Information for Restraining Order Petitioner
So You Think You Need a Protection Order – Now What?
If a household member or someone you had a relationship with is abusing you, legal and public help is available. Public assistance organizations include:
- Domestic and Family Violence Resources in St. Louis
- List of All Women’s Shelters in Missouri
- Domestic Violence Shelters in Kansas City
- The Child Abuse Hotline in Missouri: 1-800-392-3738
Filing a restraining order may be the next possible step to secure the safety of you and your family. If you believe your situation calls for legal protection, you can file an Order of Protection with Missouri’s courts. Here are some links explaining how to file a protection order:
- Filing a Protection Order in St. Louis County
- Filing a Protection Order in St. Louis City
- Filing a Protection Order in St. Charles County
- Filing a Protection Order in Jefferson County
What is an Order of Protection?
An Order of Protection is an Order by the Court that one person is to stay away from and not contact another person. Protection Orders are enforceable by law enforcement and have stiff repercussions for those who violate them.
How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Missouri
Your first step will be to pay a visit to the Circuit Court in the county where the other party resides to fill out the paperwork. At that time, a Judge will review the allegations and determine if an ex parte Order is necessary.
An ex parte Order is a temporary Order that remains in place until the full hearing can occur. If you are seeking a Protection Order on behalf of a child, a Guardian Ad Litem, the advocate for the best interest of a minor child, will be appointed. Be sure to get in touch with your Guardian Ad Litem as soon as possible if one is appointed in your case.
Once everything is filed, the Court will then attempt to serve the Respondent and typically set up a hearing within thirty days of the petition being filed with the Court. Please note that the Respondent is not bound by the ex parte Order until they are served.
Once the Respondent is served, there are two things that can happen:
- A Consent Judgment: the Court makes no finding of guilt, but issues an Agreed Order in which the Respondent cannot contact the Petitioner. This Order has the same penalties for violation as though the Court did make a finding and issue an Order.
- A Contested Hearing: even if Respondent does not show up, the Petitioner is still required to provide evidence that an Order should be granted and that the Respondent should not be allowed to contact the Petitioner. If they do show up and refuse to agree to a Consent Judgment, the Court will hear testimony and allow evidence to be submitted.
Either decision will grant a Protection Order limited to a period of one year. Protection Orders can be renewed annually.
What to Expect in a Missouri Restraining Order Case
At Haefner Law Office, we are extremely experienced in matters involving Protection Orders. Anticipate that the other party will have an attorney advocating against you. You can always benefit from the expertise of an experienced Protection Orders attorney.
To get the Judge to grant your Protection Order request, you’ll be expected to prove:
- if the person you are trying to get a Protection Order against over the age of 17
- Were you “abused” according to the definition in RSMo. 455.010?
- if the person you are seeking to be protected from a household member according to the definition in RSMo. 455.010?
- Were you “stalked” according to the definition in RSMo 455.010?
- If you were stalked, did it happen more than once?
Child Protection Orders
If you’re filing on the behalf of a child, the Courts will consider additional factors like:
- the child’s age: are they under 17 years old?
- Are you the parent or legal guardian of the child seeking protection?
- Was the “abuse” an accident or in the normal course of discipline (would the Judge say the discipline went too far)? Did it leave a mark?
Consider the Missouri Statutes for further information on laws related to Child Protection Orders. Pay special attention to the definitions, who can seek relief, and Protection Orders – especially Ex Parte Orders if you are trying to get one right away.
Experienced Protection Order Attorneys in St. Louis & St. Charles, MO
As a volunteer at a battered women’s shelter, I can assure you that you cannot and should not have anyone represent you that is not a skilled litigator or an expert in this area of law. You cannot and should not waver in your desire to keep yourself and/or your children safe. Nobody has the right to threaten you, put you in harm’s way, or abuse you.
While a lot of attorneys say they are able to represent you in these matters, the experts at Haefner Law Office, LLC will give you the best possible chance at getting your request granted. The last thing you want to do is put your safety in the hands of an unprepared attorney to get your Petition for Order of Protection granted.
Learn more about how Haefner Law Office’s intuitive Flat Rate process serves clients with affordable Protection Order services:
Contact Haefner Law Office at (314) 200-6101 to get more information regarding Protection Orders and see if it is right for you and your family.
Thank you for considering Haefner Law Office in this difficult time. We hope to hear from you soon.