How to File a Restraining Order in New Hampshire

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In 1994, the New Hampshire courts developed protocols for the issuance of domestic violence restraining orders. Unlike criminal restraining orders, which are filed by state prosecutors, domestic violence restraining orders are civil matters and must be sought by individuals. Restraining orders procedures balance the constitutional rights of the restrained person with the emergency protection needed by domestic violence victims.

Locate courthouse. By law, you can file for a restraining order in either the county where you live or the county in which the other person lives. The locations of the superior courts in New Hampshire are available online (see Resources section for a link).

Get petition from clerk. Once you arrive at the courthouse, find the clerk of court and request the petition for a domestic violence restraining order.

Complete and submit petition form. Fill out the form with a brief description in your own words of why a restraining order should be issued. Keep in mind that a judge will only issue an order if there is abuse, assault, threatening, unlawful imprisonment, harassment, destruction of your property or stalking by someone in your family by blood or marriage, someone you live or lived with or someone you have had an intimate (but not necessarily sexual) relationship.

Wait for the judge. After you submit the petition, the clerk will take the form to the judge, who may want to ask you questions before deciding on the petition. If the judge agrees to issue the restraining order, you will receive the executed temporary order on the spot.

Tips

  • The temporary order you receive from a judge will expire unless you serve the restrained person with a copy of the order and attend a hearing for a permanent order. The clerk of court can help you with the forms for service of process. At the hearing, you should be prepared to present evidence to support your explanation of why the restraining order is necessary.

References

Resources

About the Author

Joseph Nicholson is an independent analyst whose publishing achievements include a cover feature for "Futures Magazine" and a recurring column in the monthly newsletter of a private mint. He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Florida and is currently attending law school in San Francisco.

Photo Credits

  • New Hampshire state contour against blurred USA flag image by Stasys Eidiejus from Fotolia.com