Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) Process
How to Obtain a Protection Order
Most municipal courts don't do them, you need to go to District court, or if a minor is involved, Superior court.
First you need to get the forms, including:
- Petition for an order of protection
- Law enforcement information sheet
- Statement of petitioner
Depending on the details of the situation, other forms may be needed, the court Clerk, or an experienced attorney should be able to tell you what you need; but the Clerks have to be careful not to cross the line of giving advice.
Most blank forms are available at http://www.courts.wa.gov/forms/?fa=forms.contribute&formID=16 or from the Clerks office.
Fill out the forms as best as you can, and return the forms to the Clerk, who will review them, checking for completeness, legibility and clarity of the Statement. The Clerk's job is to help you fill out the forms, not to render a decision on your request for help or give legal advice.
You must first file the Petition for an Order for Protection with the Clerk. The Clerk then issues a case number and assigns the case to a judge or commissioner. There is usually no filing fee
If you are requesting a Temporary Order, you will go to an 'ex parte' (meaning without the other person needing to be there) hearing before a judge or commissioner which will be scheduled within fourteen (14) days.
Return to the Clerk's office immediately after the hearing, if you leave the courthouse with the papers instead of taking them directly to the clerk, they are may no longer be longer valid, and the judge can actually punish someone for doing so.
Discuss with the Clerk how many copies you need, since additional copies may be needed for schools, daycares, etc.
You should have the following paperwork when you leave the court after the ex parte hearing:
- copy of the Petition for an Order for Protection
- the original completed Law Enforcement Information Sheet
- at least one certified copy of the Temporary Order. You should carry one copy with you at all times.
- a completed Order for Protection form to be presented at the full hearing for the judge's review and signature.