Legal Information: Alabama

Restraining Orders

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February 11, 2022

What protections can I get in a protection from abuse order?

In an emergency (ex parte) protection from abuse order, a judge can:

  • Order the abuser to:
    • Stop committing (or threatening to commit) acts of abuse against you, your children and anyone else included in the order;
    • Stop harassing, annoying, and stalking you and your children;
    • Stop calling or contacting you and your children directly or indirectly (through a third party, for example);
    • Stop any conduct (or threatening any conduct) that puts you or your children in reasonably fear or physical injury;
    • Not have physical or violent contact with you or your property and stay at least 300 feet away from your home (even if you share the home with the abuser), from your work, from your children’s school and any other specific place that you go to often (assuming the defendant has no good reason to be there);
    • Be removed from your home, regardless of who owns the home;
    • Not interfere with the custody of your children and not remove the children from the state; and
    • Not destroy, sell, or conceal joint property;1
  • Grant you:
    • Temporary custody of the children;
    • Give you possession of a car and/or other personal items, regardless of ownership; (Note: You can ask for a police escort to go with you to the home to remove your children or belongings from the home); and
    • Any other relief that is necessary to provide for the safety and protection of the victim, victim’s minor children and other designated family or household members.1

    In a permanent protection from abuse order, a judge may order all of the protections of the emergency (ex parte) order listed above. In addition, a judge can order the abuser to:

    • Give you possession (not ownership) of the family home and have the abuser evicted from the home – or, if both parties consent, the abuser can provide “suitable alternate housing.” (This protection is only available if the abuser has a duty to support you or your children - i.e., if you are married or have children together)
    • Pay child support and/or spousal support
    • Pay your attorney’s fees and court costs
    • Have supervised or unsupervised visitation with the child(ren), if appropriate (or s/he can get no visitation)
    • Provide temporary possession of the car to you if
      • you have no other transportation of your own; and
      • the abuser has more than one car or has alternate transportation.2

    Under federal law, the abuser likely cannot have or buy a gun while a permanent PFA order is in place against him/her. To read more, please see our Federal Gun Laws page.

    1 Ala. Code § 30-5-7(b)
    2 Ala. Code § 30-5-7(c)

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