Domestic Violence Protection Order Process
How to Obtain a Protection Order
The following is a description of the typical procedure for obtaining an order for protection. It may be different in your county. This may help you understand why you are required to fill out certain forms, and provide information to the judge.
This is intended to be an overview. Detailed instructions on filling out the forms will be given to you with the forms, so do not be concerned if you do not understand everything described here.
- Request forms from the Clerk of the court.
- Fill out the forms as completely as you can. You may want to use some blank paper to practice on before filling out the section called "Statement of Petitioner" where you describe the abuse you have experienced. If you need a clean copy of a form, ask the Clerk for it.
- Return the forms to the Clerk, who will review them, checking for completeness, legibility and clarity of the Statement. The Clerk's job is to help you fill out the forms, not to render a decision on your request for help.
- There is no filing fee.
- You must first file the Petition for an Order for Protection with the Clerk. The Clerk then issues a case number.
- The Clerk files the original Petition and makes two copies, one for your records and one to be served on the Respondent.
- If you are requesting a Temporary Order, you will go to an ex parte hearing before a judge or commissioner.
- Return to the Clerk's office after the hearing. The Clerk files the signed Temporary Order and makes the necessary copies. Discuss with the Clerk how many copies you need, since additional copies may be needed for schools, daycares, etc.
- The Clerk will forward a packet containing a copy of the Petition for the Order for Protection and a copy of the Temporary Order to the law enforcement agency where the Respondent lives so that it can be served on the Respondent. A Return of Service form and a Law Enforcement Information Sheet will be included for law enforcement's use. (If you decide to make private arrangements for service, the Law Enforcement Information Sheet is not included in the packet.)
- The Clerk will forward a copy of the Temporary Order and a copy of the Law Enforcement Information Sheet to the law enforcement agency where you live so it can be entered into the statewide law enforcement computer system. This is to assure your order can be enforced by the police or sheriff. The Law Enforcement Information Sheet will not be given or shown to the Respondent.
- You should have the following paperwork when you leave the court:
- copy of the Petition for an Order for Protection
- the original completed Law Enforcement Information Sheet
- at least one certified copy of the Temporary Order. You should carry one copy with you at all times. You may want another copy to keep in a safe place so there will be a copy available to show police in case of a violation.
- a completed Order for Protection form to be presented at the full hearing for the judge's review and signature.
- You will return for the full hearing within fourteen (14) days. Bring all of your paperwork with you!
- The judge or court commissioner decides at the hearing whether to grant the Order for Protection. The court can proceed with this hearing if Respondent is present or if there is proof that Respondent was served at least five judicial days prior to the full hearing.
- The court cannot continue with the hearing if there is no proof of timely service on Respondent. In that situation, you may obtain a reissuance of the Temporary Order and attempt to have Respondent served.
- The Order for Protection or a reissued Temporary Order must be filed with the Clerk. The Clerk makes copies as described above, including copies for you to take with you.
- Unless Respondent was at the hearing and received a copy of the Order, a packet containing either the Order for Protection, or the reissued Temporary Order and Petition for the Order for Protection, is forwarded to Respondent's law enforcement agency for service on Respondent. A Return of Service form and the Law Enforcement Information Sheet are also included. If you decide to make private arrangements for service, the Law Enforcement Information Sheet is not included in the packet.
- If Respondent was at the hearing and signed the Order, further service is not necessary.
- A copy of either the signed Order for Protection or the reissued Temporary Order are forwarded with a Law Enforcement Information Sheet to the law enforcement agency where you live for entry in the statewide computer system.