Understanding Protective Orders
Protective Orders and Orders for Protection are civil orders entered to protect victims of domestic or family violence, sex offenses and stalking. In order to obtain a Protective Order, the petitioner (individual seeking protection) needs to be a victim of domestic or family violence and the respondent (individual against whom protection is sought) must be a family or household member. In order to obtain a Protective Order for a stalking or sex offense, the respondent does not have to be a family or household member.
If domestic or family violence, sex offense or stalking has occurred, the petitioner may file a petition without a filing fee, in the county in which the petitioner, respondent or incidents occurred. After the petition is filed, the court will either grant or deny the Petition for an Order for Protection. The court may grant an Order ex parte (without a hearing) for a period of up to two years, during which the respondent will be ordered:
- Not to commit or threaten to commit domestic or family violence, a sex offense, or stalking against the petitioner or the petitioner’s family or household members;
- Not harass, annoy, telephone, or indirectly or directly contact the petitioner; and/or
- To stay away from a residence, school, place of employment, or other place.