Order For Protection (OFP)
Perpetrator/Abuser, Victim. Cycle of violence. Alcohol, Drugs. Mental illness, great stress.
What is considered to be unlawful 'Domestic Abuse' in MN law? Bodily harm, assault, threat of bodily harm, inflicting fear of bodily harm
Interference with 911 Call/Emergency Contact
What can the Court order an Abuser to do?
Immediately leave the home & stay away from your home, your work/job, 'grandma's house'
Pay restitution, for example, replacing locks, wrecked property, lawyer fees, lost work time
The Court may make a Custody & Parenting Time Order, set Child Support
Is an Order For Protection criminal?
No, an OFP happens in civil court (family court); but if the Respondent violates the Order, MN law says the police must arrest the Respondent immediately
Q: Am I a labelled 'Domestic Abuser' if there's an OFP against me?
Not at all necessarily. One option may well be that the Respondent may simply agree to stay away from the Petitioner, but an actual trial (called a 'Contested Hearing') is required in certain circumstances. In some situations, the OFP is dismissed by the Judge/Court Referee (but, if an OFP is dismissed, nearly always another request ('Petition') for an OFP may be brought again; in a few cases, an OFP is begun anew within minutes or hours, or just a few day
LEGAL QUESTIONS & ATTORNEY DWYER'S ANSWERS:
Legal question: I filed for an Harassment Order - at court agreed to mediate & written agreement was made to keep away from each other. She's still contacting me!
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: Generally, unlawful harassment includes unwanted contact, for instance, Adult A emails Adult B, 'Do NOT contact me in any way, shape or form, and NOT directly or indirectly in any way either.' Adult B attempts direct or indirect contact: This is grounds for filing an harassment petition with the court, or, in some special circumstances, a Petition for an Order For Protection (OFP). Also fyi: Remember we have tools like Call Blocking & email blocking, and if someone is doing something like hiding in your bushes, even cheap smart fones take good pics' & some make vids'. VERY IMPORTANT RULE: You yourself do NOT have any direct or indirect contact with the offensive person -- ZERO !!
Legal question: I divorced in Wisconsin last year but am now living in Minnesota. Can I get custody in Minnesota?
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: Hello.This is a partial reply - please have private help, as appropriate for your personal situation. If I were assisting you, I'd need to know fuller details. A first question is always finding out if there is any present or past domestic abuse, which can be physical, but definitely not necessarily. Is there any emotional wellbeing concern about the child? Is parent or child, or both, scared? In danger? Trying to hide? A starting point may be reviewing the existing legal paperwork. Sometimes more than one state may be possible 'venues' (court systems) to address custody; an example would be if a couple divorced very recently but both quickly moved to another state, or states.
Legal question: Can I be made to testify against my own brother? I'm scared I'll wind up beaten to a pulp or worse.
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: If you are a witness to the crime or otherwise have important knowledge, the state (prosecution) may subpoena you. I've had multiple clients who are living in very real fear. If you're in fear for your physical safety or that of other loved ones, I urge you to have help aimed at keeping you and your loved ones safe.
Legal question: My ex- texted she got an Harassment Order against me & she's picking up & taking my son's baseball stuff. She did this a month ago with a lawyer & it got dismissed. I've not been served-can she do all of this?
Attorney Tricia Dwyer's answer: Excellent questions. Unless there's some extenuating circumstance, I suggest you phone the Sheriff & arrange to receive those papers (i.e., 'be hand-served'). You ask, 'Can she do this?'. The short answer is she did do it. If the child needs things such as school book or team sport equipment, written in the temporary court Order that Mom can pick those up for the child; based on what you described, I'd think you'd want to set those outside for her & not have any contact. If I were advising you what's best to do about the court lawsuit, I'd talk with you to learn fuller facts before giving you legal advice; you do not at all necessarily need to 'fight'.
Legal question: My ex and I are affluent. Our divorce includes a division of out of pocket medical & dental & therapy expenses but it doesn't say anything about extracurriculars like sports, exercise classes and musical instruments/lessons. He won't agree to anything. Does that mean I have to get a new court Order about it?
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: Hello. Excellent question, and it seems you understand the problem, and you named it quite clearly. If 'extras', and the division of the expenses between the two parents, are not named in a court Order, you would need to ask they be named in a new Order. As to 'mediation', 'ADR' (Alternative Dispute Resolution), it is very, very important that you know that it is a voluntary process and what is most critically important is that, IN ADVANCE of deciding on any person, have the person send you their bio' and current resume. For one, you want to know what training the person has had: 'Mediation' is NOT 'one thing' fyi. There are at least 4 distinct approaches, trainings. My own training and study includes Transformative, 'Real' Mediation, and a great deal of study of Family Law Mediation for High Conflict parents. Also, always remember that each mediator is a human being: We all have 'Implicit Biases'; some of us are far more aware of what those are than others. I urge you always be a good consumer of lawyer/legal/mediation services - do your homework, do the legwork. Best to you.
LEGAL QUESTION: I have 50 50 custody and live in a small town. My ex says he's having
my house watched all the time. He said he's watching our kids, but he's also watching me & doesn't believe I live where I say I do which is none of his business. I feel fear, among other things.
ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: I suggest you stop in at the appropriate police station and make a report. If I were in your situation I'd aim to full resolution, and asap, because, as you stated, right now you lack the most basic and fundamental sense of safety, security and privacy. Protective Order, Restraining Order, Order for Protection (OFP), and Harassment Order (HRO) are possibilities.
LEGAL QUESTION: I got an harassment order. The respondent is my husband and he hasn't lived in our home for 2 years. I set an appt. with the sheriff for me to be present and husband take the few things he'd left behind, like old clothes and some junk in the garage. I didn't get home on time-I tried to phone the cell no. of officer but no answer. I have live video. Husband took valuable things, all sorts of things. ATTORNEY TRICIA DWYER'S ANSWER: As to the sheriff and the entry that was made, fuller details would need to be known. Generally, when a restraining order is hand served by the sheriff (or other law enf'), the hand-service may happen at the respondent's residence and the petitioner is either present also, or informed of what's unfolding; when that's the case, depending on all circumstances, the respondent may be given a few minutes to collect personal belongings, toothbrush, clothes. In many other cases the respondent will make an appointment via the sheriff's office, or city police, and the petitioner is a part of setting the appt. Law enforcement has to set priorities, and so the appt. may well not take place at the exact appt.'d time, and it may have to be cut short. Regarding your belongings being taken, I suggest you tally up a rough total of the dollar amount of items that were stolen/wrongfully taken. Also, if items of sentimental value were taken, such as your grandparents pics', etc., list those. I can't tell you what to do, of course, but when a person asks me for help with this sort of matter, I want to have an idea of the dollar value of what was taken, plus what the items sentimental value are, because I want to help my client in a cost effective manner.
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