Restraining orders, also known as protective orders, are designed to protect you from domestic violence, sexual abuse, harassment or stalking. If an offender violates a restraining order, they will be subject to arrest. If you want to understand more about restraining orders and how to get one, here is more information.
Reasons for Protective Orders
A restraining order can help ensure the following:
- The offender can no longer directly or indirectly communicate with you, which means they cannot call you, go near you, your workplace or your home.
- It can also help protect children by restricting the offender from approaching the child's school or daycare.
- The order ensures that the offender is not allowed to purchase or own a gun or have a license to carry a gun.
Basis for Order
A civil court will determine the following when it comes to your restraining order request:
- If family violence, sexual abuse, human trafficking, harassment or stalking occurred
- Whether it's likely to occur again
- If you have a close relationship with the offender
You can also obtain an order if you've been stalked or sexually assaulted even if you have no prior relationship with the offender. Protective orders may also include other provisions, in addition to the main restrictions, including child support, child custody, visitation and orders about who gets property, like a house or car.
Submitting Your Application
Filing a restraining order is free of charge. To begin the process, you should contact your local district court clerk to request the necessary forms. After receiving and completing the forms, bring them with two copies to your county courthouse. To find your local district court, use this website. You must file the application in the county where you reside or where the offender resides.
Temporary Restraining Order
When you file your restraining order, you may receive a temporary order that is valid until your official court hearing, known as a "Temporary Protective Order." However, you may have to testify during a hearing when you file your application about the specifics of your case for this temporary order. The temporary order, if put in place, would provide protection for you while you wait for your hearing.
Your hearing should occur approximately two weeks after you submit your application. You must attend court and be sure to bring evidence to back your claims, such as arrest reports, photos of injuries or witnesses.
The judge will determine whether you have grounds for a restraining order and for how long. Your judge will sign your order if it's approved. You should take the original to your county clerk's office and request multiple copies. Keep one with you at all times and distribute copies to relevant parties such as your child's school and daycare center.