You Have an Ex Parte Protection Order, But He's Still in the Home

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


Now that I have an Ex Parte Protection Order against my abuser, does he have to move out of our home or stay away from our home?

  • No. To have him ordered to leave the home, or to keep him from moving back in, you need a specific court order.
    • Many judges will not order an abuser out of the house without a hearing. Some won't even do this after a hearing.
    • A judge is more likely to order an abuser who has temporarily left the home not to return than to kick him out.
  • Before any order becomes final, your abuser should get notice of the PFA case and be allowed to tell his side to the judge at a hearing.
  • Even a final PFA order will usually last for only one year. A judge can order it to last for a longer (or shorter) time.

If the judge did not order him out of the house right away, does this mean that my abuser will get the house after the hearing?

  • No. By not ordering your abuser out of the home right away, the judge is not saying what will happen when you come back to court.
  • Many judges think that fairness requires the defendant get a chance to tell his side of events before the court makes a decision as important as throwing him out of the house.
    • Judges do not like to enter orders making major changes without a hearing. For this reason, you may have to wait for the hearing to get some of the relief you need.
  • However, in serious emergencies, judges may be willing to grant special relief.
    • If you need extra relief, ask for it. However, take special care to explain the reason in specific detail. Show the need with copies of police reports, medical reports, and other evidence.

Can I stay in the house with my abuser while waiting for the hearing?

  • It is never a good idea to stay in the same home with your abuser while you are waiting for the court date.
    • It is very dangerous for you and your children.
    • The judge may assume that you are not really afraid of him.
  • If the judge believes you are not afraid of your abuser, the judge may deny you any relief.
  • Although it may be inconvenient for you and your children to leave, safety may require it. Hopefully, it will only be temporary.

Remember that the risk to you and your family may increase when you leave your abuser or file for a protection order.

  • Let your local domestic violence program help you design a safety plan for you and your family. Call the toll-free 24 hour Crisis Line at 1-800-650-6522 to be connected to the program closest to you.
  • If you cannot safely stay with family or friends, you may be able to stay at your local domestic violence shelter. For help finding emergency shelter 24 hours a day, call the Crisis Line at 1-800-650-6522.

If I need to go into shelter, how do I get there?

  • You must first call the shelter and be cleared by the staff.
  • To protect you and other women and children at the shelter, they try to make sure that your abuser cannot find out the location of the shelter by following you there.
  • The shelter can help you arrange safe transportation from a secure location.
  • You can take your children. You can take your car. You can continue to work and your children can continue to go to their regular school, if safety allows.
  • A shelter is a place where you and your children will be safe.

Note: Your local Alabama domestic violence program has other services that may benefit you in your time of need. These services might include counseling for adults, counseling for children, safety planning, and/or referral to other service agencies. Please contact your local program to determine what is available in your area. Call Alabama's Domestic Violence Hotline Toll-Free at 1-800-650-6522 to find your local program.

You can get a list of shelters in Alabama at ACADV: List of Member Shelters.

If you do not live in Alabama, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3244 (TTY) for assistance.

Reviewed May 2012 offers legal information, not legal advice. We try hard to make sure this website accurately explains your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For this sort of legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call Toll-Free 1-866-456-4995. You can also Apply Online.

Last Review and Update: Jul 10, 2012
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