If you’re being abused while pregnant, a protective order can put up a shield that the abuser can’t legally cross. Also referred to as restraining orders, they are physical documents that protect you legally. This gives you a chance to focus on what is really important – you and your unborn child. The process to obtaining a protective order is different for each state. CheckWomen’s Law to get the specific laws surrounding protective orders in your state. While we strongly suggest getting a protective order, keep in mind that it is only a piece of paper to an abuser that seriously wants to harm you. Keep yourself safe with support systems, as well. Having the protective order gives you the advantage if police have to get involved.
Marital status is one factor that affects the laws in different states. Most states allow you to obtain a protective order against someone you live with or are married to, but not all states recognize dating abuse situations. Our National Survey lets you see the breakdown of who is eligible for protective orders in your state. Your age is also a major factor depending on where you are. Many states do allow under 18 year olds to file for a restraining order on their own, but some states require an adult to be with you.
Protective orders can offer a lot of protection, but there are some things that aren’t guaranteed. Your abuser won’t necessarily be completely out of your life, especially if they are the father of your child. Visitation and custody laws might still give the father some rights to be with or around the child. Also, getting a restraining order against the abuser may spark reactions from those close to him, and the protective order can’t stop the abuser’s friends from being around you. Make sure you tell a school counselor, a parent, another trusted adult or the police about the situation you’re in if you start experiencing retaliations from friends of your former partner.
Keep a laminated copy of the protective order everywhere you go. Keep one at home, at school, in your backpack, in your car and everywhere else. It’s better to be safe than sorry with protective orders and it helps you legally if you have a copy of it conveniently located near you.
Check our blog on Thursday for more info on custody orders, the next step you should make to protect yourself against an abuser while dealing with pregnancy.