How to File a Protective Order Against Someone, and What About Family?

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To obtain a protective order against a stranger, spouse, ex-spouse or person with whom you’ve had an intimate relationship (not limited to sexual activity), you must file a motion in a court of law. The filing process requires multiple steps; but with each step you are protected until a final order can be handed down. As with any judgment, retain copies for your records and provide copies to interested parties. The court will also maintain a record of your case on file.

Visit the district court in your county and file a civil protection order against an abusive spouse or abusive person with whom you’ve had an intimate relationship. You can also file a civil protection order against a stranger, co-worker or acquaintance who has stalked, threatened or assaulted you. The county clerk will issue a form for you to complete.

Argue your case before a judge. Give specific examples of the abuse or stalking you allege took place. Provide photographic evidence, police reports and written statements from witnesses if available. The judge will issue the temporary order and set a hearing date -- which you and your abuser must attend -- within one week.

Visit a domestic violence agency in your city or town and notify the agency of your temporary order.

Attend your final hearing -- at which time a judge will issue a final protective order if he believes the abuse or stalking occurred as you have alleged. A final order offers long- term protection against your abuser.

Keep a copy of the protective order on you at all times.

Return to the domestic violence agency with a copy of your final order. Provide the agency with a copy for its records.


  • It is not necessary to notify your abuser of your protection order. Local authorities will do so on your behalf. Anyone can obtain a protective order; however, a parent, guardian, or custodian must file the petition on behalf of children under age 12.


About the Author

Charlie Gaston has written numerous instructional articles on topics ranging from business to communications and estate planning. Gaston holds a bachelor's degree in international business and a master's degree in communications. She is fluent in Spanish and has extensive travel experience.