A protective order is defined as an official legal order issued by a state court that requires the abusive person to stop the violence or abuse and maintain a certain distance from the victim. It can lead to legal action or arrest if the protective order is violated. Protective orders can also be called restraining orders, an order or protection, or an injunction.
Why would I file a protective order?
Protective orders allow for legal protection against an abuser. A protective order can provide certain benefits when requested such as financial support, custody of children, and/or having the abuser leave the residence. While there are advantages to filing a protective order, it can have disadvantages in certain cases. Since both parties receive notification of the protective order being filed, this can cause some abusers to become more dangerous. Some abusers do not comply to the protective order and continue communication with the petitioner.
How can I file a protective order?
Appropriate forms must be filled out and submitted to the county courthouse. In Missouri, an individual can file an Order of Protection either in the county where they reside, the county where the abuser resides, or in the county where an incidence of violence has occurred. After filing the protective order, a court date will be set and attendance at the court date is required if the petitioner wants the order of protection to be granted, Both the petitioner and respondent will be informed about the submission of the order.
What is the difference between the petitioner and the respondent?
The petitioner is the person that has been a victim to domestic violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking.
The respondent is the person that has allegedly committed an act of domestic violence, sexual violence, and/or stalking. The respondent is also the person that the protective order is being directed against.
What is the difference between an ex parte and a full order of protection?
An ex parte is a temporary protective order. This temporary protective order is what goes into effect if granted until the hearing for the full Order of Protection. Court hearings are usually set within 15 days of the ex parte being filed and a full order of protection is typically valid for 180 days but will expire before the end of one year.
How can I use the order?
- Keep a copy of the order with you at all times (glove box, purse, etc.), give a copy to others who need to know (school, family, etc.), and keep an extra copy in a safe place
- Document all contact with the respondent, even if it is court approved. This includes contact via phone, email, text, mail, face-to-face)
- Call the police if the respondent violates the order. Be sure to tell them that you have a protective order and give them the case number
- If you need to exchange children or property, pick a public place, have a safety plan, and bring a witness if possible.
How can CARDV advocates help you with a protective order?
If you choose to pursue a protective order against a respondent, advocates at CARDV can help you complete the necessary forms in order to submit the protective order. CARDV advocates are additionally available for emotional support and guidance through the court process. If you are interested in submitting a protective order or receiving advice about the protective order, please call our help line (573-642-4422) or our toll free number (866-642-4422).
Resources on Protective Orders
Missouri Courts Website
-Adult Abuse Forms
-Information for Both Parties
-Protective Order Form for an Adult in Missouri (Available to print)