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Know the Laws: Maryland

UPDATED February 1, 2017

Domestic Violence Protective Orders

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A domestic violence protective order is a civil order that protects: a victim of domestic abuse from harm by someone with whom s/he has a specific relationship; a vulnerable adult from abuse by any person regardless of their relationship; or a child who is sexually abused (by anyone) or physically or mentally injured by a parent/caretaker. 

The protections offered in each type of order

back to topHow can an interim protective order help me?

An interim protective order can do the following:

  • order the abuser to not abuse or threaten to abuse you or anyone else listed in the order;
  • order the abuser to not contact, try to contact, or harass you or anyone else listed in the order;
  • order the abuser to not enter your home;
  • order the abuser to stay away from you and/or your child(ren)’s work place, school, temporary residence (such as a shelter), or other family members’ homes;
  • order the abuser to move out of the house (if you shared it) and give you (the victim) temporary use and possession of the home -- if the victim is an abused child or vulnerable adult, the temporary use and possession of the home can be given to an adult living in the home. Note: This temporary use/possession of the home can only be granted to a non-spouse if his/her name is on the lease/deed or if s/he shared the home with the abuser for at least 90 days during the 1-year period before the protective order was filed;
  • give you temporary possession of any pet owned by you or the respondent; and
  • give you temporary custody of any children you have with the abuser.*

In addition, if the other parent has the child, the judge can order that the child be returned to you and can order law enforcement to use reasonable and necessary force to return the child to you.**

Note: Even without a protective order, if you have been the victim of abuse and you believe that you are in danger of immediate harm, you can request the help of local law enforcement to accompany you to the "family home" to remove the following items (regardless of who paid for the items):  

  • the personal clothing of you and of any child in your care; and
  • the personal belongings, including medicine or medical devices, of you and of any child in your care.***

* MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-504.1(c)
** MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-504.1(d)
*** MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-502(a)(2)

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back to topHow can a temporary protective order help me?

temporary protective order can do the following:

  • order the abuser to not abuse or threaten to abuse you or anyone else listed in the order;
  • order the abuser to not contact, try to contact, or harass you or anyone else listed in the order;
  • order the abuser to not enter your home;
  • order the abuser to stay away from you and/or your child(ren)’s work place, school, temporary residence (such as a shelter), or other family members’ homes;
  • order the abuser to stay away from your child(ren)’s child-care provider while the child is there;
  • order the abuser to move out of the house (if you shared it) and give you (the victim) temporary use and possession of the home -- if the victim is an abused child or vulnerable adult, the temporary use and possession of the home can be given to an adult living in the home. Note: This temporary use/possession of the home can only be granted to a non-spouse if his/her name is on the lease/deed or if s/he shared the home with the abuser for at least 90 days during the 1-year period before the protective order was filed. (See Can a DVPO make the abuser move out? for more information); 
  • give you temporary possession of any pet owned by you or the respondent;
  • give you temporary custody of children you have with the abuser; (Note: If the other parent has the child, the judge can order that the child be returned to you and can order law enforcement to use reasonable and necessary force to return the child to you); and
  • order the respondent to give to law enforcement any firearms in his/her possession and to not have/use any firearms while you have the temporary protective order if the abuse consisted of:
    • the use or threatened use of a firearm by the respondent against a you; or
    • serious bodily harm (or a threat to cause serious bodily harm) to you.*

Note: Even without a protective order, if you have been the victim of abuse and you believe that you are in danger of immediate harm, you can request the help of local law enforcement to accompany you to the "family home" to remove the following items (regardless of who paid for the items):

  • the personal clothing of you and of any child in your care; and
  • the personal belongings, including medicine or medical devices, of you and of any child in your care.**

* MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-505(a)(2)
** MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-502(a)(2)

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back to topHow can a final protective order help me?

A final protective order can do the following:

  • order the abuser to not abuse or threaten to abuse you or anyone else listed in the order;
  • order the abuser to not contact, try to contact, or harass you or anyone else listed in the order;
  • order the abuser to not enter your home;
  • order the abuser to stay away from you and/or your child(ren)’s work place, school, temporary residence (such as a shelter), or other family members’ homes;
  • order the abuser to stay away from your child(ren)’s child-care provider while the child is there;
  • order the abuser to move out of the house (if you shared it) and give you (the victim) temporary use and possession of the home -- if the victim is an abused child or vulnerable adult, the temporary use and possession of the home can be given to an adult living in the home. Note: This temporary use/possession of the home can only be granted to a non-spouse if his/her name is on the lease/deed or if s/he shared the home with the abuser for at least 90 days during the 1-year period before the protective order was filed. (See Can a DVPO make the abuser move out? for more information); 
  • give you temporary possession of any pet owned by you or the respondent;
  • give you temporary custody of any children you have with the abuser;
  • set up temporary visitation with children you and the abuser have together while keeping the safety of you and the child in mind – therefore, visits can be supervised or denied if the judge believes that is necessary to keep you and/or the child safe;
  • order the abuser to pay you emergency family maintenance (child support and/or spousal support) and garnish the abuser’s wages if necessary;
  • give you temporary use and possession of a vehicle jointly owned by you and the respondent if it’s necessary for your job or for caring for a child you and the respondent have;
  • order you and/or the abuser to go to counseling or a domestic violence program; 
  • order the abuser to pay the filling fees and costs of your court case; and
  • order any other relief that the judge believes is necessary to protect you.*

Note: Even without a protective order, if you have been the victim of abuse and you believe that you are in danger of immediate harm, you can request the help of local law enforcement to accompany you to the "family home" to remove the following items (regardless of who paid for the items):

  • the personal clothing of you and of any child in your care; and
  • the personal belongings, including medicine or medical devices, of you and of any child in your care.**

* MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-506(d)
** MD Code Ann., Fam. Law § 4-502(a)(2)

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back to topWhat factors will a judge look at when deciding whether or not the abuser should be removed from the home?

When deciding whether or not to order that the abuser be removed from the home under a temporary or final protective order, the judge will consider the following factors:

  • the housing needs of any minor child living in the home;
  • how long your relationship with the abuser has lasted;
  • whose name is on the title to the home;
  • the type of any criminal charges against the abuser and the status of the criminal case against him/her;
  • the history and severity of abuse in the relationship between you and the abuser;
  • whether or not you and/or the abuser have anywhere else to stay; and
  • the financial resources of both you and the abuser.*

* MD Code, Fam. Law § 4-506(h)

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