Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
WHAT IS A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
It is a legal order issued by a Court to help protect you and/or your children from harassment or abuse. It can set limits on the abuser's behavior such as:
- Order the abuser to stop abusing you and your children.
- Tell the abuser to leave and stay away from your home, work place, and family.
- Direct the abuser to have no contact with you, including no phone calls, letters, or messages through other people.
- Order the abuser to stay away from the children, their baby sitter, day care, or school.
- If the abuser has a weapon, you can request that the protective order require the abuser to surrender the weapon.
- A protective order is not a punishment for the abuser. It is intended to prevent future violence or harassment. However, if the abuser violates the order, the abuser can be arrested and punished.
YOU CAN GET A PROTECTIVE ORDER AGAINST:
- Anyone in your household with whom you live or have lived.
- A person related to you by blood or marriage.
- Anyone with whm you have or had a dating relationship.
WHERE CAN I GET A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
You can get a Protective Order in District Court in the County where you or the abuser lives or where the domestic abuse occurred.
Here is a link to a map for finding help in your area: Get Help Oklahoma Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
In Oklahoma, protective orders are issued by the District Court. Each County has assigned an office, usually the Court Clerk or District Attorney's office, to assist with the paperwork. In some counties, a domestic violence advocate may also assist. The Court Clerk in the County in which you live can tell you who will help you.
WHO CAN GET A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
You can seek legal protection from acts of domestic abuse committed by an "Intimate Partner," a "Family or Household Member," someone who committed a "violenct act" against you or a minor child, specifically listed in the statute or if you are an immediate family member of a victim of first degree murder, where the defendant has been charged and convicted of that crime.
An intimate partner is:
- a current spouse, or
- a former spouse, or,
- someone you have had a dating relationship with, or
- someone you have had a sexual relationship with, or
- someone you have a child with, or
- someone you have lived with where there was affectionate or sexual involvement, or
- someone who is an intimate partner of a minor child.
A family or household member is a:
- parent, grandparent, stepparent, adoptive parent or foster parent, or
- child, grandchild, stepchild, adopted child, or foster child, or
- related to me in another way, by either blood or marriage, and lives in the same household, or
- family or household member of the minor child.
- Someone who committed an act of:
- sex offense;
- assault & battery with a deadly weapon;
- forcible sodomy;
- kidnapping, or;
against you or your minor child.
Talk to an advocate at your local domestic violence organization to find out if you can file for Protective Order and how judges are ruling in your area. Please see this page to find an organization near you.
To read the exact wording of the law, please see the Oklahoma Statutes on Domestic Violence page.
HOW CAN A PROTECTIVE ORDER HELP ME?
- Police are likely to take your calls more seriously if you have a protective order.
- The abuser can be arrested and put in jail if they violate a protective order.
- If you have left your home, a protective order can make it easier for you to get the police to go with you to get your personal belongings.
- A protective order can protect you at your job if you are being stalked or harassed.
WHAT DO I NEED TO WRITE DOWN WHEN I ASK THE COURT FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
You will have to fill out a form called a "Petition for Order of Protection" or if you are in an emergency situation and asking for an order immediately, a "Petition for an Emergency Order of Protection."
You need to let the judge know in writing all of the things that have happened recently that make you ask for the Court Order:
- Include a history of incidents between you and the abuser.
- Describe injuries you have received.
- Describe the most recent incident between you and the abuser.
- Include why you think the violence is likely to happen again or that harassment will continue.
- Be specific - the more details the better.
- A physical description of the abuser.
- Include any distinguishing marks such as tattoos or scars.
- If possible, include a photograph of the abuser.
- The exact physical location of the abuser so that the police can serve the order.
- Include the times the abuser will be at that address. If you and the abuser live together and you wish for the abuser to be served at your residence, include a time that theabuser can be served when you will not be at the residence.
- The location can be the abuser's work, home, or other place where you know the abuser will be.
- Whether the abuser has been previously charged with acts of domestic violence.
- Whether the abuser may be armed with a gun or knife, or any other weapon.
DO I HAVE TO INCLUDE MY ADDRESS?
Your work, home, and other addresses may be kept confidential if the abuser does not already know them.
However, you must provide a mailing address so the Court can notify you of future hearings. A post office box may be your best protection.
Get help from a trained advocate. Find the center nearest you here
WHAT DOES A PROTECTIVE COST?
There is no fee for filing a protective order. If Court Order is issued, the judges may order the abuser to pay the court costs. If you dismiss the order or the judge finds that you don't need one, the may order you to pay the costs.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I SEE THE JUDGE ABOUT MY PETITION?
The Judge will review your petition and hear your testimony and any other evidence.
The Judge will decide immediately whether an Emergency Temporary Order will be issued and will set a hearing date to decide whether to issue a "finalized protective order." The judge may order the protective order to be in place for up to 5 years. In some cases, a continuous order that does not expire may be entered.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I GO TO COURT FOR THE FINAL PROTECTIVE ORDER HEARING?
- If you ask for an Emergency Protective Order and the judge issues the order without the abuser's knowledge, you will have to appear in court within 10 days after the initial order is issued. That appearance is called a Hearing to Show Cause. You will have to appear at this hearing.
- At the Hearing to Show Cause, the abuser will have an opportunity to contest the order.
- At the Hearing to Show Cause, you will need to appear and tell or show why you need the protective order.
- If you do not appear at the Hearing to Show Cause, the protective order case will be dropped or dismissed.
- If the protective order case is dropped or dismissed because you do not show up for the hearing, you will have to pay the court costs.
WHAT CAN THE JUDGE PUT IN A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
If the abuser has a weapon, you can request that the protective order require the abuser to surrender the weapon.
If you share a home with the abuser, the protective order can require the abuser to leave the home.
CAN CUSTODY OF CHILDREN BE INCLUDED?
While the order can restrain the abuser from children in your custody, custody itself cannot be decided in a protective order. In some cases the Judge may enter an emergency custody order until the hearing is held.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE ABUSER ATTEMPTS TO CONTACT ME AFTER I HAVE RECEIVED A PROTECTIVE ORDER?
You should contact the local police or the county sheriff's office immediately. Always remember to carry of copy of your protective order with you.