A Peace Order is a type of restraining order which a Court can enter restricting a person’s lawful ability to contact another person. Although the terms “Peace Order” and “Protective Order” are often used interchangeably, they are not the same. There are several important differences between each. Whether you should seek a Peace Order or Protective Order largely depends on your relationship with the person from whom you are seeking protection.
Before you go into Court, you need to know whether you should be seeking a Peace Order or Protective Order. If you file for the wrong type of restraining order, the Court will dismiss your Petition because you do not satisfy the necessary relationship with the Respondent (the person who you are seeking protection from) in order for the Court to grant such an Order. Generally speaking, if you are in a domestic relationship with the Respondent (i.e. current or former spouse of the Respondent, relative of the Respondent, have a child in common with the Respondent, etc.), then you should seek a Protective Order. If you do not have a domestic or familial relationship with the Respondent, then you likely need to seek a Peace Order. You should consult with an attorney to first determine which type of Petition you must file based on your circumstances.
In order to obtain a Peace Order, you must demonstrate to the Court that the Respondent committed a certain type of act which warrants the issuance of a Peace Order under the law. The Court may issue a Peace Order if the Respondent has committed any of the following acts against you:
Notably, you must prove to the Court that one of the aforementioned acts occurred within thirty (30) days before the filing of your Petition. If the act(s) occurred outside of the thirty (30) day window, you will not be eligible for a Peace Order. This is different from a Petition for Protective Order, which does not require that a qualifying act be committed within the same time frame prior to the filing of your Petition.
If you have satisfied your burden of proof and demonstrated to the Court that a Final Peace Order is warranted, the Court will enter a Final Peace Order in your favor. But, what does a “Final Peace Order” mean and what can the Court actually order the Respondent not to do? As part of a Final Peace Order, the Court may do any or all of the following things:
By law, the Court will fashion the Final Peace Order in such a way as to contain only such relief as is minimally necessary to protect you from the Respondent. The Court will often tailor the relief in the Final Peace Order to your specific circumstances (i.e. the Respondent must stay away from your specific residence or place of employment).
A Peace Order may last for up to six (6) months. This is different from a Protective Order, which may last up to twelve (12) months.
Due to the short time window which you have to obtain a Peace Order, it is critical that you act quickly to receive protection from the Court. The law firm of Greenberg Legal Group LLC has handled many Peace Order matters and is here to help you. Please contact our office at (410) 673-4888 for further assistance.
Robert Greenberg is an experienced family law and civil
litigator serving clients across the State of Maryland.
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