Q&A: How to Get an Exclusion Order and Lock Your Spouse Out of the House

An exclusion order is a type of order of protection. You can only get an exclusion order if you and the abuser are living under the same roof. There are other types of orders of protection that you can get based on “intimate” nature of the relationship you share with the abuser. This is in New York. Similar laws probably exist in other states.

To give you the perfect example, in March 2017, celebrity R&B singer Chris Brown’s ex girlfriend Karrueche Tran went to court in Los Angeles to seek a permanent restraining order against Brown. In her motion papers her lawyers asked for a restraining order not just for her but also for her mother, brother and friends, all of whom were allegedly threatened by Brown who is accused of saying he was going to  “kill” his pretty ex. Did he actually say this? Who knows? The point is, Tran accused him of saying it and on that basis she asked the court for protection from him.

Brown and Tran were never married although at one point they may have cohabited.  Had she brought the petition when they were still living together, she could have asked for an “exclusion order” even if the home in question was owned and paid for by Brown – if they were in New York state. As it stands, in her March 2017 petition, Tran could not have gotten an “exclusion order” from Brown because the parties were living apart. What she requested and got was a “stay away order.”

Unfortunately, too many women, including those cohabiting with an abuser, end up in Karreuche’s place where they have to ask the court for a restraining order in order to keep their exes from literally killing them. Karrueche is lucky in that she has prior warning of her abuser’s intentions because apparently he is alleged to regularly post messages to her on social media. Not all women are so lucky as to receive prior warnings.

Whether you seek an exclusion order or a restraining/stay away order, you will need to file a petition with the court. You can file in either family court or criminal court – or both – in New York state. This may be true in all other states, although, I am not absolutely sure of the procedures in every state. You can either proceed with an attorney or go pro se. If you go pro se, normally a court clerk will help you fill out the order of protection. What information do you need to include? There is a website that offers plenary information about orders of protection which you can link to here. They detail exactly what you need to put in the petition for a protection order:

Since the Judge’s decision will be based on the information in your petition, you should give the clerk as many details as you can.
You should tell the clerk if your abuser has:

• Physically abused you (for example, slapped, pushed or choked you) or your children. • Threatened to hurt you, your children, or anyone else you care about, or to kidnap your children. • Threatened to hurt, or has hurt, a pet (“companion animal”). • Made you have sex with him or anyone else against your will. • Hurt you so that you needed to go to the hospital or the doctor. • Threatened to report you for abusing or neglecting your children. • Threatened you with a weapon (for example, a gun or knife) and,  if so, where he keeps it. • Thrown things around or broken things during an argument. • Used alcohol or drugs. • A history of mental illness.

• Been convicted of any crimes or was arrested for hurting you or  has a Criminal Court order of protection against him. • Violated or disobeyed an order of protection in the past.

Some abusers stalk their victims or physically assault them. Others go further by threatening to kill their victims either verbally or by brandishing fireams or knives. Others threaten to kill pets, children or family members. In extreme cases, abusers carry out the threats and this often ends in fatality.

As an example, in Karrueche Tran’s case, Brown is alleged to have threatened to “kill” her and she claims he also hit her and pushed her down the stairs. None of these assertions have been substantiated to my knowledge (he is innocent till proven guilty) it is he said, she said, at this point. However, the fact that Tran is asking for court intervention suggests at least an escalation in an feud based on intimate relations. This progression is quite normal in these types of cases. The fact that they are not married or living together does not reduce the likelihood of this type of altercation.

Indeed, that is exactly why New York recently extended its law to include parties who merely had an “intimate relationship” even though they never married. Brown and Tran had the requisite “intimate relationship“. They were an item for several years following Brown’s break up with pop siren Rihanna. But Brown stepped out on Tran, fathering a child with a third woman behind Tran’s back. Tran admitted that she was shocked and found out about the extra-marital child on social media and this led to their break up.

Since that time, they have been bickering on Twitter and other social media, till things went “nuclear” in March 2017 when Tran filed for an order of protection.
The good news for a girl like Tran is that at least they never married so she does not have to worry about locking him out of the house (the “exclusion order”.) This can actually lead to bigger conflicts between couples when one party feels they are being locked out of their own home.

The funny thing about Tran & Brown is that she had admitted that she had wanted a ring from Brown before getting pregnant with his child. But that ring surely will never come from Brown now that she has gotten a stay away order against him.