What should I do when I leave the courthouse?
Here are some things you may want to consider doing. However, you will have to evaluate each one to see if it works for your situation.
- Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If you have any questions about it, be sure to ask the clerk.
- Make several copies of the order of protection as soon as possible.
- Keep a copy of the order of protection with you at all times.
- Leave copies of the order of protection at your work place, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
- Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work.
- Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
- If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them.
- You may wish to consider changing your locks, if permitted by law, and your phone number.
One week after court, call your local law enforcement offices to make sure they have received copies of the order of protection from the clerk. If the abuser was not at your final hearing, make sure law enforcement is serving him/her with a copy of the order of protection.
You may also wish to make a safety plan. People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many abusers obey orders of protection, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Safety Tips.