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How do I ask for help?

To ask the court for help, prepare a “Petition” and file it with the Iowa District Court.

  • To prepare a Petition, there are free court forms on the Iowa Judicial Branch website ( The free court forms are also available from the clerk of court office at the courthouse in the county where you live.
  • You may file your Petition electronically from your personal computer. If you file electronically, please see the Iowa Judicial Branch eFile User Guide for information on how to file electronically:
  • If you cannot file electronically, you may go to your county courthouse to file your Petition. The clerk of court will scan your paperwork into the electronic filing system.

There are three Petitions and you must use the correct Petition for you, or the person you are helping:

  • If you need protection for yourself, use the “Petition for Relief from Sexual Abuse.”
  • If you want to protect your minor child, use the “Petition for Relief from Sexual Abuse on Behalf of a Minor.”
  • If you want to protect a minor child legally in your care, use the “Petition for Relief from Sexual Abuse on Behalf of a Ward.”

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