The People’s Lawyer

Limitations of protective orders and children’s well-being

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2023 | Family Protection Orders

When families face conflicts requiring legal intervention, protective orders are often implemented. These orders are meant to safeguard individuals, especially children, from potential harm or dangerous situations.

However, it’s important to recognize that protective orders have certain limitations that can impact their effectiveness in ensuring a child’s safety and well-being.

Temporary protection

Protective orders can provide a sense of security for a while. They establish guidelines and restrictions to prevent contact between individuals involved in a dispute. This can be crucial in cases of domestic violence or high-conflict separations where children are caught in the middle.

Although these orders can offer a breathing space for families, what if the threat or harm extends beyond the time limit? Families still need to assess their situation and seek further legal remedies.

Communication challenges

Even though protective orders aim to keep children safe, they can accidentally make it hard for parents to talk. Children may do better when they can spend time with both parents, even if parents do not agree.

Abruptly limiting contact with a parent can lead to confusion and anxiety for children. So, it is important to find a middle ground. Safety matters, but there should still be a balance between ensuring safety and allowing essential communication for the child’s emotional well-being.

Enforcement complexity

Protective orders heavily rely on enforcement. However, ensuring compliance is not always easy. Law enforcers might not always be around to watch what happens, and sometimes, this can lead to breaking the established rules. The orders only work well if both people agree to follow them. That is what decides if they keep people safe or not.

Moving forward

To address these limitations, a holistic approach is crucial. Extension and modification of protective orders may be possible if the need arises. Families may also consider collaborative solutions such as mediation and counseling.  Also, an ongoing evaluation of protective orders can help strike a balance between protection and keeping family connections.

At the end of the day, the child’s best interests should always be at the forefront of decisions regarding protective orders.