To file a restraining order in Indiana, you first need to determine what kind of a restraining order you want. In Indiana, a plaintiff can file one of three types of restraining orders in cases of violence or the threat of violence to an individual. A protective order is used in cases of family violence. A no-contact order could apply to anyone who is not eligible for a protective order. A workplace violence restraining order is for violence and threats of violence in the workplace. Restraining orders are typically filed in civil court.
Determine what type of restraining order you qualify for or which type applies to your situation. Protective orders apply in cases of domestic or family violence, and also for stalking and sex offenses. A work-place violence restraining order is filed by an employer on behalf of an employee or an employee's family member under the threat of violence. No contact orders are filed by petitioners who do not fall in the above two categories, and only in connection with ongoing criminal or juvenile cases.
Read More: How Does a Restraining Order Work?
Obtain the appropriate forms and instructions for the type of restraining order you want to file.
Fill out the form completely. In the case of a protective order, you, as the petitioner, should have the full name and address of the respondent, which is the person you are trying to get a protective order against, as well as that person's birth date or Social Security number.
Make the appropriate number of copies for each of the forms. If you are filing a protective order you will need four copies of the petition: one for yourself; one to be served to the respondent; one for the court file and one for a worksheet; and one copy of the confidential form. The confidential form contains necessary personal information to be provided to law enforcement but it is confidential and not part of the public record.
Go to the nearest county court, ask for the civil clerk and file the papers with the clerk. There are no filing fees when you file a protective order.
Show up to the hearing. Soon after filing your petition, a hearing is scheduled so the judge can determine whether or not to issue the restraining order. WVRO hearings are usually held within 15 days. With protective orders, the judge may schedule an automatic hearing or the respondent can ask for a hearing within 30 days of the petition being filed.
If immediate protection is needed because of fear of an immediate danger, the petitioner or plaintiff, which would be the employer in an WRVO case, can request an ex parte order. The ex parte order is when one party has an opportunity to hear the complaint against him or her. An ex parte temporary restraining order is issued at the discretion of the judge and is done only in exceptional circumstances.
While you have the right to represent yourself in restraining order cases, if your case is complicated, you may want to employ the services of an attorney. Indiana law requires that certain victims of violence against women receive free legal help.
- If immediate protection is needed because of fear of an immediate danger, the petitioner or plaintiff (the employer in an WRVO case) can request an ex parte order (without the other side having an opportunity to hear the complaint against him or her). An ex parte temporary restraining order is issued at the discretion of the judge and is done only in exceptional circumstances.
- While you have the right to represent yourself in restraining order cases, if your case is complicated, you may want to employ the services of an attorney. Indiana law requires that certain victims of violence against women receive free legal help. See the fifth link in Resources for special state resources.
Faith O has covered politics and general news in Washington DC, Chicago and Maryland. Her writing has appeared in the Associated Press, Prince George's Sentinel, Northwest Indiana Times, Chicago Defender and Daily Southtown, among others. She has a Masters of Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School and a Bachelor's degree from Hampshire College in Amherst.