Here’s what to do next:
Step 1. Fill out the forms. You can attach additional pages if you need to. The Court may limit your case to the incidents described in the forms. So, be sure to include all events.
Step 2. Talk to an expert. Before you file, talk to an experienced lawyer or an advocate from a local domestic violence or sexual violence organization. A lawyer can help you understand your complete legal situation and the risks of taking different legal actions. Advocates can help you understand any additional safety risks you might have, connect you with services and help you complete the forms. Advocates may be able to go to court with you.
Step 3. File the forms. Contact the local Juvenile Court where you live. Your court may have other local forms that you have to file with your petition, so ask the Clerk if there are more required forms before you file.
Step 4. Attend the ex parte hearing. On the day that you file for a Domestic Violence Juvenile Civil Protection Order, or no later than the next day for a Juvenile Civil Protection Order, the Court will hold an emergency hearing, called an "ex parte" hearing. The respondent does not attend the ex parte hearing. At this hearing, the judge reviews your forms and may ask you some questions. Then, the judge decides if you need an emergency “ex parte” protection order that starts immediately.
Step 5. Complete service. “Service” is when the Court officially tells the abuser about your filing. After you file, you will need to follow up with the Clerk’s office to make sure that service was completed. Your case cannot be heard at the full hearing until service has been completed.
Step 6. Attend the full hearing. Whether or not you are given the emergency, "ex parte" protection order, the Court holds a full hearing, usually within 7 or 10 business days. At the full hearing, you testify and present evidence including any witnesses to show the judge why you need a protection order. You must show that the abuser’s actions have met the requirements for the civil protection order.
Step 7. Be careful with agreements.
In Domestic Violence Juvenile Civil Protection Order cases, you and the other party can negotiate a "consent agreement" that defines the protection order’s terms. Unlike with a regular protection order, getting a consent agreement means that the court does not have to make a finding that the violence occurred, only that the parties agreed to the order. If the other party wants to negotiate a consent agreement, you should consult with a lawyer first to see if it could put you at legal risk.
If you are getting a Juvenile Protection Order, while the law does not allow for consent agreements in these cases, many courts ask the parties to make an agreement instead of going to a hearing. The agreement would explain what the respondent, and sometimes you, are allowed or not allowed to do. Getting an agreement means that the court does not have to make a finding that the violence occurred, only that the parties agreed to the order. An agreement may give the abuser a legal advantage. Some courts may consider a “mutual stay away order” which is different from an agreement. If the other party wants to negotiate an agreement or “mutual stay away”, you should consult with a lawyer first to see if it could put you at legal risk.
Step 8. Get a court order. The Court issues the order after the hearing. Keep your protection order with you in case you need to call the police to enforce it. Give copies to people who may need it (like school). You can also share it with your employer if you feel comfortable disclosing that information.