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How do you get a restraining order against someone in Missouri?

How do you get a restraining order against someoneGetting a restraining order against someone in Missouri is done by filing the right paperwork with your local court. 

This paperwork can be filed for free in a courthouse in the county where the respondent or petitioner resides, in this case you, where the stated abuse occurred, or where the respondent works. The petitioner must specify the acts of abuse in the petition (including dates, if possible). A victim doesn’t have to get a lawyer to get an order of protection. But as we detail the process below, you may be wise to get an attorney’s guidance. 

First, let’s look at the big picture and then the nitty-gritty details.

Verbal abuse, stalking, physical violence, and any type of abuse or harassment is disturbing. You may be thinking about obtaining a restraining order, sometimes known as an order of protection, if you feel insecure or believe your children are unsafe as a result of the actions of your spouse or partner.

A restraining order is a court order telling someone what to do or not do. Its aim is to maintain peace and stop unpleasant or harmful things from occurring.

 In Missouri, a protection order comes in two types: an ex parte order and a full protection order.

Ex Parte Order

In Latin, ex parte means “from one side.” A judge may issue an ex parte order if the petitioner can show that there is “good cause”. When the judge sees an imminent and present risk of harm to the petitioner, that is considered “good cause.” Without conducting a hearing, the court may approve the petitioner’s request for an order based only on their petition and testimony.

Ex parte orders may be made with no previous notice to the respondent and without the respondent’s physical presence in the courtroom. The ex parte order is temporary and has a limited scope because the respondent hasn’t had an opportunity to present their side of the story.

An ex-parte order is enforceable only until a full hearing can be convened, which usually takes place 15 days after an ex-parte order is granted.

In general, the respondent will be prohibited from:

  • abusing or menacing the petitioner
  • entering the petitioner’s house, even if the two generally reside together, or
  • communicating in any form with the petitioner.

Judges can also utilize ex parte orders to temporarily grant child custody and pet possession depending on the situation.

The order and additional documents containing the day and time the respondent must appear in court to challenge a more permanent order are often delivered to the respondent by a law enforcement officer. The consequences for disobeying the order are also laid out in these papers.

Full Protection Order

Following a hearing, a full protection order that lasts longer (from 180 days to a year and is renewable) may be issued by a judge. A full protection order wields greater power and may have the following conditions:

  • preventing the respondent from abusing or threatening the petitioner
  • barring the respondent from the property of the petitioner
  • preventing the respondent from getting in touch in any manner with the petitioner
  • granting young children child custody, visiting rights, and financial support
  • granting spousal support and other forms of financial assistance
  • barring the respondent from selling or transferring his or her assets
  • granting temporary ownership of any pets, and
  • compelling the respondent to seek therapy or treatment.

Important! Only the respondent’s actions are covered by the order. It does not forbid the petitioner from speaking with the respondent. However, in order to comply with the judgment, the respondent cannot accept the petitioner’s offer to speak or meet.

Grounds for a Restraining Order in Missouri

A victim seeking to defend himself or herself from their alleged abuser can get an order of protection on the following grounds:

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse does not just consist of physical damage or threats of harm. Coercion (using force or threats to compel someone to do something), sexual assault, harassment, false or unlawful detention, and stalking are other behaviors that fall within the concept of domestic abuse. Another instance of abuse is when someone hurts or threatens to hurt a pet with the intention of intimidating or controlling the victim.

Home or family member

To get help, a victim does not need to be cohabitating with or married to the respondent. According to the statute, victims may apply for a protective order to halt abuse from their current or former spouse, a blood relative, a co-parent, a roommate, a boyfriend, or a girlfriend.

Imminent danger

A victim can ask for an ex parte order if they think they are in immediate danger. Without speaking to the respondent, a court may issue an ex parte order based only on the petition of the victim. Ex parte orders are only valid until a court hearing on the full order of protection is scheduled (usually 15 days or less).

How to Get a Restraining Order in Missouri

To review, you (the petitioner) must submit a Petition for an Order of Protection with the court, requesting that they be protected from the respondent. This paperwork can be filed for free in a courthouse in the county where the respondent or petitioner resides, where the stated abuse occurred, or where the respondent works. The petitioner must specify the acts of abuse in the petition (including dates, if possible). A victim may or may not hire a lawyer to get an order of protection.

Contact a St. Charles, MO family law attorney today

If you need assistance obtaining a restraining order, get in touch with a St. Charles family law attorney. In order to defend your rights and safeguard your family, your lawyer can advise you on the best course of action to follow. 

Contact Shea Kohl Law, LC by calling (636) 946-9999.

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Shea Kohl Law, LC serves clients in Missouri including St. Charles, Troy and Lincoln and throughout Warren and St. Louis counties. We also serve clients in Illinois.