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Missouri Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection

Persons accused of any of several forms of domestic violence can find themselves caught up with a bewildering variety of problems under Missouri law. If you need advice about an ex parte order of protection, representation at the hearing on a full order of protection, or help with resolving criminal charges related to violations of a restraining order, contact an experienced domestic relations attorney at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. in St. Louis.

A person involved in a family or intimate relationship with someone else can obtain an ex parte order of protection without prior notice on a complaint of spousal abuse, family violence, stalking, or even threats. Within fifteen days of the original petition for protection, the court will generally hold a hearing on the domestic violence complaint, with the person accused of abusive conduct given an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story. The court then decides whether to issue a full order of protection for a period of 6 months to one year.

The lawyers at the Roberts Law Firm, P.C. can help you keep a bad situation from turning worse in any domestic violence case. Our trial attorneys have over 20 years of cumulative experience as prosecutors and public defenders, and Greg L. Roberts has served as a municipal judge. If you have been served with an ex parte order of protection with a hearing date approaching, we can help you prepare your defense to the charges of abuse and work toward vacating the order. We can also advise you about the best ways to avoid violations, either intentional or accidental, of the terms of the original order. We can also defend you on criminal charges of violating the terms of a restraining order.

Although it can be highly unfair to do so, spouses or unmarried domestic partners sometimes use the family violence protective order system to gain a tactical advantage in a dispute over child custody, spousal support, or other issues most often resolved in family court. A judge deciding whether to issue a full order of protection has the authority as well to order such arrangements as the following:

  • Requiring the abusive party (“respondent”) to move out of the family home
  • Ordering the respondent to pay child support, spousal support and/or attorney fees
  • Ordering that the complaining party (“petitioner”) receive primary child custody of any children the two parties have in common
  • Ordering a visitation schedule for the respondent and his or her children
  • Prohibiting the respondent from entering the home of the petitioner, even if both parties live there
  • Requiring the respondent to give the petitioner car keys, checkbooks, and other essentials of daily living that both use

In some cases, a domestic violence petitioner will file for divorce while a full order of protection is in effect. The respondent may have a very difficult time protecting his or her interests in any child custody or visitation dispute while a domestic violence order remains in effect.

Our attorneys can help you overcome any of the civil or criminal legal problems that can result from a domestic violence complaint. For additional information, contact an experienced lawyer at The Roberts Law Firm, P.C. in St. Louis.

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