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What is a Protective Order?

A "Protective Order" is a form of relief available from the Court for victims of domestic violence.

In Maryland, a person is eligible for a Protective Order if they: are the current or former spouse of the alleged abuser, have a child with the alleged abuser, had an intimate relationship and lived with the alleged abuser for 90 days within the last year or are related by blood or marriage to the alleged abuser.

To obtain a Protective Order, the victim must prove one of the following acts occurred: an act that causes serious bodily harm or places the victim in fear of imminent serious bodily harm, assault of any degree, rape or sexual offense or attempted rape or sexual offense, false imprisonment or child abuse.

Under a Protective Order, the Judge may order: the alleged abuser to stop the abuse, stay away from the victim, children or other family members, stop contacting the victim, vacate the family home, pay emergency financial support, attend counseling and surrender firearms. The Judge may also award temporary child custody, visitation and use and possession of the family home and/or jointly owned car. Protective Orders may be issued for up to one year.


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Maryland Family Law recognizes eight different grounds for divorce. Adultery, voluntary separation (for at least 12 months), imprisonment (with a sentence of at least three years and at least 12 months already served), and living separate and apart (for at least two years), are among some of the reasons. For the court to grant a divorce based upon any of these grounds, they must be proved in court through evidence and testimony.
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