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Domestic Violence -- What To Do, and How to File?

FAQ about Protection Orders

How can I get a protection order?

You can ask for a protection order if you have been a victime of a crime of domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, or financial abuse.  

Forms and instructions for reqesting protection orders are available online and from your local domestic violence shelter.

You can request an initial ex parte protection order, which can go into effect immediately, without a hearing, for 20 days. The court will then schedule a long-term hearing, providing you with a chance to explain why you need a long term (one year) protection order. Your abuser will have the opportunity to appear and argue against the order.

If the order is granted, it can order your abuser to stay away from you, your home, your work, and other places you are likely to be. A protection order can prohibit all forms of contact or monitoring of your actions, and temporarily address child custody and support.

Can I get a protection order for my children?

If your children were direct victims of a crime of domestic violence, you can request a protection order on their behalf. However, this is very difficult to do unless you personally witnessed the incident of violence. If not, you are putting your children in the position of testifying against their abuser in Court. Many judges will not allow children to participate in these proceedings, particularly if they feel it would be harmful for them to do so.

My English is not good when I am upset or nervous, may I request a translator?

Yes. The Court system is obligated to provide you with a translator during any domestic violence hearings. It is important that you request one as soon as possible to provide the Court with enough time to locate an appropriate translator and avoid delaying your hearing. 

I have a protection order from another state, do I have to request a new one?

No. You can register the out-of-state order with the local Court.

Do I need a lawyer?

Most protection order hearings are conducted without lawyers. The Court Sytem provides instructions on how to represent yourself through this process, though you may retain an attorney to represent you.

If your abuser brings an attorney to the long-term hearing, you may request a continuance so that you have time to find your own attorney. 

Last Review and Update: Nov 30, 2004