A Missouri protective order is created to protect a victim from violence, threats of violence, stalking, and dangerous behavior. Protective orders are commonly made where there is domestic violence or danger from a close family member. A protective order can apply to the victim who files it and their family members, such as their children. If you feel like you’re in danger from a family member or other close person, you can file a protective order against them. If the order is violated, you can press criminal charges against them.
Who Can Apply for Protective Orders?
The following people can apply for a protective order:
- A person who has been a victim of domestic violence or sexual abuse from a member of their household or current or prior family member
- A person who has been a victim of stalking
- A parent, guardian, guardian ad litem, or juvenile officer can file a protective order on behalf of a child
A family or household member includes:
- Spouses and ex-spouses
- Family members by blood and marriage
- Any person the victim has had a continued romantic or intimate relationship with
- Any person the victim has had a child with
- Any person that the victim has lived with in the past or lives with currently
A person who is stalking, harassing, harming, or threatening to harm someone can have a protective order filed against them by the victim.
Types of Protective Orders
Missouri has both full orders of protection and ex parte orders of protection.
- Ex Parte Order of Protection
This type of protection is an emergency and temporary protective order. The alleged victim who is petitioning for the order must show the need for this type of order. The judge must believe there to be an immediate danger to the petitioner. In some cases, a hearing is not even required. When there is a hearing, it is done as soon as the petition for an ex parte order is filed and before the alleged abuser receives notice of the petition.
Temporary ex parte orders last up to 15 days, and during this time, a full hearing will be held. This hearing includes the respondent to the petition and will determine if an ex parte order is extended or not after listening to both parties’ input.
Ex parte orders may require the respondent to:
- Stay a specific distance away from the petitioner
- Stay a certain distance from or move out of the petitioner’s home
- End all abusive and harassing behavior
- Prevent all contact with the petitioner
If there is no full hearing or continuation of the order, the temporary protective order will expire.
Even if the petitioner is not granted an ex parte protective order at the initial hearing, there is still a full hearing held to determine if a full order of protection is needed.
- Full Order of Protection
A full order of protection can be filed with or without an ex parte order filing. At this hearing, the petitioner and the respondent make their case for why a protective order is or is not necessary. Arguing for your need for a protective order can be less overwhelming when an experienced attorney makes your case.
If the court grants the full order of protection, it will last between 180 days to 1 year. After the first year, the court will renew the protective order if it’s believed to be in the interests of all parties. The respondent can challenge the renewal by filing more than 30 days prior to the order expiring.
A full protective order can order the following:
- An end to the respondent’s violence, abuse, threats, and harassment
- Prohibit any contact between respondent and petitioner through any medium
- Prevent the respondent from entering the petitioner’s home
- Require the respondent to move out of a shared home with the petitioner
- Provide the petitioner with temporary child custody, child support, and visitation that is safe for children
- Award the petitioner temporary possession of certain personal property
- Award the petitioner certain financial assistance from the respondent, such as court costs, attorney fees, or rent
- Prohibit the respondent from transferring or disposing of specific shared or co-owned property
- Prohibit the respondent from possessing a firearm
- Order the respondent to enter into court-approved counseling or substance use treatment
If the court finds that the respondent is a serious threat to the petitioner or a minor the petitioner cares for, a full order of protection may last between 2 and 10 years.
Q: How Does an Order of Protection Work in Missouri?
A: An order of protection is filed by the victim of stalking, harassment, abuse, or domestic violence. An ex parte emergency order can be filed until a full protective order can be put into place. If the person the order is filed against violates the terms, they will suffer criminal consequences.
Q: Are Protection Orders Public Record in Missouri?
A: Orders of protection are a matter of public record. For this reason, it’s essential to show up to a full hearing for a protective order to contest a filing. An order of protection on public records can affect educational opportunities, your ability to get housing, and job opportunities.
Q: What Are the Elements of a Temporary Restraining Order in Missouri?
A: To obtain a temporary ex parte protective order, the judge must find that the petitioner is at risk of immediate danger. This danger may include domestic violence, sexual abuse, stalking, or a credible threat of harm. An ex parte order lasts for up to 15 days. During this time, a hearing for a full order of protection can be held.
Q: What Happens If the Victim Violates the Order of Protection in Missouri?
A: If the person who filed a protective order violates its terms, they don’t face legal or civil consequences as a result. However, the action can be used as proof by the respondent to dismiss or modify the protective order. Orders can be modified to allow limited contact if necessary.
Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones
If you need to file a protective order against a person for their abuse or violent behavior, we can help. At Stange Law Firm, we understand how stressful this situation is for you and your family. Contact our team today for compassionate and protected legal care.