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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Who May File A Petition for a Protective Order?
    The following are persons eligible for relief (PEFR): - The current or former spouse of the respondent - A cohabitant of the respondent - A person related to the respondent by blood, marriage or adoption - A parent, stepparent child or stepchild of the respondent - Someone who resides or resided with the respondent or PEFR for at least 90 days with one year before filing for the petition - A venerable adult - An individual who has a child in common with the respondent - An individual who has had a sexual relationship with the respondent within one year before the filing of the petition - If a person is not a PEFR, the person may file what is called a Peace Order.
  • What is the statutory definition of “abuse?”
    “Abuse” means any of the following acts: (i) an act that causes serious bodily harm; (ii) an act that places a person eligible for relief in fear of imminent serious bodily harm; (iii) assault in any degree; (iv) rape or sexual offense under § 3-303, § 3-304, § 3-307, or § 3-308 of the Criminal Law Article or attempted rape or sexual offense in any degree; (v) false imprisonment; (vi) stalking under § 3-802 of the Criminal Law Article; or (vii) revenge porn under § 3-809 of the Criminal Law Article.
  • Where to File A Petition?
    Both the district court and the circuit court have jurisdiction over domestic violence petition. Typically, a person will seek to file a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) before a Maryland District Court Judge. However, if the District Courthouse is closed, a person may file an Interim Protective Order (IPO) with District Court Commissioners.
  • What form of relief may be granted in a Protective Order?
    In an IPO, a Commissioner may order the respondent: Refrain from further abuse or threats of abuse Refrain from contacting attempting to contact or harassing Refrain from entering the residence Vacate the home shared with the PEFR Remain away from the place of employment, school or temporary residence Remain away from the residence of any family member
  • What is the duration of an IPO?
    The IPO is effective only until the TPO hearing or the end of the second business day the District Courthouse is open.
  • What is the duration of a TPO?
    When a judge issues a TPO, the order is good for a maximum of seven days, except that the trial court may extend the period of time up to six months to effectuate service “or for other good cause.”
  • What is the burden of proof for a TPO?
    To be entitled to relief for TPO, the court must have “a reasonable ground to believe” that the abuse occurred.
  • What is a Final Protective Order?
    When a TPO is granted, a hearing date will be entered on the TPO for a final protective order hearing. The burden of proof for the final protective order is a “preponderance of the evidence.” If a final protective order is granted, the maximum duration is twelve months.
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