How Does a Protection Order Affect Child Visitation?

April 20, 2024by Adam Sacks

What is a Protection Order?

Protection orders, commonly known as restraining orders, are legal documents that aim to safeguard individuals, particularly victims of domestic violence, from further harm. In the context of child custody cases, these orders specifically regulate the contact and visitation rights between a parent and child.

Such orders are often sought when there is a history of domestic violence or when there is They are intended to ensure the safety and well-being of victims of domestic violence, stalking, or any form of abuse. These orders outline specific actions that the respondent, typically the abuser, must adhere to, and prohibit them from engaging in any further abusive behaviors towards the victim.


Types of Protection Orders

Several different types of protection orders can be issued to individuals in order to protect them from harm or harassment. Three common types of protection orders include temporary restraining orders, emergency protective orders, and permanent restraining orders.

A temporary restraining order (TRO) is a court-issued order that is designed to protect an individual from immediate harm or harassment. It is typically granted based on an individual’s belief that they are in immediate danger. A TRO is effective immediately upon issuance but usually lasts for a short period of time, typically 10 to 14 days. During this time, the court will schedule a hearing to determine if a permanent restraining order is necessary.

An emergency protective order (EPO) is similar to a TRO but is typically issued by law enforcement officers instead of a court. It is intended to provide immediate protection to an individual who is in immediate danger, often in cases of domestic violence. An EPO is typically valid for a short period of time, usually 3 to 7 days, during which the court will hold a hearing to determine if further protection is necessary.

A permanent restraining order is a long-term legal order that is intended to protect an individual from ongoing harm or harassment. It is typically issued after a hearing where evidence of harm or harassment is presented. A permanent restraining order can cover a broad range of behaviors, such as physical violence, threats, stalking, or harassment, and can last for an extended period of time, often several years.


Types of Protection Orders


Impact of Protection Orders on Child Visitation Rights

Protection orders play a key role in safeguarding individuals, especially children, from domestic violence and abuse. While these orders are essential for ensuring the safety and well-being of those involved, they can also have an impact on child visitation rights.

Restrictions on Visitation for The Abuser

When it comes to cases of domestic violence, strict restrictions are often placed on visitation for the abuser. These restrictions are implemented to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim and any children involved.

Court assessments are conducted to determine what is in the best interest of the child. This assessment takes into account various factors such as the history of domestic violence, the aggressor’s behavior and actions, and the potential risk to the child if visitation is granted.

If it is determined that allowing visitation with the abuser poses a risk to the child’s safety or well-being, limitations or even revocations of custody and visitation rights may be imposed. The court’s ultimate goal is to protect the child from harm and create a safe environment for them.

In the case of a restraining order being in place, the abuser must adhere to its conditions, which often include staying away from the victim and any minor children. Violating a restraining order can lead to severe consequences, including potential jail time. This is done to further deter the abuser from engaging in any harmful or violent behavior. The court takes breaches of restraining orders very seriously as they understand the importance of ensuring the safety and security of those affected by domestic violence.


Ensuring the Safety of The Child During Visitation

Ensuring the safety of a child during visitation is of utmost importance, especially when potential risks or concerns are present. Several measures can be taken to safeguard the child’s well-being in such situations.

One measure the court may take is requiring supervised visitation, where a neutral third party is present during the visitation to ensure the child’s safety. This person can be a professional supervisor or a trusted family member or friend who can monitor the interaction between the child and the visiting parent.

Another option is to have visitation in protected places. These can include public spaces, visitation centers, or the presence of security measures depending on the level of risk. By meeting in an environment where potential dangers can be minimized or controlled, the safety of the child is prioritized.

Prohibiting overnight stays can also be an effective safety measure. Overnight visitation may bring additional risks and challenges, so it may be necessary to restrict such visits. This ensures that the child’s safety is not compromised during vulnerable periods, such as when they are asleep or have limited means to seek help.

In extreme cases, it may be necessary to prohibit contact between the child and the visiting parent altogether. This measure is typically implemented when there are serious concerns about the parent’s ability to provide a safe environment for the child. Prohibiting contact ensures the child’s safety by completely eliminating any potential harmful interactions.


Ensuring the Safety of The Child During Visitation


Legal Procedures for Modifying Visitation Rights with A Protection Order

When a protection order is in place, altering visitation rights becomes a complex legal process that requires careful consideration. Navigating the legal system in such cases demands a comprehensive understanding of the specific rules and regulations governing visitation, as well as the implications associated with the protection order.

Parents must approach the modification of visitation rights with sensitivity and diligence, ensuring the safety and well-being of all parties involved. By following the prescribed legal procedures, individuals seeking to alter visitation rights can strive to create a secure and conducive environment for the child while maintaining a fair and just approach to all parties’ rights and responsibilities.


Seeking Modification Through Family Court

The first step in intentionally seeking a modification of visitation due to safety concerns is to file a petition with the family court, outlining the desired modifications and providing a valid reason for the requested changes. Gather supporting evidence, such as financial documents or medical reports, to strengthen the case.

Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing, where both parties involved will have the opportunity to present their arguments and evidence. Mental health issues may also be taken into account.


Hiring a Family Law Attorney for Legal Assistance

Hiring a family law attorney for legal assistance in child custody/visitation cases can provide numerous benefits. These attorneys specialize in navigating the court process and have a deep understanding of the intricate laws relating to child custody and visitation. By hiring a family law attorney, individuals can ensure their rights are protected and receive expert guidance in complex situations, particularly those involving domestic violence.

Family law attorneys excel in guiding their clients through the court process, which can be overwhelming and confusing for individuals without legal expertise. They have extensive experience in handling child visitation cases, allowing them to provide valuable insights and strategies to achieve the most favorable outcome for their clients.

If you are in need of a restraining order or a temporary custody order in Florida, contact Sacks & Sacks today for a consultation.


Hiring a Family Law Attorney for Legal Assistance



Q. What are visitation rights?

Visitation rights allow non-custodial parents and sometimes other family members, such as grandparents, to have access to children. These rights are granted by the court when it is deemed beneficial for the child. [1]

Q. What is a protection order?

Protection or restraining orders are usually issued by a court in cases of domestic abuse, sexual assault, harassment, stalking, and other forms of domestic violence. [2]

Q. Will a protection order affect visitation rights?

In situations involving domestic violence arrests, courts have the authority to issue temporary restraining orders that prohibit an individual from having contact with their children. [3]



[1] Visitation Rights: Types, Laws & More – Forbes Advisor. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2024, from

‌[2] Domestic Violence: Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders. (n.d.). Findlaw.

[3] Devendorf, John. (2023, November 15). Will My Domestic Violence Charges Affect My Child Custody? (Nicole Prebeck, Ed.) [Review of Will My Domestic Violence Charges Affect My Child Custody?]. Lawinfo.

by Adam Sacks

Adam Sacks is lead Family Law Attorney at Law Offices of Sacks & Sacks, P.A. in Jacksonville, Florida. He has a BA in Psychology from 1994, and received his Juris Doctor Degree in 1999 from the Western Michigan University Cooley Law School.

Sacks and Sacks Law
1646 Emerson St. Suite B Jacksonville, FL 32207

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