How Do You Obtain a Protection Order?

Domestic violence is a serious problem in America. Many victims worry about their safety if they leave or if the abuser leaves.  Seattle protection order attorney Jennifer Horwitz can help you obtain a protection order prohibiting the person responsible for the abuse from contacting you or coming near you.

What is a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

A domestic violence protection can prevent a victim (protected person) from having any further contact with the person who is stalking, harassing, threatening or abusing them (respondent). A protection order can:

  • Prevent the respondent from entering places where the protected person may be located, including the person’s work, residence, school and other locations where both people may see each other.
  • Prevent the respondent from contacting the protected person by any means, including by telephone, in person, email, text, or mail.
  • Prevent the respondent from using a third party to contact the protected person.
  • Prohibit stalking, harassment, cyberstalking, and electronic surveillance.
  • Require the respondent to surrender all firearms

There are a variety of protection orders provisions that a court might enter in a domestic violence situation. The  terms of the protection order depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.

For example, an order can require the respondent to stay a certain distance away from the petitioner and locations where he or she may be and can limit other conduct on the part of the respondent that is threatening, harassing, intimidating or hurtful to the petitioner.

Who Can Get a Protective Order?

A protective order can apply to certain individuals who are in a domestic relationship, including:

  • Spouses
  • Former spouses
  • Adult persons who reside together or previously resided together
  • Persons who are dating or previously have dated
  • Adults related by blood or marriage 
  • Individuals with a legal parent-child relationship and biological children

Petitioning the Court for a Protective Order in Washington

Individuals must file a petition with the court when they are seeking a protective order. Initially the petition and any supporting documents are filed ex parte, or without the respondent present.  Typically, the Court will then set a hearing about two weeks after the filing of the petition for the respondent to present his or her response and come to court. After the petitioner files the petition ex parte, the Court will typically issue a temporary order for the protection of the petitioner that will be in effect until the case can go to hearing with both sides present.  Before the full hearing, the respondent may submit reply documents to the Court, explaining why an order is not necessary, why the accusations in the petition are not true, or making any other arguments responding to the accusations made in the petition. The petitioner may then submit additional response documents addressing any issues raised by the respondent. The court reviews all of these submissions before having a full hearing on the petition.  If the petition meets the requirements of the statute and shows by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner is the victim of domestic violence, the court will issue a final protective order, typically for one year. In very serious cases, a court may consider entering an order for longer than one year.  

 At the hearing, both parties have an opportunity to argue their side of the story.  If you have an attorney representing you, they will prepare your submissions, and argue the case for you in court. 

How Can An Experienced Attorney Help You Get a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

  • By helping you prepare your petition;
  • By helping you identify the important facts, evidence and witness statements to present to the Court;
  • By helping your back up the claims in your petition through the preparation of declarations from you and other witnesses;
  • By helping you gather other information that may be helpful to the Court, such as prior police reports, medical records, floor plans, pictures, phone records;
  • By taking the lead on organizing the evidence and laying out the case for the Court;
  • By arguing your need for a protection order to the judge;
  • By helping you take measures to protect yourself while you are awaiting the order of the court.

Contact Our Seattle Protection Order Attorney for Help

Being in an abusive relationship can greatly affect your life and even be life-threatening.  If you are afraid for yourself or someone you are close to, contact Seattle protection order attorney, Jennifer Horwitz for help.  She can help you devise a plan for your safety and the safety of your children while she petitions the court for a protective order. She can also help you plan how to protect yourself before and after the protective order is entered. 

DISCLAIMER: This post is intended to share my perspective, insights and some general information on various aspects of protection orders cases. It is not legal advice and is not intended to substitute for legal advice. You should consult an attorney to obtain legal advice for your individual situation and case.