Family Law

Orders of Protection

If you are the victim of domestic violence or fear you may become the victim of domestic violence, you can file for an order of protection. An order of protection is a legal document that commands the person who has caused the domestic violence to stay away from the victim.

An order of protection must be issued by an Arizona court.  Arizona Revised Statute 13 – 3602 gives courts the power to issue orders of protection.

Who may file for an order of protection?

Any person who may become the victim of domestic violence or has been the victim of domestic violence within the past year may file for an order of protection.  If the domestic violence has occurred more than a year ago, the victim may also file for an order of protection, and the victim will have to show there is a good reason to believe domestic violence may occur again.

If the person needing the order of protection is a minor, the parent, legal guardian, or person who has legal custody of the minor may file for an order of protection on behalf of the minor.

What type of previous relationship is required to get an order of protection?

An order of protection can be granted if the offender you want protection from is or was:

1.    Your spouse or your former spouse,
2.    Your roommate or former roommate,
3.    The father or mother of your unborn child
4.    Your parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child, or grandchild,
5.    Your spouse’s parent, grandparent, brother, sister, child, or grandchild,
6.    A person that you had a romantic or sexual relationship.

What protection does the order of protection provide?

An order of protection requires the offender to do and not do some things.

The person that the order of protection applies to cannot:

1.    Commit an act of domestic violence,
2.    Contact the person protected or other people mentioned in the order of protection, and
3.    From coming near the residence, place of employment, school or other locations designated in the protective order. 

The court issuing the order of protection can also give the person protected by the order the use and possession of a residence where the victim and offender currently live.  This means the court can kick out the offender if the victim and offender live together when the court grants the order of protection. 

Additionally, the order of protection can prohibit the person that the order applies to from possessing a gun.  If the person already possesses a gun, the person must turn in the gun to law enforcement.

How does one apply for an order of protection?

A person applying for an order of protection must file a petition, in person, with an Arizona court. Arizona provides assistance with filing this petition because dealing with courts can be confusing and people are not familiar with this petition filing process.

There is no fee to file a Petition for Order of Protection.

When going to the court, the person applying for the Petition must take to the court the following information:

1.    A picture ID (if available.)
2.    An address of their residence, work, school, and all other addresses for which the person wants protection,
3.    Information about the person that one is seeking protection from, including that person’s name, address, date of birth, physical description and other identifying information including a social security number, if known.
4.    Dates the domestic violence occurred.  If there was a case number assigned to these incidents, bring the case number(s),
5.    If minor children are to be protected, take the names and dates of birth of the minors.  Also, take the minor’s social security numbers, if known.

The process of applying for the petition can least 2 hours or more.

Please also be aware that most courtrooms do not allow children.

Once you arrive at the courthouse and told the court you are there to file a Petition for a Protective Order, you will be directed to a Protective Order Center.
At the Protective Order Center, you will complete the necessary paperwork using a computerized Domestic Violence prompt system.

That paperwork will include a petition in which you will be required to provide specific acts of domestic violence and name each individual you believe should be included as a protected person. Court staff is available to help facilitate your completion of the necessary paperwork and to guide you through the process of filing the paperwork.

Once you have completed the paperwork, you must sign and swear or affirm to the truth of the petition in front of a person authorized to administer an oath.

After you complete the paperwork you will appear before a judge.  The judge may ask you questions about the petition and the domestic violence issues. If the judge determines you need protection, the judge will issue the Order of Protection. You will need to arrange to have the Petition and Order served on the person.

Orders of Protection are not valid until served. Serving the petition means formally giving the person affected by the petition a copy of the Petition for the Order of Protection and a copy of the signed Order of Protection. The person filing the petition has to see the petition is served, but cannot personally serve these papers. 

Only law enforcement or a registered process server can serve the Order of Protection.  The court will give you a list of Law Enforcement Agencies that can serve the Order of Protection. Law Enforcement Agencies do not charge a fee to serve the papers. 

For how long is an Order of Protection good?

Once served, an Order of Protection is good for one year from the date the Order is served.

Additional Resources

Here is a link to the Maricopa County web page that explains orders of protection.  The web page includes an excellent video explaining what to expect on the day you file the petition.

https://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/superiorcourt/protectiveordercenter/oop.asp

Final thoughts

The Maricopa County video ends with a very important statement.  “Please remember, the order is only a piece of paper. You must take steps to insure your safety be actively engaging in a safety plan.”

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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