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Protective, No Contact, and Restraining Orders

What is a Protective Order?

A protective order is a civil order from the court instructing a person to stop abusing, harassing, or contacting another person for a period of time.

What is a no contact order?

A no contact order is a court order issued in a criminal case requiring the defendant to have no contact with the alleged victim.

What is a restraining order?

Restraining order is a phrase sometimes generally used to describe protective or no contact orders.

Where can I find help getting a protective order or helpful services?

Information for victim resources and legal resources are available at the end of the Guides for domestic abuse protection, elder abuse protection, and sexual abuse protection on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at: https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/court-forms/.

Who can get a protective or no contact order?

A victim in a criminal case can get a no contact against the defendant. A victim of sexual, domestic, or elder abuse can get a protective order. A person may also get a protective order on behalf of a minor or vulnerable elder by being a substitute petitioner.

Can I get a protective order in my divorce case?

Yes, you may ask for a protective order in your divorce case. You may also qualify for a domestic abuse protection order under Iowa Code chapter 236, or a sexual abuse protection order under Iowa Code chapter 236A. You can obtain a protective order upon presenting a petition to a judge. Forms are available for free from the Iowa Judicial Branch website at: https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/court-forms/, under the tab “Domestic Abuse or Violence.” There are also Guides for both domestic and sexual abuse actions (in English and Spanish) available from the website. Court costs for these proceedings cannot be charged against the person who files.

How can I get a no-contact order in a criminal case against a person who has harmed me?

If a criminal charge has been filed, you should contact the county attorney’s office and request a no-contact order. Your request will then be set for a hearing, and you will be notified of the hearing date and time. If no criminal charge has been filed against the person who harmed you, you may still be eligible for a civil protective order. If that is your situation, there are fillable and savable petition forms on the Iowa Judicial Branch website with guides to assist you for domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and elder abuse cases. The forms and guides are available on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at: https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/court-forms/.

How do I stop or change a protective or no contact order?

In a criminal case, to stop a no contact order you should contact the county attorney’s office. For a protective order, you must tell the court what needs to be changed. You can do this by filing a “Request to Cancel of Change a Protective Order.” This form is available for free on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at: https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/court-forms/, under the tabs “Domestic Abuse or Violence” and “Sexual Abuse” or at the clerk of court’s office.

How long does a protective or no contact order last?

The protective or no contact order will tell you how long the order is in effect. Read the order carefully. If you do not understand any part of the order, you should contact an attorney.

Can I get a protective or no contact order on behalf of minor child or elder relative?

If you are seeking help for a vulnerable elder or minor child but not for yourself, you are the “Substitute Petitioner.” There are court forms available on the judicial branch website for getting relief from domestic, elder, or sexual abuse on behalf of a minor or other protected person. Forms are available on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at:
https://www.iowacourts.gov/for-the-public/court-forms/. If you need help with this process, you should contact an attorney.

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