How to File a Restraining Order in South Carolina

By Kelli Cooper

South Carolina has several forms of court orders offering protection from a variety of circumstances. A restraining order prohibits a person accused of stalking harassing or abusing someone from contacting another person says, WomensLaw.org. Restraining orders do not apply to spouses and lovers or family members -- this requires a different type of order. Violating a restraining order can have a variety of consequences. South Carolina outlines a series of steps you must take to file a restraining order.

Call the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault or visit your local police department to find information about legal advocates. They can provide free assistance in helping you obtain a restraining order and handling any other relevant matters if you do not think you can do it on your own.

Go to the magistrate court in the county where the offender resides to fill out the paperwork. In order to file a restraining order in South Carolina, the offender must have committed at least two instances of harassment or stalking in the last three months. According to the South Carolina State Legislature website, the state does not allow the courts to charge a fee for filing the request nor to deliver the paperwork to the defendant and requires the magistrate court to provide all the necessary paperwork for filing the motion and complaint to the plaintiff if she does not have legal counsel.

Tell the court if you believe you are in immediate danger. In this instance, the court can file a temporary order within 24 hours of filing without having to inform the defendant first. According to the South Carolina State Legislature website, this will remain in effect until the hearing to determine the need for a permanent order.

Attend the hearing to determine if the order will be granted or extended -- in the case of a temporary order. South Carolina law dictates the court must hold a hearing within 15 days of issuing the complaint to the defendant but cannot take place for at least five days after. If the court finds good cause, it will grant a restraining order for up to one year. The state requires you to file an official motion for any extensions and will give the defendant an opportunity for a hearing within 30 days of the expiration of the current order.

About the Author

Kelli Cooper has been a writer since 2009, specializing in health and fitness. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers University and is a certified personal trainer with the American Council on Exercise.

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