How To File for a Restraining Order

The relationship is over, but your ex has decided that you are not going to leave so easily.  In the heat of an argument a few cross words can lead to stalking and/or physical violence. When that line has been crossed you may decide that it is time to file for a restraining order. If you feel you or someone you love is in immediate danger, call the local police. The quicker you make it known to the authorities that there is a problem the quicker measures can be put in place to help keep you safe.

What is the restraining order meant to do?  The restraining order statute was created to protect individuals from domestic violence, which means physical harm, bodily injury, and assault including sexual assault, or the inflicting of fear of eminent physical harm. Domestic violence is defined as being between family members or people who are in a sexual relationship.

Here are some terms that you will hear when filing for a restraining order. If you are seeking a restraining order you are called the petitioner. The petition is the written request against the one you are filing the petition against.  The person you are filling against is the respondent.  Filing means giving the completed paperwork to the clerk of courts. The order is the judge's official decision, and is the official document signed by the judge that you must keep on you at all times. The restraining order is designed to immediately order the respondent to cease and desist any and all threatening behavior.

Finally, remember to think of your own safety first. Whenever you leave your place of safety (such as your home or workplace) take a trusted friend or relative, and as soon as you can follow these steps for filing a restraining order:

  • Allow yourself at least one hour and go to clerk's office at your local courthouse.
  • Request a Domestic Violence Restraining Order.  Fees may be waived in some circumstances; ask for details. 
  • Stay there if possible in order to complete the necessary paperwork; then return the packet to the clerk's office. The clerk will issue a court date after this process is completed.
  • The respondent will be served.
  • Appear in court on the assigned date.
  • After the judge signs the order take a certified copy to the local police department.


  • If you are in immediate danger and have no orders call 911 ask police to request an Emergency Protection Order; doing this will give you 5-7 days to go and file your petition.


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