Orders of Protection in Missouri
Haefner Law Office, LLC is a family law firm based in St. Louis who helps clients seeking Orders of Protection due to Domestic Violence or Stalking.
PROTECTION ORDERS: RESPONDENT
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Protection Orders.
At Haefner Law Office, we help clients who seek orders of protection, and know what it takes to be successful in obtaining an Order of Protection.
If a household member or someone you had a relationship with is abusing you, legal help is available.
Before I speak about protective orders let me list some public assistance that is available to you immediately should you need it:
List of All Women’s Shelters in the Area: http://www.womenshelters.org/cit/mo-st_louis
List of Crisis Shelters in St. Louis: http://www.stlcc.edu/Document_Library/TANF_Information/Housing_Shelters_and_Homeless_Serivces.pdf
St. Louis Elder Abuse Agencies: http://seniorcareservices.org/2011_elder_abuse_st.louis_missouri.htm
The Child Abuse Hotline in Missouri is: 1-800-392-3738
Protection Orders – The Process
A Protection Order is an Order by the Court that says a person is to stay away from and not contact another person.
They are enforceable by law enforcement, and have stiff repercussions for those who violate the Protection Order.
To obtain a Protection order:
- go to the Circuit Court in the county where they reside and fill out the paperwork
- at that time, a Judge would review the allegations and determine if an ex parte Order is necessary.
An ex parte Order is essentially a temporary Order that is in place until the full hearing can occur.
If you are seeking a Protection Order on behalf of a child, a Guardian Ad Litem, who is an attorney that will represent the best interest of the minor child, will be appointed.
You need to be sure you get in touch with the 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 will typically set up a hearing within thirty days of the petition being filed with the Court.
It is important to note that the Respondent is not bound by the ex parte Order until they are served, so be aware of that.
Once the Respondent is served, there are two things that can happen:
1. A Consent Judgment—the Court makes no finding of guilt but issues an Agreed Order, in which the Respondent cannot contact the Petitioner, and has the same penalties for violation as though the Court did make a finding and issue an Order.
2. A Contested Hearing—if Respondent does not show up, the Petitioner is still required to put forth some 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.
Whether it is a Consent Order or an Order granted after a contested hearing, Protection Orders are usually limited to a period of one year, but can be renewed.
At Haefner Law Office, we are extremely experienced in matters involving Protection orders, and you are going to need that in your case.
There is a good chance the other side is going to have an attorney coming at you, and you need to be protected as best as you possibly can be.
If you are seeking an order of protection there are a few things that you need to know.
In order to get the Judge to grant your request, you need to both allege and prove a few things:
- Is 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?
- Is 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
- Is the child 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?
- Can you answer yes to the questions 1-5 in the section above?
Here is a link to the Missouri Statutes pertaining to Protection Orders if you would like to see the laws that apply: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/c455.htm.
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 attorney who really doesn’t understand what they need to prove in order to get your Petition for Order of Protection granted.
Every day there are hundreds of these cases in the metro area, and inevitably when the Court holds hearings in these matters we see at least one attorney who has no clue what they are doing.
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. Your safety deserves better than that!
I had a friend killed by an ex-boyfriend that was abusive. I take this area of law very seriously. 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.
Please do not try to represent yourself if you truly need to obtain an Order of Protection, or if you need to obtain a Child Order of Protection (learn more about attorney Mark Haefner’s history with child abuse and neglect here.
Contact Haefner Law Office to get more information regarding Protection Orders, and see if it is right for you and your family.
Thank you again for considering Haefner Law Office to help you through this difficult time. We hope to hear from you soon.