Protective Order Vs Emergency Custody: What's the Difference?

Jul 29, 2023


When it comes to legal matters involving family disputes, understanding the difference between protective orders and emergency custody is crucial. These two terms may appear similar, but they serve distinct purposes and have different legal implications. In this article, we will explore the key differences between protective orders and emergency custody and how they can affect individuals involved in family law cases in Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

Protective Orders

A protective order, also known as a restraining order, is a legal document issued by the court to protect individuals who are victims of domestic violence, harassment, or other forms of abuse. This order aims to prevent contact between the victim and the alleged abuser, ensuring the victim's safety and well-being.

The issuance of a protective order typically requires evidence of an immediate threat of harm or a history of abuse. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney like John P. Bennett, who specializes in protective orders, to guide you through the legal process and provide the necessary support during this challenging time.

Emergency Custody

Emergency custody refers to the temporary transfer of child custody from one parent to another or to a third party when there is an immediate risk to the child's well-being. This type of custody is typically granted in urgent situations such as domestic violence, substance abuse, neglect, or other circumstances that may endanger the child.

The court determines emergency custody based on the best interests of the child, considering factors such as the child's safety, physical and emotional well-being, and the ability of each parent to provide a stable and nurturing environment. Seeking legal representation from John P. Bennett, Attorney at Law, can ensure proper legal procedures are followed to protect your child's best interests.

Key Differences

Evidence and Burden of Proof

  • A protective order requires evidence of immediate threat or a history of abuse to the victim. The burden of proof lies with the petitioner.
  • Emergency custody requires evidence of immediate risk to the child's well-being. The burden of proof may vary depending on the specific circumstances.


  • A protective order can be issued for a specific period, often ranging from a few months to several years, depending on the individual case.
  • Emergency custody is temporary and typically lasts until a formal custody hearing takes place, where a more permanent custody arrangement may be established.

Scope of Protection

  • A protective order primarily focuses on protecting the victim from contact or proximity to the alleged abuser.
  • Emergency custody aims to protect the child's well-being and may involve custody arrangements, visitation rights, or supervised visitation.

Legal Process

  • A protective order can be obtained through a specific legal process, involving filing a petition, attending hearings, and presenting evidence to the court.
  • Emergency custody may be granted through an expedited legal process, considering the immediate risk to the child, but it still requires a thorough evaluation by the court.


Being aware of the differences between protective orders and emergency custody is essential when dealing with family law matters. If you are facing a challenging situation involving domestic violence or the safety of your child, seeking professional legal assistance is crucial. John P. Bennett, Attorney at Law, is a highly skilled lawyer specializing in family law, protective orders, and emergency custody cases in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. Contact John P. Bennett, Attorney at Law, today to schedule a consultation and ensure your rights and the well-being of your loved ones are protected.