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Schlaich & Thompson Chartered Bel Air Family, Divorce & Criminal Lawyer

What Is A Protective Order In Maryland?


According to Maryland statute, a protective order is an order issued by the court that prevents an individual from committing certain acts against another individual. It is sometimes colloquially referred to as a restraining order. In this article, the Maryland divorce lawyers at Schlaich & Thompson Chartered will discuss protective orders and how they work.

Who can obtain a protective order in Maryland? 

For the court to grant a protective order, you must testify before a judge that you have a certain type of relationship with the individual from whom you want to be protected. The following relationships qualify for a protective order:

  • Those who are married, divorced or currently separated
  • Those who are related by marriage, blood, or adoption (including stepparents and stepchildren who have lived together for at least 90 days)
  • Those who have lived together in a sexual relationship for at least 90 days during the past year
  • Those who are the parents of a child in common
  • Those who’ve had a sexual relationship with each other in the past year
  • Those considered a vulnerable adult
  • Anyone who alleges they were raped or sexually assaulted in the past 6 months

Where do I file a protective order in Maryland? 

You can file a protective order by visiting the clerk’s office of your local District or Circuit Court. They will accept applications from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. When the District or Circuit Court is closed, you may file a protective order with your local District Court Commissioner. They are generally available 24/7. For more information on locating a District Court Commissioner, you can click the following link.

Why should I file a protective order in Maryland? 

If you:

  • Have been threatened and are in fear of serious imminent bodily harm
  • Been subjected to an act that causes serious bodily harm
  • Been assaulted
  • Been raped or sexually assaulted
  • Been falsely imprisoned
  • Been stalked
  • Been subjected to revenge porn
  • Or your child has been the victim of abuse at the hands of an adult

The Maryland courts can help protect you from further abuse. If you have been victimized by someone with whom you have an intimate or familial relationship, you should file a protective order.

What do I need to prove to obtain a final protective order in Maryland? 

The courts require that you prove two things before a judge to receive a final protective order in Maryland. First, you need to prove that you and the individual from whom you need protection have a qualifying relationship as outlined above. Second, you will need to establish that the person committed harmful qualifying acts and/or some form of abuse against you. The standard of proof in these cases is a “preponderance of the evidence.” So, the judge will make a decision based on whether it is more likely than not that the abuse occurred.

Talk to a Maryland Family Law Attorney Today 

The Bel Air family law attorneys at Schlaich & Thompson Chartered help those who are currently suffering unsafe conditions in their home file protective orders with the Maryland courts. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your options right away.

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