Frequently Asked Questions
What is an Order for Protection?
An OFP is a court order to stop household or family violence, which usually takes place in family court. The court can order things that keep the abuser away from their victim and their home and work. The OFP can also have orders about restitution, chemical and mental health evaluations, domestic violence programming, child support, custody or parenting time (visitation).
What is the legal standard?
Very generally speaking, in order to obtain an OFP there must be Domestic Abuse as defined by MN Statue 518b:
• Physical harm, bodily injury or assault; OR
• Infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault, OR
• Terroristic threats, OR
• Interference with an emergency call, OR
• Criminal sexual conduct.
How long is the hearing?
Generally less than an hour. Waiting times for cases to be called can be longer, depending on the day.
How much time should I expect to spend preparing for the hearing?
5 -20 hours. This is dependent on the complexity of the case, your level of experience, and several other factors. Tubman staff are upfront about potential complications, difficulties, and the legal facts of the case.
How long will the entire case last?
Your representation is limited only to the OFP matter, so cases generally resolve after 1-2 hearings over the course of 2-28 days. The variation is due to the point at which you enter the case, court scheduling, and the availability of opposing counsel.
Does Tubman only represent women?
No. Domestic violence can be used against people of any gender identity and the Safety Project serves people without regard to their gender. However, the majority of our clients identify as female.
Do I need to attend a training?
Yes! Tubman holds new volunteer attorney trainings at least quarterly. The trainings are four hours long and cover everything you need to know to represent a victim survivor in court. Mentoring and shadowing opportunities are also available. If you have extensive OFP experience, please contact us about alternative options.
What resources does Tubman provide?
In addition to training, Tubman provides a training manual, sample pleadings and documents, mentoring and shadowing opportunities, and case consultation with our staff attorneys. Tubman can also provide a space to meet with clients if necessary as well as help with interpreter costs if your firm is unable to cover them.
I know nothing about family law. Can I still add value?
Absolutely. A staggering 70% of petitioners are unrepresented. This means some petitioners are preparing evidence and responses without any legal training. This also means that some petitioners are being cross-examined by the respondent’s counsel or the respondent themselves with no attorney to prepare them or defend them. As an attorney, you know a lot more than you think you do and simply having an attorney standing by can be empowering to clients. All of Tubman’s clients are low-income and do not have the resources to hire an attorney on their own.