FAPA stands for Family Abuse and Prevention Act. A FAPA Order is a special type of protective or restraining order. It is customarily used to protect a person (petitioner) from abuse from a family or household member (respondent). To be eligible for a FAPA Order, the person seeking the court’s protection must be a “family or household member” to the person allegedly engaging in abuse. This means that the person requesting the FAPA Order must be a spouse, former spouse, adult related by blood, marriage, or adoption, involved in a sexually intimate relationship within the last two years, or be unmarried parents of a shared minor child. In special cases, a minor child may seek a FAPA order against an adult (18 years old or older) if they are spouses, former spouses, or have been in a sexually intimate relationship with the person at any time in the past.How do I get a FAPA Order?
In order for a court to grant a petitioner’s request for a FAPA order, he or she must demonstrate three specific things:
- First, the petitioner (the person seeking to obtain the protective order) must show that an incident of “abuse” happened within the preceding 180 days;
- Second, that the petitioner is in “imminent” danger of further abuse;
- Third and finally, that the respondent (the person alleged to have caused the abuse) presents a “credible threat” to petitioner’s physical safety or the safety of petitioner’s minor child.
Because it is the petitioner’s request for protection that starts this process moving, it is the petitioner’s burden to demonstrate by a "preponderance of the evidence" that these three requirements are met. Also, the person the petitioner seeks to restrain (the respondent) must have some sort of contact with the State of Oregon so that it does not violate the person’s constitutional right to Due Process for the State of Oregon to prohibit them from doing certain things.
One of the most commonly contested issues arising out of a FAPA Order is the right of the respondent to purchase or possess firearms and ammunition. If a court grants a petitioner’s request for FAPA protection, then the respondent is barred from purchasing or possessing firearms and ammunition in the State of Oregon. That prohibition expands and makes it a federal felony for the respondent to be caught with firearms or ammunition if the respondent contests the FAPA Order at a hearing and loses. Alternatively, if a respondent seeks to modify the FAPA order after his or her opportunity for a hearing has passed, then that will also raise the federal firearms and ammunition bar at that hearing.Defend Against a FAPA Order
FAPA's are a serious matter and like all protective orders, should only be sought to protect against abuse. Unfortunately, some people misuse the FAPA process and wrongfully seek a FAPA's protections. A petitioner seeking a FAPA Order is allowed to seek one ex parte—without letting the respondent know. Only after the initial ex parte FAPA Order is issued by a court will a member of law enforcement serve the Order on the respondent. Once he or she is served, there is a 30-day time period to request a hearing contesting the FAPA Order. Once that time period has expired, the FAPA Order is issued and can only be modified by the respondent. The petitioner, in contrast, can seek to have the FAPA Order dismissed.
For most respondents, the need for a skilled FAPA defense lawyer in these situations is crucial. The issuance of a FAPA Order against you can have serious and far reaching consequences. A FAPA can have a direct influence on any ongoing divorce, custody, or parenting-time proceedings. Immediately, the FAPA Order will dictate child custody and parenting-time in accordance with what the petitioner asks for, unless an exception applies. Consequently, even if child custody and parenting-time have been settled in the past, a new FAPA Order will overrule whatever has been agreed upon in the past.
A judge also has discretion to order other forms of relief as necessary. These other forms of relief go beyond the mandatory rules the court will put in place. Such relief could result in one spouse being forced to leave the home and a no-contact order being put in place, or other forms of relief as needed by the petitioner. The respondent may even be ordered to pay emergency monetary relief to the petitioner.
If you have been wrongly served with a FAPA, call the Donahue Law Firm today. One of our FAPA Attorneys will meet with you free of charge to discuss your case. Call Today: 541-241-657