How to File for a Protective Order in Each State

Every state provides the necessary forms online to help domestic violence victims protect themselves.

Each state is different, but they all have laws specific to domestic violence, and courts all provide some type of protective order for victims.

The orders go by various names, but the most common is an “order for protection.” Some states refer to them as restraining orders, no contact orders, or even just protective orders.

I highly suggest using an attorney to fill out and file the paperwork for you if you can afford one. Realistically though, using an attorney is not always feasible, especially if financial abuse has occurred and you are unable to afford one.

If you cannot use an attorney, at least try to find a local domestic violence victim advocacy organization that can help you fill out the forms and file them properly (for free). To find one, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline and they can connect you directly to an organization. Most states have them available.

For those that need to access the forms yourselves, the documents are available for free online. However, they can be difficult to find and it can be confusing knowing which ones are needed unless you are familiar with protective orders. For that reason I have compiled information on the court forms for protective orders by state. You can find the official forms for your state below.

For legal purposes: none of this information should be considered legal advice and I cannot guarantee that your motion will be granted. I have a law degree and experience with orders for protection, but I am not a practicing attorney. THIS IS LEGAL INFORMATION, NOT LEGAL ADVICE.

Courts usually provide instructions on how to fill out forms and file everything properly. Make sure to look for the “instruction packet” first before starting the process, it will make things much easier.

The forms are authorized to be used statewide, however, some courts prefer that you use the ones provided by their specific county. Call the court administrator in your county to find out their preference.

Additionally, the forms should be free for you to file, however, if they’re not you can file a “fee waiver” form (sometimes known as the “In Forma Pauperis” form). In order to qualify for that you must be living below the federal poverty guidelines or be able to prove extreme financial hardship.

Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

O’ahu

Maui

Hawai’i

Kaua’I

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

https://www.courts.state.md.us/courtforms?forms%5B0%5D=languages%3A59

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi: Legal Help Website

Missouri

https://www.courts.mo.gov/page.jsp?id=533

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

an advocate for victims of violence | ~on a mental health break, publishing only They Matter articles for the time being~

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