How to File a Protective Order

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A protective order is granted for a specific amount of time by a judge.
A protective order is granted for a specific amount of time by a judge. (Image: gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com)

Being intimidated by the actions of another person can limit your activities, create undue stress in your life and render you helpless. A protective or restraining order is issued by a judge in instances where you can prove another person has threatened you or has the potential and motivation to cause harm. A judge can issue the order preventing the person from contacting you or coming within a certain distance from you.

Gather any proof you have of the behavior of the other person. A judge is not likely to issue a protective order against someone based on your word alone. If you have other people who have witnessed the behavior have them write a statement and appear at your court hearing as witnesses. save all emails, phone texts, phone messages, letters and anything else you can record as proof. Photograph injuries or physical damage to items if something has been destroyed.

Contact the clerk of the court in your city or county to obtain the necessary forms for the protective order. Ask the clerk of the court how quickly your case can be reviewed by the judge. In many states, a protective order request is high priority.

Complete the paperwork and return it to the clerk of the court. The paperwork should list your name, the person you are requesting the protective order against and the reasons for the request.

Attend the hearing. The judge will review your request and ask you any questions he feels necessary. Be prepared to tell your story, show your proof, and have witnesses ready to testify on your behalf. The judge will sign the order if he feels you have sufficient cause or deny the order.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your order is denied due to lack of sufficient evidence, you can file a new petition once you have obtained more proof.
  • A protective order is a tool to keep someone away. There is no guarantee that the person you fear will honor the protective order. Many have been victimized by people against whom they have had a protective order in place, with tragic results. The presence of a protective order does not mean you should let down your guard. Use common sense to stay safe.

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