Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act and Available Relief

Petitioning for Relief in Minnesota

A petition for relief under the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act is called a “Petition for an Order for Protection” (or “Petition for an OFP”) in cases of domestic abuse occurring in Minnesota. It is important to remember that a petition for relief from domestic violence or domestic abuse may be made by any family or household member. However,under Minnesota law a minor may make the petition through a family or household member or guardian; or this can be done by a reputable adult age 25 or older on behalf of minor family or household members if a judge finds it is in the best interests of the minor child. A minor child who is age 16 or older may make the petition on the minor’s own behalf against a spouse or former spouse, or a person with whom the minor has a child in common, but generally this can happen only if the court determines the minor has sufficient maturity and judgment and that it is in the best interests of the minor.

The petition must allege the existence of domestic abuse and be accompanied by an affidavit stating the specific facts and circumstances from which relief is sought. The petition must state whether the petitioner has ever had an OFP in effect against the respondent and provide information on other designated legal proceedings that are in effect between the parties. See Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 4.

Hiring an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to represent you in a legal matter such as these outlined above can certainly assist to properly accomplishing your goals.

Specific Relief Available in Minnesota

In a proceeding for an Order for Protection (OFP) under the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act, a judge may provide specific relief to the petitioner, but only upon proper notice and after a hearing. The relief includes the following: (1) restrain the abusing party from committing acts of domestic abuse; (2) exclude the abusing party from the dwelling which the parties share or from the residence of the petitioner; (3) exclude the abusing party from a reasonable area surrounding the dwelling or residence; (4) award temporary custody or establish temporary visitation with regard to minor children of the parties on a basis which gives primary consideration to the safety of the victim and the children; (5) establish temporary support for minor children or a spouse and order the withholding of support from the income of the person obligated to pay the support; (6) upon request of the petitioner, provide counseling or other social services for the parties, if married, or if there are minor children; (7) order the abusing party to participate in treatment or counseling services; (8) award temporary use and possession of property and make other orders regarding property; (9) exclude the abusing party from the place of employment of the petitioner or otherwise limit the abusing party’s access to the petitioner at the petitioner’s place of employment; (10) order the abusing party to pay restitution to the petitioner; (11) order the continuance of all currently available insurance coverage without change in coverage or beneficiary designation; (12) order, in its discretion, other relief it deems necessary for the protection of a family or household member, including orders or directives to the sheriff or constable.

Relief that is granted by the order is for a fixed period of time, and it may not exceed 1 year – unless a judge determines a longer period of time is appropriate, but this period of time must be a “fixed” period of time by the judge (NOTE: an order is also effective upon a referee’s signature) Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 6.

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