What is the legal definition of an elderly person?
For the purposes of getting an elder abuse protection order, an elderly person is a person who is 60 years old or older.1
1 Ala. Code § 38-9F-3(4)
What is the legal definition of elder abuse?
For the purposes of getting an elder abuse protection order, elder abuse includes the following acts or intent to do the following acts:
- criminal coercion;
- criminal trespass;
- emotional abuse;
- financial exploitation (as defined in 13A-6-191 and 8-6-171);
- reckless endangerment;
- sexual abuse (as defined in 13A-6-60 to 13A-6-68);
- theft; or
- unlawful imprisonment.1
1 Ala. Code § 38-9F-3(2)
What types of elder abuse protection orders are there? How long do they last?
There are two types of elder abuse protection orders: ex parte orders and final orders.
Ex parte orders are temporary orders that do not require the abuser to be notified beforehand. They last until the court hearing on a final order.1 To get a temporary ex parte order, you must show that you are in danger of likely, future harm.2
A judge issues a final order after notice to the abuser and a court hearing. A final order is permanent unless the judge directs otherwise.3
1 Ala. Code § 38-9F-7(b)
2 Ala. Code § 38-9F-8(b)
3 Ala. Code § 38-9F-8(e)
What protections can I get in an elder abuse protection order?
Through an ex parte elder abuse protection order, a judge can order that the abuser:
- stop committing elder abuse or threatening to commit elder abuse;
- not contact you in any way that puts you in reasonable fear of injury;
- stay away from your home, place of work, or any other place;
- not live with you, no matter who owns the home;
- allow you to use a car or any other items, no matter who owns them;
- not use or transfer any of your property or money;
- give you a report on your income, debts, expenses, and other financial matters;
- not act as your guardian, conservator, or power of attorney;
- follow the instructions of your guardian, conservator, or power of attorney; or
- do anything else that the judge thinks is necessary for your safety or welfare.1
In a final order, a judge can grant all of the protections listed above, and order the abuser to:
- return to you any money or property that the abuser has previously controlled;
- pay money (damages) for any physical or financial injuries caused or pay for your attorney’s fees; or
- not have any guns.2
1 Ala. Code § 38-9F-8(b)
2 Ala. Code § 38-9F-8(c)
Who can file for an elder abuse protection order?
You can file for yourself if you are an elderly person who has been abused. If you are unable to file for yourself, the following people may do it:
- a court-appointed guardian or temporary guardian;
- a court-appointed conservator, which is someone who is legally responsible for someone else’s financial or medical decisions;
- someone acting under power of attorney;
- a health care proxy; or
- an “interested person,” which is defined as someone who asks the court to:
- safeguard your money and property (estate);
- use your estate to take care of your needs; or
- do something else for your benefit.1
1Ala. Code §§ 38-9F-6(a); 38-9-6(h)
What are the steps to getting an elder abuse protection order?
The steps to getting an elder abuse protection order are similar to the steps for getting a protection from abuse order.
If someone is filing on your behalf, s/he must submit a sworn petition that gives facts about the abuse.1 After that, you will be notified that the petition has been filed.2
1 Ala. Code § 38-9F-6(b)
2 Ala. Code § 38-9F-6(d)
In which county do I file the petition?
You may file a petition for an elder abuse protection order in the circuit court in any of the following places:
- where you live or have temporarily relocated;
- where the abuser lives; or
- where the abuse happened.1
The clerk of courts should be able to provide the necessary forms to file the petition, for which there are no fees.2
1 Ala. Code § 38-9F-4(c)
2 Ala. Code § 38-9F-6(c), (f)