How Do I Get a Restraining Order?


Posted almost 6 years ago. Applies to Washington, 17 helpful votes



No-Contact Orders

No-contact Orders (NCO) are issued as part of criminal cases. They can be issued by Municipal, District and Superior courts. There is no filing fee and the protected person need not request the order. Violation of this order usually results in criminal sanctions. These orders may have expiration dates, depending on the type of crime and the person protected. NCOs can be modified by motion to the court that issued the NCO. A common modification is to make a NCO into a "no hostile contact" order. NCOs can also be terminated by motion to the issuing court.


Domestic Violence Order of Protection

These orders are issued through Superior Court. You can do this without a lawyer. There is no filing fee. These orders are for family or household members, people with a child in common, or in dating relationships. DV is defined as physical harm, bodily injury, assault, stalking OR infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault. The court issues a temporary order which is good for 14 days and can be renewed until the respondent has been served and had 14 days to appear for court. At the hearing, both parties can testify and provide documentation. Orders are almost always granted unless the respondent can show very compelling evidence that he/she was physically unable to do the alleged acts (i.e., on active duty in military out of the area or already in jail). Orders are good for one year and can be renewed, modified, or terminated by motion. If petitioner fails to appear, petition is denied. Violation of this order can result in criminal charges.


Sexual Assault Protection Order

Superior Court issues these orders regarding nonconsensual sexual conduct or nonconsensual sexual penetration. There is no filing fee and you do not need a lawyer to get this order. Orders may be issued for a single act or multiple acts. These include penetration, touching/fondling directly or through clothes, intentional/knowing display of genitals for purpose of arousal/sexual gratification of respondent or third parties directly by respondent or through a third party. The person protected can be a minor or a vulnerable adult as well as any other adult. Orders may have an expiration date. They may be renewed, modified or terminated by motion to the issuing court. Violation of this order can result in criminal charges.


Antiharassment Order

District Court issues these orders. You do not need a lawyer, but there is a filing fee ($53). It is possible to get a fee waiver. Harassment is when you are seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed by conduct from another person which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. You have to show a pattern of conduct, not just one incident. Orders may have a expiration date. They may be renewed, modified or terminated by motion to the issuing court. If the petitioner fails to appear for court, the petition is denied.


Family Law Restraining Orders

These orders are issued by Superior Court when there is a family law case underway (divorce, paternity, nonparental custody) a party may make a motion for a restraining order against another party. It is common for both sides to enter into temporary restraining orders early in a case to give everyone a "cooling off" period. Restraints can include prohibitions against direct or indirect contact, harassment, coming within a certain distance of the person, home, workplace, school, or children's daycare. Also, there can be other restraints regarding removing children from the state. The remedy for violation of these restraining orders is more effectively contempt rather than criminal sanctions. Restraining orders can be made permanent in the final orders for the case. Before the case is finalized, restraining orders can be terminated or modified by motion to the issuing court.

Additional Resources

WA Courts Forms

Rate this guide

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask a Lawyer

Get free answers from experienced attorneys.


Ask now

31,735 answers this week

3,624 attorneys answering