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Know the Laws: Puerto Rico

UPDATED January 10, 2017

Protection Orders for Domestic Violence

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A protection order in Puerto Rico is a civil order that can try to prevent harm between people in an intimate/family relationship.

Basic information

back to topWhat is a protection order?

A protection order is a civil court order signed by a judge, that tells the abuser to not do specific acts of domestic violence and can include other protections for you and your child(ren).*  It is not necessary to press criminal charges or file a police report in order to get one.** 

* See 8 L.P.R.A § 602(h)
** See 8 L.P.R.A § 621

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of domestic violence in Puerto Rico for the purpose of obtaining a protection order?

Domestic violence (for the purpose of obtaining a protection order) is when one of the following people repeatedly use physical force or psychological violence, intimidation or harassment in order to cause you (or another person) physical harm to yourself, your property or to another person in order to cause you severe emotional harm:

  • your spouse;
  • your ex-spouse;
  • a person with whom you share or have shared a residence;
  • a person with whom you have or have had a consensual relationship; or
  • a person with whom you have a child in common.*

A person can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of his/her sex, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, or immigration status.

* See 8 L.P.R.A. § 602(p)

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back to topHow can a protection order help me?

A protection order can do the following:  

  • Give you temporary custody of minor children;
  • If you are staying in a shelter for victims of domestic violence, suspend the family relationship between the minor children and the abuser (after consideration of many factors specified by the law);
  • Order the abuser to vacate the home that you share with him/her;
  • Order the abuser to refrain from bothering, harassing, following, intimidating and threatening you and order him/her to not interfere with the temporary custody of the children;
  • Order the abuser to stay a certain distance away from wherever you are;
  • Order the abuser to pay support for the child(ren) and for you, if s/he is legally obligated to do so;
  • Prohibit the abuser from disposing of your private property or of any joint property;
  • Order the abuser to pay for damages caused by the acts of domestic violence, including:
    • moving expenses,
    • expenses for property repairs,
    • legal, medical, psychiatric, psychological, counseling, lodging, shelter and other similar expenses;
  • Order the abuser to temporarily hand over to the police of Puerto Rico any firearm that s/he owns and suspend any license to operate a firearm that they may have;
  • Prohibit the abuser from denying you access to the children or from taking them outside of Puerto Rico; and  
  • Order anything else that the judge believes can benefit your safety or that of your family.*

* See 8 L.P.R.A. § 621

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