How Does A Protective Order Work? Lawyer Says...

This week, our family lawyers discuss how a woman's protective order works if she accidentally bumps into her ex in public.

The Question: I have a final protective order. How does the order work if we accidentally bump into each other in public?

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I was granted a final injunction for protection (domestic violence) against my ex husband. I've read it through and I'm a little confused. It clearly states he can't have any contact w[ith] me in any way, 500 feet distance from my house and employment, and 100 feet from my car.

My question is, if we were to bump into each other in public place or for if he goes somewhere he can reasonably expect me to be (like open house at school for the kids)...does the restraining order protect against that? I thought it would say somewhere he would have to stay X feet away from me at all time but I don't specifically see that.

The Answer: When "bumping" into each other in public, it's best for either one of you to leave the area, especially those who have the order against them. There are places a person with a protective order out against them cannot be in or at in Maryland.

We need to preface our answer that the poster of the original question does not live in Maryland but has a reasonable inquiry about protective orders and how they function.

Our state does not place distance restrictions on people with a protective order against them. Instead, the ruling states specific places the person cannot go, such as workplace, schools, gyms, home, etc. By having these stipulations, Maryland can prevent many accidental run-ins.

So, yes, a protective order does cover places where you'd expect to see your ex-husband. He would need to schedule separate meetings with the school to ensure you are not there at the same time he is.

Not to say a coincidental "bump into" the other doesn't happen.

When these situations occur, it is best for the person who has the protective order out against them to leave the area. Or, you leave the area. Either solution works and eliminates a violation of the order. In Maryland, any of the specific places mentioned where your ex is not allowed violate the order if he showed up to them.

No contact with you also means communications through texts, emails, phone calls, and social media. Any attempt at these kinds of communication would break the order.

A violation of a protective order brings criminal charges, so it is best to obey the order while it is in effect. Issuing an order is for your protection, so you should call the police to enforce the ruling if you do not feel safe.


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Our automatic disclaimer: We're lawyers, but not necessarily your lawyer, and do not represent the individual who asked this question. We're providing this information for general educational purposes based on the publicly available information provided by the anonymous Internet user. Any number of details may change how this individual's attorney may pursue this legal situation, differently from how we suppose above. If you have a similar question, then you should consult with a lawyer about your specific situation to get a "real" response!