How can an order of protection help me?
A temporary order of protection can:
- order the abuser not to abuse you or threaten to abuse you;
- order the abuser not to communicate with you or try to communicate with you; and
- order the abuser to stay away from any place you request including your school, home, child’s day care, or workplace.*
A final order of protection can:
- order all of the relief stated above;
- award temporary custody and visitation rights of your children
- order your abuser to pay temporary financial support for you and/or your child if you are married or s/he is the legal parent of the child;
- grant temporary possession of your shared residence (even if the respondent owns the home or is the only one on the lease) only if the respondent has a legal duty to support you or your children (i.e., s/he is your spouse or child’s parent);
- forbid the abuser from selling or getting rid of income, homes, or property you share;
- order who will get temporary possession of the personal property of the parties, including pets;
- order the abuser not to harm or harass any pet owned or kept by you, any family member named in the order, or the abuser;
- order law enforcement to help you remove personal property from the home if the respondent will be staying in the home and you will be leaving it;
- order the abuser to pay for court costs and your attorney's fees; and
- order anything else you ask for that the judge thinks is necessary to keep you safe.**
Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.
Note: Although the order of protection laws don't specifically say that a judge can prohibit firearm possession as part of your order of protection, South Carolina's gun laws require that "the family court judge ordered that the person is prohibited from shipping, transporting, receiving, or possessing a firearm or ammunition" in order for firearm possession to be illegal.*** There are also additional "findings" that the judge must make, as explained on our SC State Gun Laws page. Be sure to specifically ask the judge to include this language in your order if the abuser has a firearm.
* S.C. Code § 20-4-60(A)
** S.C. Code § 20-4-60(C)
*** S.C. Code § 16-25-30(A)(4)