Is a family member abusing you?

News reports often focus on domestic violence where a spouse or intimate partner is perpetrating violence against their partner. In family violence, you may be experiencing abuse at the hands of a parent, sibling, or other relative. You can get protection from this abuse. Scroll down for important information and resources.

Obtaining a Protective Order

Obtaining Protection During Court Business Hours

  1. Go to the District or Circuit Court.
  2. Ask the Court Clerk's Office for a Petition for Protection form. Alternatively, you can access the form electronically.
  3. Complete the forms (including the ADDENDUM TO PETITION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER) and submit it to the Court Clerk’s Office.
  4. Appear before the Judge when called. As the person requesting protection, you will need to prove your case so be prepared to present any evidence such as police reports, photos, etc. if requested by the Judge. 
  5. The Judge will decide whether to grant a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) or not. If the TPO is granted, you (Petitioner) will need to be served the papers by law enforcement and the alleged abuser (Respondent) will also need to be served in order for the PO to be in effect. The TPO will include notification of the date and time for a hearing for the Final Protective Order (within seven days).
  6. At the Final Protective Order hearing, you and your alleged abuser will need to testify as to what happened. One or both of you may want to have an attorney to represent you. You will be subject to cross-examination from your abuser or his/her attorney if they have legal counsel and you will be able to provide witnesses and cross-examine at that time as well. You will need to prove to the Judge that you deserve the protection from further abuse for up to one year in order to have the Judge grant the Final Protective Order.

Obtaining Protection When Courts Are Closed

  1. Go to the local District Court Commissioner’s Office.
  2. Ask the Commissioner for a PETITION FOR PROTECTION form or access the form electronically. Complete the forms (including the ADDENDUM TO PETITION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER) and submit to the Court Commissioner.
  3. Wait for the Court Commissioner to review your submitted forms and answer any questions related to your allegations of abuse by a family member.
  4. The Court Commissioner will decide whether or not to grant you an Interim Protective Order (IPO) which is only in effect until the court reopens and you are scheduled for a Temporary Protective Order (TPO) hearing in front of the Judge. The Judge will then decide if you have sufficient grounds to continue the TPO until a Final Protective Order (FPO) hearing is scheduled (within seven days). It’s possible that if both parties are present to provide testimony at the Temporary Protective Order hearing and are willing to proceed, the Judge may elect to go ahead at that time with a Final Protective Order  hearing rather than schedule another hearing.
  5. Once the Court Commissioner makes a decision about issuing an Interim Protective Order, law enforcement must serve both you (The Petitioner) as well as the alleged abuser (The Respondent). Once both parties have been served with the Interim Protective Order, it is considered in effect.