What You Should Know About Domestic Violence Orders Of Protection In New Mexico

In New Mexico, an Order of Protection is an order from the court that directs one person to keep away from another person and not harm them in any way. This order can also provide other relief to the person requesting it. For example, if both parties are living together, the order can direct the abusive party to move out. With a temporary order of protection, you may receive temporary custody of your child, even if the child is currently with the abusive party.

Who is eligible?

When it comes to Orders of Protection based on sexual abuse or stalking, the person requesting it does not need to have any ongoing relationship with the stalking or abusive party. For orders based on domestic violence, however, the parties must be considered “household members.” They don’t need to live together, but there does need to be some sort of continuing and personal relationship. Co-parents of the same child, current married couples or ex-spouses, and current or former partners are all considered household members.

How do I get an Order of Protection?

Generally, the first step toward getting a long-term order is getting a temporary order of protection. You have to complete a petition to the court that describes what is happening and the abuse. You can get this petition at the court or from an agency that handles domestic violence. You can complete it and file it or have your attorney help you. It’s important that the petition is accurate and filled out properly.
Once you’ve filed the petition, you will need to wait to see the judge, and he or she may ask you questions about what is going on. Once the judge signs the temporary order, it’s effective until a judge makes a decision on a long-term order in court at a hearing that is scheduled, usually,  within ten days of you receiving the temporary order. The order itself must be personally handed to the abusive party to be effective, and you should not hand it to that person yourself.

Will the order protect me?

With an Order of Protection, you can get help from the court and the police if the other party violates it. Have a copy of the order with you at all times and keep another copy somewhere safe. You can also give copies of it to people who can help you enforce it, such as your landlord, your attorney, and the schools your children attend. If the other party violates the order, you can call the police for help. It is a crime, and they can arrest the person who violates the order.

What will happen at the long-term hearing?

When you go to the hearing for a long-term Order of Protection, the judge will decide if what you are experiencing is domestic abuse. He or she will ask you questions about what has happened between you and the other party. You should bring any evidence you have to the hearing, such as medical documentation of injuries, damaged property and photos. If there are any witnesses to any incidents, they should also come to court. The other party will be at the hearing, too, along with his or her attorney if they have one. The long-term order of protection usually lasts for 6-12 months, and you can ask for a longer order.

Should I get an attorney?

While you don’t need an attorney to get an Order of Protection, it’s usually recommended, especially if you are going to hearings. Your attorney can help you get organized and let you know what to expect in court. They will be the one talking to the abusive person, so you don’t have to.