A restraining order -- also known as a protective order, order of protection or protection from abuse order -- is a legal document that prevents an individual from being in close proximity to or contacting another individual, group or business. Restraining orders are usually sought by people who are being harassed or stalked, or who have been the victim of domestic or sexual violence. Most orders prevent the individual whom the order is against from coming within 100 to 500 feet of a person's home, workplace or school, as well as contacting them by phone, e-mail or any other correspondence.
Visit your county courthouse to pick up the appropriate forms in the Family court division. You can ask for the forms to file a restraining order from the clerk of the court.
Fill out your complaint, a document that you file with the court to initiate a lawsuit; that is what the forms you obtained from the courthouse will serve as. Bring them home and carefully fill them out, explaining why you need the restraining order. Provide information about previous incidents of violence or harassment that have led you to file for a restraining order and include dates, places and photographs documenting these incidents whenever possible.
Sign the forms in the presence of a notary public, who will notarize the forms for you so that they can be filed.
Go to the same county courthouse where you picked up the forms and tell the clerk that you would like to file to get a restraining order. You will need to bring identification with you and be able to provide information about the person you are filing for protection from, such as their name and address. You will be given a date for a hearing.
Attend the hearing to get a restraining order, or the matter will be dropped - and it may be held against you if you try to file for a restraining order again in the future. At the hearing, the judge will ask you to explain why you need a retraining order. Give the judge a detailed explanation of every previous incident, provide photographs and other evidence you may have and explain how you have tried to avoid your abuser. Explain why you are in fear that they will continue to harm or harass you.