Do I file a police report if my husband violated a court order?

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Do I file a police report if my husband violated a court order?

I filed for divorce about a month ago. Since then my husband who still lives in my home removed the home computer that contains information that would incriminate him. Our financial information was on it which I was not permitted to know about even though I work. Then he stole all of our passports. I demanded my daughters passport as well as mine back. He finally gave me mine back. He is holding her passport and birth certificate hostage. Do I go to the police and file a police report? He violated a court order stating not to remove personal property from the residence or transfer personal property, which he has already done.

Asked on January 10, 2012 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Many states have criminal penalties for those who violate protective orders entered for victims of family violence.   This offense is called "violation of protective order."  The idea is to protect victims from future acts of violence.  The situation you describe seems more geared to protect property, rather than you, from violence, espcially since he has been allowed to live there.  You will have a difficult time making a criminal offense stick on a protective order that is structured mainly to protect property.  However, you should still call the police and make a report.  They may not do much, yet, but at least you can start documenting a record.  In addition to the police, you should file a motion for contempt or a motion for enforcement as soon as possible with the court that issued the order.  Many judges do not appreciate a disregard of their orders and can issue civil contempt orders, including jail time, for a violation.  In light of recent events, you should also file a motion to grant you exclusive use of the residence.  This is informally referred to as  "kick-out" order.  Once this order is granted, you need to arrange a time for him leave (in the order itself preferrably), and change the locks after he leaves.  With this order and the change of locks, you will have a much better chance of getting a criminal case, like burglary, to be enforced for the protection of your person and property.


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