A protective order is a stay away order that provides relief for certain victims of domestic violence.  The following categories of people are defined by statute as persons eligible for relief:

Current and former spouses

Cohabitants for 90 days

A person related to the respondent by blood, marriage, or adoption

A parent, stepparent, or stepchild (under certain circumstances)

Vulnerable adults

A person who has had a child with the respondent

A petitioner files for a protective order to seek relief against abuse.  Abuse has been defined by statute as the following:

An act that causes serious bodily harm,

An act that places the petitioner in fear of imminent serious bodily harm

An assault

Rape or sexual offense

False imprisonment

Stalking

A person can file for a protective order in the district or circuit court.

An interim protective order is a protective order issued by a commissioner when he/she has reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has abused or threatened to abuse a person eligible for relief.  If a petitioner receives an interim protective order, he/she will be scheduled to appear before a judge for a temporary protective order hearing typically within 24 to 48 hours.

A temporary protective order is issued by a judge when the judge has reasonable grounds to believe that the respondent has abused or threatened to abuse a person eligible for relief.  After a petitioner has received the temporary protective order, they appear in court the following week for the final protective order hearing.

A judge may grant a final protective order to a petitioner if the judge believes by the preponderance of the evidence that the respondent abused or threatened to abuse a person eligible for relief.  The final protective order may be granted for a period of time up to a year.

The relief that may be granted from a protective order is as follows:

The respondent refrain from abusing or threatening to abuse any person eligible for relief

The respondent refrain from contacting, attempting to contact, or harassing any person eligible for relief

The respondent refrain from entering the residence of any person eligible for relief

The respondent vacate the family home

The respondent remain away from the place of employment, school, or temporary residence of a person eligible for relief or home of other family members

The respondent remain away from a child care provider of a person eligible for relief while a child of the person is in the care of the child care provider

Award temporary custody of the minor child of the respondent and a person eligible for relief

Establish a visitation schedule

Award emergency family maintenance

Award temporary use and possession of a vehicle jointly owned by the respondent and a person eligible for relief

Direct the respondent or any or all of the persons eligible for relief to participate in professionally supervised counseling or a domestic violence program

Order respondent to surrender firearms

Order respondent to pay filing fees