Legal Steps on How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Missouri

Understanding the legal process to secure a restraining order in Missouri is crucial for your safety and well-being.

This article will guide you through the steps and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

What is a Restraining Order?

A restraining order, also known as an order of protection, is a legal document issued by a court to protect individuals from harassment, stalking, or abuse.

Legal Steps on How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Missouri
Legal Steps on How to Obtain a Restraining Order in Missouri

Types of Restraining Orders in Missouri

In Missouri, there are two primary types of restraining orders that individuals can apply for, depending on their situation:

Types of Restraining Orders

Full Order of Protection

A Full Order of Protection is granted after a court hearing and can last for a period of up to one year, with the possibility of extension.

It offers long-term protection and can include various provisions, such as:

  1. No Contact: The abuser is prohibited from contacting the victim in any form.
  2. Exclusion: The abuser may be required to stay away from the victim’s home, workplace, or school.
  3. Custody: Temporary custody of children can be established.
  4. Financial Support: The abuser may be ordered to provide financial support to the victim.

Ex Parte Order of Protection

An Ex Parte Order of Protection is a temporary measure that can be issued without the abuser being present.

It is intended to provide immediate protection to the victim until a full court hearing can be held.

This type of order typically lasts until the hearing date, which is usually within 15 days.

Adult Abuse/Stalking Order of Protection

Missouri also provides for an Adult Abuse/Stalking Order of Protection, which is specifically designed to protect victims of stalking, regardless of their relationship with the stalker.

Child Protection Orders

These are orders specifically designed to protect children from abuse or neglect and can be sought by a parent or guardian on behalf of the child.

Eligibility for a Restraining Order

To be eligible for a Domestic Violence Order of Protection, you must have a specific relationship with the abuser, such as a family member or intimate partner.

For a Stalking Order of Protection, you must demonstrate a pattern of unwanted behavior.

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Restraining Order

Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining a Restraining Order

Step 1: Preparing Your Petition

1.Safety First

Ensure your immediate safety before starting the process. If necessary, seek shelter or assistance.

2.Download Forms

Access the necessary forms online or at any circuit court clerk’s office.

3.Gather Evidence

Compile any evidence of abuse or stalking, such as messages, photos, or witness statements.

Step 2: Filing Your Petition

1.Go to the Court

File your petition at the circuit court in the county where you live, where the abuse occurred, or where the abuser can be served.

2.Complete the Forms

Fill out the petition accurately, describing the incidents of violence or abuse in detail.

3.File the Petition

Submit your completed petition to the court clerk.

Step 3: Temporary Orders

1.Ex Parte Order

Request a temporary ex parte order for immediate protection until the full hearing.

2.Judge’s Review

The judge will review your petition and may grant the temporary order based on the information provided.

Step 4: Service of Process

1.Notify the Abuser

The abuser must be legally notified of the restraining order petition and the hearing date.

2.Proof of Service

Ensure that there is proof that the abuser has been served, which is required for the next steps.

Step 5: The Hearing for the Full Order of Protection

1.the Hearing

Be present at the court hearing to provide testimony and evidence of the abuse or stalking.

2.Judge’s Decision

After hearing both sides, the judge will decide whether to issue a full order of protection.

After the Hearing

Enforcement: If the full order is granted, it is enforceable by law, and the abuser can be arrested for any violations.

Extension: Before the order expires, you can apply for an extension if you still feel threatened.

How much does it cost to file for a restraining order?

In Missouri, the provision to file for a restraining order free of charge is a critical aspect of the state’s commitment to ensuring that individuals seeking refuge from abuse, stalking, or harassment can obtain the necessary legal protection regardless of their financial situation.

This policy is thoughtfully designed to remove monetary barriers, thereby facilitating a more accessible path to safety and security for those in need.

It underscores the principle that the right to personal safety should be universally attainable, not restricted by one’s economic status.

For those who find themselves in need of further support or have additional inquiries, it is highly recommended to seek out the expertise of a local legal aid organization or to consult directly with the court clerk’s office.

These entities are well-equipped to provide specialized guidance, clarify any complexities, and assist with the procedural nuances of filing for an order of protection.

Their assistance can be invaluable in navigating the legal landscape to ensure that you are fully aware of your rights and the protections available to you.

Do I need a lawyer to obtain a restraining order?

While it is not mandatory to have a lawyer to obtain a restraining order in Missouri, having legal representation can be beneficial.

A lawyer can help you understand the legal process, ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed correctly, and represent you at the court hearing.

However, if you cannot afford a lawyer or choose not to hire one, you can still file for and obtain a restraining order on your own.

Many local domestic violence organizations offer resources and support to help individuals through the process.

Additionally, some courts may have advocates available to assist you.

Remember, the most important thing is your safety, so consider reaching out to local resources for help.

While not required, having legal representation can be beneficial, especially if the abuser has an attorney.

What happens if the abuser violates the restraining order?

If an abuser violates a restraining order in Missouri, it is considered a serious offense with significant legal consequences. Here’s what happens:

1.Initial Violation

The first time an abuser violates an order of protection, it is treated as a Class A misdemeanor1. This can result in up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $2,000, or both.

2.Subsequent Violations

If the abuser violates a protection order a second time within five years of the first conviction, the violation escalates to a Class E felony.

This can lead to up to four years in prison upon conviction.

Conclusion

Securing a restraining order can be a critical step in protecting yourself and your loved ones.

It’s important to understand the process and know your rights under Missouri law.

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