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Iowa Protective Orders Laws

Under state law, protective orders (or "restraining orders") are court orders prohibiting the person named in the document from coming within a certain distance of the person seeking the protection. If a named person violates the protective order they can be fined or arrested. Many abused spouses and exes file protective orders to keep their abusers away, but these orders can also be used to protect children and stalking victims. In some instances, a protective order can include restrictions regarding gun ownership.

This is an introduction to protective order laws in Iowa.

Protective Orders in Iowa: At a Glance

Each state may define and enforce its protective orders differently. The chart below lists the details of Iowa's protective orders statutes. You can also visit FindLaw's Orders of Protection and Restraining Orders section for more general information on this topic.

Code Section

§ 236.1, et seq. of the Iowa Code

Activity Addressed by Order

Counseling; enjoin contact; exclude from dwelling, school, or work; regarding minor children: temporary custody, visitations, support, maintenance; grant to the petitioner the exclusive care, possession, or control of any pets or companion animals owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held by the petitioner, respondent, or minor child; approaching, taking, transferring, encumbering, concealing, molesting, attacking, striking, threatening, harming, or otherwise disposing of the pet or companion animal

Duration of Order

Maximum one (1) year. Emergency: maximum 72 hours; may then seek temporary order. Temporary: not less than five days but not more than 15 days

Penalty for a Violation of Order

Simple misdemeanor, contempt: required jail sentence; if no contact order: county jail minimum seven days, a fine may be imposed, attorney's fees, court costs (mandatory minimums and penalties enhanced for domestic abuse assault). Additionally, an assault committed by a person against whom a protective order has been issued, if the protective order is in effect at the time of the assault, is classified as a class "D" felony.

Who May Apply for Order

A person seeking relief from domestic abuse on behalf of self or unemancipated minor (may also include family or household members who resided together at the time of the assault; parents of the same minor child, regardless of whether they have been married or lived together; family or household members residing together within the past year and are not residing together at the time of the assault; persons in an intimate relationship or have had contact within the past year in an assault)

Can Fees Be Waived?

There is no filing fee in the state of Iowa

Order Transmission to Law Enforcement


Civil Liability for Violation of Order


Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How a Protective Order Can Help

While protection orders can't prevent every incident of harassment and harmful contact, they are able to provide domestic violence victims with criminal recourse if someone violates an order. And under federal protection order law, all states, including Iowa are mandated to honor and enforce valid protection orders that another state has issued. Therefore, if you obtain a protection order in Iowa and move to another state, your existing protection order is valid and enforceable in that state, and vice versa.

Iowa Protective Orders Laws: Get Professional Help Today

If you're in need of a protection order, chances are you're in a frightening and potentially confusing situation. When you're ready, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline for 24/7/365 support at 800-799-7233.

You can also consult with an Iowa domestic violence attorney if you would like legal advice regarding a domestic violence or protective order issue.

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