In New York City, victims of domestic violence may obtain an Order of Protection from a criminal court, the Supreme Court, or from Family Court.

A criminal court order of protection may only be issued against a person who has been charged with a crime. This type of order of protection is usually issued as a condition of defendant’s release from prison or as a condition of release on bail. In a criminal case the prosecuting attorney may request an order of protection for a victim or complaining witness, and a judge may issue the order depending on the facts of the case. A criminal court order of protection may be issued even if there is no prior relationship between the victim and the defendant.

A Supreme Court order of protection may be issued as part of an ongoing divorce proceeding. If you are involved in an ongoing divorce case you may request an order of protection from the Supreme Court either orally during a court appearance or by written motion to the Court. This type of order of protection is usually issued against a spouse either before or during a divorce proceeding.

A Family Court order of protection is intended specifically to protect victims of domestic violence and abuse. To obtain an order of protection from Family Court, the person you are seeking protection from must fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Current or former spouse;
  2. Someone with whom you have a child in common;
  3. A family member to whom the victim is related by blood or marriage;
  4. Someone with whom the victim has had an “intimate relationship”. An intimate relationship does not have to be a sexual relationship. A relationship may be considered intimate depending on factors such as how long the parties have known each other, and how often they see each other.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN NEW YORK: To obtain a Family Court order of protection the victim (petitioner) must file a “family offense petition” alleging that one or more of the following “family offenses” has occurred:

  1. Harassment
  2. Stalking
  3. Disorderly Conduct
  4. Menacing
  5. Assault
  6. Attempted Assault
  7. Sexual Misconduct
  8. Reckless Endangerment
  9. Criminal Mischief

Obtaining An Order of Protection In Family Court:

To obtain an order of protection in Family Court you need to file a form called a Family Offense Petition (to view or download this form and other forms click onto the Forms link at the top of the screen). You may contact the Family Court in your county for help completing and filing the petition (Family Court contact information for each of the five counties of New York City is set forth below under “Where to File”). You should speak with an attorney or domestic violence advocate before filing if possible.

There is no charge for filing in Family Court. Once you have filed you will see a judge who will listen to your testimony and evidence and decide whether to issue a Temporary Order of Protection. If an order is entered, then the case will be scheduled for a prompt hearing. After the hearing and depending on the testimony and evidence offered at the hearing the judge may issue a final order of protection.

What Types of Relief and Conditions May Be Included in an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is very flexible and may include a wide variety of terms and conditions upon the defendant, including the following:

  1. To stay away from the home, school or place of employment of the other spouse or parent, or the child, and to stay away from any specific location designated by the Court;
  2. To permit visitation of children by a parent at stated periods or under supervision;
  3. To refrain from committing offenses against the petitioner (the petitioner is the party who requested the order of protection) or against the child, or against any person to whom custody of the child is awarded, or from harassing, threatening or intimidating such persons;
  4. To permit a designated party to enter the residence to remove personal belongings;
  5. To pay for medical care arising from the violence or abuse that formed the basis for the issuance of the order;
  6. To pay the reasonable attorney fees and court costs involved in obtaining or enforcing the order;
  7. To refrain from intentionally injuring or killing, without justification, any companion animal the respondent knows to be owned … by the petitioner or a minor child residing in the household; and
  8. To order temporary payment of child support and award temporary custody of children to petitioner.

WHERE TO FILE: You may file a family offense petition at the Family Court in either the county where petitioner (victim) lives, the county where respondent (abuser) lives or in the county where the alleged abuse took place. Petitioners who want to keep their address confidential should specifically state that in their petition, and should state it to the Court when filing.


Bronx County Family Court:900 Sheridan Avenue
Bronx County, NY
Phone: (718) 590-2681

Kings County Family Court:330 Jay Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: (347) 401-9790

New York City Family Court: 60 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (646) 386-5220

Queens County Family Court: 151-20 Jamaica Avenue
Jamaica, NY 11432
Phone: (718) 298-0197

Richmond County Family Court: 100 Richmond Terrace
Staten Island, NY 10301
Phone: (718) 675-8800

SERVICE OF PROCESS: After you have filed your petition and received a temporary order of protection, the Family Court will give you the necessary documents which must be served upon (delivered to) the respondent before the date of the scheduled hearing. The three documents which must be served are:

Summons (The summons form is not available on this website because it must be issued by the Family Court after you file your petition).

Family Offense Petition (Click the FORMS link above to view or download this form).

Temporary Order of Protection (Click the FORMS link above to view or download this form).

The Family Court should give you instructions on how to serve the papers on the respondent. You have the right to have the papers served by the local police department or sheriff’s office. You should call the sheriff’s office to find out the fee to serve the papers for you.

It is crucial that you make service as soon as possible because the temporary order of protection is not valid until it is served on the respondent. Furthermore, if you have not made service before the date of the hearing, the Court will most likely postpone the hearing. The Court generally will not enter a Final Order of Protection if the respondent has not been served with the Summons, Petition and Temporary Order of Protection before the hearing.

The petitioner is not allowed to try to serve the respondent because petitioner is a party in the case and parties in a case are not permitted to make service. Also, it may be dangerous.

If you wish to have your court papers served for you it is highly recommended that you use a professional process server such as Heaven Sent Legal Services. You are now on the Heaven Sent Legal Services website. To see our price list for service of process nationwide click the “Services“ link at the top of the screen. The fee for service of process in New York City is $85 for service within 3-5 days and. We also offer rush service if you wish service of process to be completed in one day. For further information you may call Heaven Sent Legal Services at (866) 331-4220.



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