7:00am - 6:00pm
Monday - Thursday (except holidays)
In an emergency situation call 9-1-1
What is an order of protection?
An Order of Protection is requested when seeking protection against:
- a spouse or former spouse
- person of the same or opposite sex with whom you live or lived
- person with whom you are expecting a child, or with whom you have a child in common
- your relative
- a person with whom you have a romantic or sexual relationship now or in the past
In addition, a domestic violence crime has to have been committed. If both do not apply, then you would file an Injunction Against Harassment. A petition and guide sheet must be filed, followed by an appearance before a Judge. If the Judge finds that the defendant may commit or has committed an act of domestic violence, the Judge can issue an order:
- Ordering one party not to commit acts of domestic violence
- Granting one party exclusive use of residence
- Preventing one party from coming near residence, place of employment or school of the other party
- And any other relief necessary for protection
An Order can prohibit weapons and after a hearing order the defendant to obtain counseling. The Judge DOES NOT have the authority to order parties to resolve property disputes, or fashion an Order of Protection affecting any visitation rights. The Judge does not have authority to render child custody orders. THESE TYPES OF RELIEF ARE APPROPRIATE FOR REVIEW BY THE SUPERIOR COURT.
How do I file for a protective order?
You must fill out the paperwork given to you by the Clerk at the court at 11325 W. Civic Center Drive. An order can only be issued against one person. Each person you want to file against requires a separate petition.
You MUST provide the court with:
- The defendant's name.
- A list of all acts of domestic violence or harassment that the defendant has committed within the past year. (The 1-year requirement may be waived if the defendant is out of state, incarcerated, or good cause is shown.)
- Your address and phone number so we can contact you if the defendant requests a hearing. (Upon request, this information will be withheld from the defendant.)
- An address at which the defendant can be legally served with the court's order.
Remember - you can request an Order of Protection without the address -- BUT IT IS NOT EFFECTIVE UNTIL THE DEFENDANT IS SERVED. You should tell this court if there are any other court proceedings regarding the defendant's conduct toward you or any other orders in effect. It does not matter if the court proceedings are going on now, or if they happened in the past, this court should be told about all of them.
After you complete the paperwork, you will be scheduled before a Judge who will review your petition. This appearance is usually on the same day.
- Petition for an Order of Protection
- Plaintiff's Guide Sheet for an Order of Protection
- Defendant's Guide Sheet for an Order of Protection
Serving an Order of Protection
If the Judge issues the Order of Protection, you must have the defendant served with the order before it will be effective. Once an order has been served, it will be in effect for twelve (12) months.
You may use a private process server or you may use the Avondale Police Department to serve the order. If you elect to use the Avondale Police Department, there is no service fee. If you use a private process server you are responsible for delivering the defendant's copy of the order to the process server and for paying a service fee and mileage.
IF YOU DO NOT PRESENTLY KNOW WHERE THE DEFENDANT IS, OR DO NOT HAVE AN ACCURATE ADDRESS, you should keep the pink copy of the order. As soon as you learn where the defendant is, you can contact a private process server or the police, so that they may attempt to serve the defendant.
IF THE DEFENDANT IS IN JAIL, you (the plaintiff) will need to advise court staff. You may need to hand carry the order to the jail and request that jail staff serve the defendant. If the defendant is in the process of being released, there may not be enough time to have service completed.
You have one year in which to have the defendant served. Once an order has been served, it will be in effect for twelve (12) months.
The defendant may request a hearing on the order one time during the twelve months in which it is in effect. A hearing will be held within 10 days from the date requested unless the court finds compelling reasons to continue the hearing. If you (the plaintiff) have been granted exclusive use of the residence the hearing will then be held within 5 days.
If during the period of time your order is in effect your circumstances change, you must appear in person to request a possible modification to your order.
If a petition for dissolution or separation of marriage or maternity/paternity action is filed, you must notify the court immediately and the proceedings will be transferred to superior court.
VIOLATION OF THE COURT ORDER IS A CRIMINAL CHARGE
If the defendant violates the court order you should: CALL 9-1-1 FOR ALL EMERGENCIES