Need to Protect Yourself in Your NYC Divorce?

Bikel & Schanfield New York Lawyers


Has domestic violence or the threat of abuse become an issue in your New York divorce?

Orders of protection, or protective orders, can offer protection from spouses who have threatened or assaulted you. These orders can be sought independently from, in advance of, or requested in conjunction with divorce proceedings. They may or may not have any guaranteed material impact on divorce proceedings, but they can be offered as evidence of abuse against the alleged perpetrator of violence giving rise to the order.

Protective orders can be issued in the form of a commonly known legal instrument: a temporary order of protection. These orders can be sought in connection with an array of underlying activities, including:

  • Domestic abuse or other violence between spouses
  • Stalking
  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Trespass
  • Child abuse or other violence against children
  • Disorderly conduct

Regardless of which of these bests encompasses your spouse’s or family member’s actions, it may be wise to enlist the assistance an attorney to move quickly to protect your physical well-being or the well-being of your children. Attorney Naomi Schanfield discusses the challenges of navigating NY domestic violence laws in her new guide.

Are you the subject of an order of protection?

If, on the other hand, a protective order has been sought or secured against you, or has already been put in place, violating the terms imposed by that order by continuing the activity giving rise to the order itself can have devastating consequences on potential or current divorce proceedings. Going outside of the terms of a protective order can result in significant legal consequences and impacts before the family law courts.

Do not be shortsighted. Seek the assistance of experienced attorneys to understand the terms of the protective order that has been issued against you. This can be a difficult step, but letting the situation deteriorate can only have a more significant impact down the road.

The attorneys at Bikel & Schanfield can provide clear guidance as it applies to the legal framework of protective orders and temporary restraining orders. Call us today.

What types of protective orders are available in my situation?

The New York courts of family law can issue a suite protective orders, and these can be temporary in nature or more extensive. First, applicants for divorce can obtain a temporary order of protection by describing in a petition the actions that are giving rise to the request for the order. That is, an applicant will have to tell the court about one or more of the incidents. This can be difficult, and attorneys can assist, but the rule of thumb is to tell the most recent incident, the first incident, and the worst incident.

A petition for a “temporary order of protection” can seek a number of different types of protection, which include the following:

  • A “stay away” order can direct the subject of the order to keep his or her distance from you. This can extend to your home, your place of work, your kids, and your kids’ school(s).
  • A “firearms” order can mandate the revocation of a firearms license from the subject of the order, or can even go so far as to order the surrender of the firearm.
  • A temporary child support order can identify the needs of your child or children and put in place a temporary structure to provide for their health and well-being.
  • An order barring certain acts can protect against the specific acts that gave rise to the order. Whether this is stalking, assault, or any of the other acts described above, a court can specify with some exactitude what behaviors have to stop.
  • A “belongings” order can arrange for police to escort you to your home to collect personal belongings. This can give you confidence in your safety while you take what you need, but keep in mind that there are date and time restrictions associated with this type of order.
  • An “exclusion” order can bar the subject from your home, provided the incidents giving rise to the order can demonstrate a need to exclude an individual from their domicile. While this can carry a higher burden, this is a strong form of protection for you and your children and, depending on the situation, the home need not be in the name of the applicant for the order.

This is not an exhaustive list of the types of protective orders potentially available to you. Whether you can seek and successfully obtain an order will be entirely dependent on the circumstances giving rise to the application.

Additionally, upon filing for divorce, an “Automatic Order” will be instituted that will operate to protect the status quo going into the divorce. This Automatic Order is a restraining order on both spouses to prevent the conveyance of assets and income that is otherwise not ordinary or customary. That status quo protection can extend to most anything that will be touched by the ultimate divorce proceedings, from marital property to shared business interests, to insurance policies covering you or your spouse or both.

How the NYC divorce lawyers at Bikel & Schanfield will help you.

Domestic violence and abuse are no small matters. Your safety and the safety of your children are paramount concerns, and should and often do take precedence over concerns for property and future divorce or custody proceedings.

The skilled team of NYC family law lawyers at Bikel & Schanfield have the extensive divorce trial experience necessary to navigate these complex and delicate dynamics. That’s why New York’s most visible and well-known families trust us to represent them in divorce.

We will listen to your unique situation with compassion, prepare you to explain your specific circumstances to the family court, and help you get the protection you need using strong legal tools.

If you seek to protect yourself in your divorce, or if your spouse is seeking an order of protection against you, contact Bikel & Schanfield today. We can help.

Bikel & Schanfield Domestic Violence Clinic

The Bikel & Schanfield Domestic Violence Clinic provides legal representation on a pro bono basis to a limited number of low-income domestic violence victims and to those falsely accused of committing domestic violence.

As part of the Clinic, our highly skilled attorneys represent clients in all aspects of the matter. We prepare the relevant petition, engage in case strategy and settlement negotiations, and represent clients in court. Our attorneys can also assist in making the necessary arrangements for clients who seek to escape an abusive and unsafe living situation.

Due to high demand and interest, we conduct an in-depth screening process prior to agreeing to represent a potential client. If you have any questions relating to our Clinic, or are interested in obtaining pro bono legal representation, please contact [hidden email].

If it is a true emergency, please immediately call 911.