Domestic Violence and Protection Orders
I Need Protection. What Do I Do?
Order of Protection. This is the most restrictive and most protective of any orders. It can (and usually does), put in place these restrictions:
It prevents the Respondent from appearing at your home, work, school, or the school or daycare of their child or children.
It prohibits the Respondent from having any contact with a child or children, or it may establish a simple visitation schedule for the children. It is NOT a replacement for a parenting plan, and you cannot permanently modify a parenting plan through a protection order. (But it does buy you time to get a modification started…)
It can order the Respondent to attend counseling or undergo a drug/alcohol evaluation.
It can provide you the use or possession of the house, the car, and personal effects.
It can order other restrictions as well.
IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED WITH AN ORDER OF PROTECTION, FOLLOW IT STRICTLY. IF YOU EVEN KNOW YOUR PARTNER GOT ONE, BUT YOU HAVE NOT BEEN SERVED, ACT AS IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED.
Procedure for Getting An Order of Protection:
Temporary Order for Protection: A temporary Order for Protection provides protection from another person during the period of time it takes for a court to conduct a hearing determining the necessity of a permanent Order. Temporary Protection Order requests may be filed in Municipal, District, or Superior Court. Normally, if you get a Temporary Order in District Court, it will be transferred to Superior Court.
A Temporary Order requires filing a petition and judge approval. Once these prerequisites are met, a Temporary Order is immediately entered. The party against whom the Order is entered, the Respondent, is served a copy of the Order by the local sheriff. Most applications (perhaps 80-90% of petitions are approved.
Orders for Protection are registered in a state-wide computer system and are enforced throughout Washington and other states. Orders are entered for a fixed period of time or on a permanent basis. Orders protecting a child or children are renewable, and must be renewed by the court, unless the other side can demonstrate he is no longer a risk to the individuals in the Order for Protection.
Restraining Orders: If a family law action such as a divorce, you can request a Restraining Order in the initial hearing. Restraining Orders are entered first on a temporary basis. They may be made permanent at the end of the case. A Restraining Order may order the Respondent to stay away from the Petitioner and the child/children and exclude him or her from the Petitioner’s home, workplace, daycare, or school. The Respondent can also be ordered not to remove the child/children from the jurisdiction of the court. Other restraints may be added if appropriate. It may also – and usually does – restrict parties from getting rid of assets, canceling insurance, etc.
The Restraining Order can be enforced in the same way as an Order for Protection. If a violation of the order is reported, the police must enforce the order by arresting the Respondent.
Anti-Harassment Orders: This order applies when a person has been seriously intimidated, annoyed, or harassed. The parties involved are generally not married, have not lived together, and have no child/children in common. The Petitioner must prove that the other person's conduct was such that it would cause any reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress, and that the other person's conduct was intentional or willful and did not serve any legitimate or legal purpose. This is different from the definition of domestic violence and may not involve the same penalties for violations. A petition for an Anti-Harassment Order is typically filed in district court.