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
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