How to Get an Order
If you are a victim of violent harassment or abuse, or think
you may be in danger of becoming one, you can get an order of protection to
prevent the harasser from getting near you. Taking these simple steps will
ensure that the petition process goes smoothly and that your order of
protection is as effective as possible.
- Report harassment or violence to the
police and request an
arrest/criminal charge. In most states, you can't get an order of
protection unless the person harassing or abusing you has been arrested or
charged with a crime.
- Get a lawyer to help with the process. You can request an order of protection without a lawyer, but your chances
of getting the best order of protection will be greatly increased by hiring
an expert to help you.
- Pay the court fees, if necessary. Not
all courts charge for the filing process, but be sure to find out if yours
does, and pay the court fees promptly to avoid any delay.
- Get an order
of protection that will last for as long as you think you might be in
danger. Typically, orders of protection are good for one or two years.
If you have been a victim of violence or have reason to believe you will
be, courts can extend the expiration date on the order of protection.
- Make sure
your order of protection requires the harasser to turn over all weapons. Orders of protection in some states automatically include this demand, but
others may only include it if you can prove that the harasser has been
violent or intends to commit an act of violence.
- Ask the
judge to set limits for how close the harasser is permitted to come to
you. You can also ask the court to limit how close the harasser can
come to your children, caretakers, and/or pets.
- Ask the
judge to not allow the harasser to contact you by any method, including
phone and Internet. The judge can also prohibit the harasser from
contacting your family/friends as a way of getting a message to you.
Criminal Justice Intervention: Getting an Order of
Stop Domestic Abuse: Order for Protection
State Court Forms:
Petition for Order of Protection