for an Order of Protection in Arkansas?
Procedurally, Protection Orders are fairly easy to get. They are free – no filing fee – and you’ll know the same morning or afternoon that you go down there. Most of the clerks will help you and provide you the paperwork. You first go to the county clerk’s office where you live to fill out the paperwork and file it. Once filed, the clerk will tell you what judge you were assigned and direct you to go up to the judge’s office to speak to the law clerk or trial court assistant. You’ll wait outside while the petition is evaluated and the judge makes his or her decision.
If granted, it is called an ex parte order of protection and is valid only until the court date. If not granted, you are still given a court date. Then you are sent to the county sheriff’s office where you drop copies of the paperwork and they will serve the petition to the person against whom you filed it.
You Must Show Up for the Hearing
You must show up to the hearing or the petition will be dropped. When you show up you should be prepared to meet your burden of proof that there have been violent acts/threats in the past and that there is a reasonable objective fear of violence in the future. You will be subject to cross-examination by the abuser or his or her lawyer.
You should be prepared to ask the abuser questions and show up with any witnesses who can testify to actual knowledge of the abuse. It’s at this final hearing where you most need an attorney – the burden of proof is on the victim to prove a permanent protection order is necessary and the burden is high since the ramifications of an order of protection are high for the abuser.
If you lose the permanent order of protection hearing or you aren’t prepared and the judge comes to the conclusion that you are misusing the system, this could negatively affect your divorce or custody battle. The same judge will hear both the protection order issue and any contemporaneous or subsequent domestic case.
Call For A Free Case Evaluation
Case evaluations are completely free; our fees are flat and affordable. Call Leigh Law today at (501) 227-ROAR or Email Us to ensure that you are making wise decisions now which will last far beyond the entry of the divorce decree.