Domestic Violence State Forms

Victims of domestic violence often face difficult choices on multiple fronts. Do they call law enforcement to resolve the immediate danger? If they decide to leave an abusive intimate partner, where will they go? Will they be able to retain child custody and obtain child support?

Fortunately, there are a number of domestic violence resources they can turn to for help. Placing a call to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 is a good first step. Hotline workers are trained in advocacy. They can provide an important sounding board for a victim who knows they deserve a better life and needs support. An advocate can provide contact information and make referrals to local social service providers, including emergency shelters and health care facilities.

Each victim's experience is unique. It may include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, or a combination of different types of abuse. The abuser may be a spouse or a live-in partner. The parties' relationship may be long-term or short-term but contain elements of dating violence.

How Civil Protection Orders Can Help

An important way survivors can protect themselves from further abuse is to file for a protective order. A protective order may also be called a civil protection order.

A protection order prohibits the abuser from making contact with the victim or family members living with the victim. It requires the abuser to stay away. It can also grant exclusive use of a home and issue orders related to custody, visitation, and child support.

A civil protection order is handled as a separate civil case, usually in family court. When first filed, the victim will seek a temporary or ex parte order from the court. This means only the victim will be present and will testify about the reasons for the order. If the court agrees, it will grant the ex parte order.

The court will have the offender served with the order and set a full hearing. Both parties can testify at the full hearing. If the court still concludes that there was domestic violence after the full hearing, it can issue a permanent civil protection order that can last for a year or more.

Protective Orders In Criminal Domestic Violence Cases

If a victim also cooperated with police in the filing of criminal charges, then the criminal court can issue an emergency protective order. This is a separate order in the criminal case. It is sometimes called a criminal temporary protection order.

If the victim or law enforcement requests it, the court will hold a brief hearing around the time of the offender's arraignment. If the court grants the order, it will last for the length of the criminal case. It will order the offender to have no contact with the victim or the victim's household members.

What Happens If an Abuser Violates the Protective Order?

When a protection order is issued, courts will notify local law enforcement. The court order is entered into law enforcement databases so that it will appear when officers look up the name of the offender.

Violating a protection order is a crime in itself. It may be pursued as a felony or a misdemeanor crime, depending on the circumstances.

A victim must file the appropriate petition and supporting documents when seeking a protection order. Below you will find links to state domestic violence forms related to protection orders.

Domestic Violence: Protection Order Forms by State









District of Columbia





















New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



Questions Regarding Domestic Violence Protection Orders? Consider Getting Legal Help.

Domestic violence and dating violence victims can often file for protection orders with or without an attorney. If there is a pending criminal case, a prosecutor or victim services assistant can explain the process. Some victims may qualify for a legal aid attorney to assist them with filing a petition in family court.

If you need emergency assistance to stop domestic abuse, call 911 or call the police. Whether you are the victim associated with a criminal case or not, you can seek legal advice to help you through this process. Consider talking with an experienced family law attorney who can review domestic violence protection order forms and other legal matters with you.

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Can I Solve This on My Own or Do I Need an Attorney?

  • Victims of domestic violence can press charges against their abuser
  • The ability or requirements to press charges varies in each state
  • Contacting a family law attorney or advocacy groups for advice is essential

Some attorneys represent victims of domestic violence. Others defend the rights of those accused of domestic abuse or other related crimes. Many attorneys offer free consultations.

Find a local attorney