What is an Order of Protection?

What is an Order of Protection?

Order of protection definition: An Order of Protection is a legal document that is issued by a court and signed by a judge to protect you from abuse or harassment. With an Order of Protection, a judge can set limits on the behavior of your partner. A judge can:

  • Order your partner to prevent the abuse of you and your child(ren)
  • Advise your partner to leave and stay clear from your marital home, your workplace and members of your family
  • Command your partner to have no contact with you—in addition to no emails, phone calls, letters, or messages by means of other people
  • Demand that your partner stays away from the child(ren), daycare or school and their babysitter

In addition, a judge can:

  • Decide issues associated with custody, child support, and visitation
  • Order the abuser to pay for costs associated with the abuse like medical care and damage to property
  • Decide on the separation of specific types of personal property
  • Require or suggest that your partner enter a program for abusers

There isn’t a fee to get an Order of Protection and it can last up to 1 year and can also be renewed. Once the order is issued, the judge is the only on that can change it. If the order contains a stay-away stipulation and your partner shows up at your home, they are in violation of the order and can be arrested. If you want to make changes to an order, you must petition them from the courts.

Since there are a lot of things to take into consideration if an Order of Protection is helpful to you, you may want to speak with an advocate or attorney to help you or attend court with you.


While an Order of Protection cannot ensure your safety, there are ways it can be helpful

  • Police are more likely to take your calls a lot more serious if you have an Order of Protection
  • Your partner will be arrested if he or she is in violation of an Order of Protection
  • If you have left the home, an Order of Protection makes it easier for you to have the police go with you to get your personal property
  • If your partner is stalking you or harassing you at work, an Order of Protection can safeguard you at your job
  • An Order of Protection will determine who has custody of minor child(ren) you and your partner have in common


You can obtain an Order of Protection if you are 17 or older and have been abused by a spouse, former spouse, an adult you are living with or have lived with before, an adult you’ve been dating or in an intimate relationship with, someone who is harassing you or someone with whom you have child(ren) even if you are not living together or married to them.


An Ex Parte Order of Protection is a brief order awarded when a judge believes there is present or immediate danger of abuse to you. You can petition for an Ex Parte Order of Protection at the courthouse in the county where you reside, where you were threatened or abused, or where the person against you are looking for protection lives. You will be referred to as the “petitioner” and your partner as the “respondent”. If you are awarded the Ex Parte Order of Protection, a sheriff or other law enforcement agent will try to find the respondent and serve them with the order. Once it’s served, the respondent has to abide by the requirements ordered by the judge. An Ex Parte Order of Protection will be enforced until the hearing for the Full Order of Protection.

If a judge doesn’t deem that there is immediate or present danger of abuse, you will be given a “Notice of Hearing” instead. This notice will be served to the respondent letting them know that a hearing will be held to decide if an Order of Protection is required. Until the hearing, there are no conditions or restrictions placed on the respondent and he or she is not in violation of any court order by contacting you.


A Full Order of Protection is scheduled to happen inside of 15 days of an Ex Parte Order of Protection being awarded. The Ex Parte Order of Protection has to have been served to the respondent at least 72 hours before this date (not including holidays or weekends). Your partner may also be present at the hearing and will be able to deliver their testimony in front of a judge. If you want the Full Order of Protection you have to appear at this hearing. If you are not there, the judge will reject your order. If the respondent fails to appear, the judge automatically awards you the Full Order of Protection.


It is useful to bring the following information with you when you apply for an Ex Parte Order:

  • The full name and a picture (if you have one) of your abuser
  • The address or addresses where the abuser can be located
  • The license number and a description of the abuser’s car
  • A list of your child(ren)’s names and ages

In addition, at the Full Order hearing, it may be beneficial to have as much evidence as you can to demonstrate to the judge abuse has occurred. Evidence can include things like:

  • Your statement as to the abuse that occurred
  • Hospital or doctor’s reports of abuse or injuries
  • Dated pictures of the injuries
  • Any Police reports
  • Statements from anyone who witnessed or heard the abuse

The more evidence you gather, the more likely a judge will believe you and grant you what you seek.


An Order of Protection awarded by consent means that your partner agrees to the provisions and terms of the order but doesn’t necessarily admit to the accusations you made about their behavior. By agreeing to the order, instead of a hearing, you and the respondent refrain from having the judge hear evidence about abuse. As a result, the judge will not determine that abuse has occurred, but he or she will sign the order making it enforceable requiring your partner to follow the provisions and terms of it.

There are some reasons you can find a consent order beneficial to you. Such as, you may feel you are likely to get more of the protection that you are seeking, or you may have a judge who otherwise may not be willing to award the order.

But, because a Consent Order of Protection doesn’t include a finding of abuse by a judge, it might not able to be used as evidence in future proceedings like divorce, criminal prosecution or child custody.

You can ask the judge questions if you are not sure about what exactly you are agreeing to in the order. You may also ask whether social worker or type of advocate is available to answer your questions.


Mutual Orders of Protection are occasionally granted when each party have filed Ex Parte orders against one another and the judge orders both of you to follow the provisions in the order. It is important to realize that by law a Mutual Order of Protection can only be awarded if your partner has gone through the process of applying for an Ex Parte. A Mutual Order of Protection can be used by your partner as another weapon of harassment and control. You can be arrested if the police have evidence that you are in violation of the terms of the order.


  1. “Patients & Visitors.” Barnes, http://www.barnesjewish.org/Patients-Visitors/Domestic-Violence-Awareness/Domestic-Violence-Finding-Safety-and-Support/What-is-an-Order-of-Protection.
  2. “Order of Protection.” Welcome to TMF Attorneys, tmfattorneys.co.za/Pages/order-of-protection.asp.

Contact Our Order of Protection Lawyer in Scottsdale, AZ

If you wish to file an order of protection or have been served with an Order of Protection and locked out of your residence, barred from retrieving your personal property, and barred from seeing or speaking to your children, act immediately. Contact our order of protection lawyer in Scottsdale to immediately mobilize your defense. Give us a call today for a free consultation.

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