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Know the Laws: Missouri

UPDATED September 21, 2012

Orders of Protection due to Stalking

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A civil order that provides protection against a stalker who does not have to be related to or in a relationship with you.

back to topWhat is the definition of stalking in Missouri?

Stalking is when any person (an adult or minor) purposely and repeatedly behaves in a way that:

  • serves no legitimate purpose and
  • causes you to reasonably fear that you are in danger of being physically harmed.* 
The acts that a stalker could do may include, but are not limited to, following you or making unwanted communication or unwanted contact with you.*

* MO ST § 455.010(13)

 

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back to topWho can get an order of protection due to stalking?

You can file for an order of protection against anyone who is stalking you, no matter what that your relationship is to that person.  You do not have to be in a relationship with or related to the stalker.*

* Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 455.010(11); 455.020(1)

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back to topWhat types of orders of protection due to stalking are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders:

1) Ex parte orders of protection - Ex parte is Latin for "from one side.”  A judge can grant you an ex parte order if you prove there is "good cause" to do so.  "Good cause" can be when the judge believes there is an immediate and present danger of abuse to you.*  A judge may grant you the order based solely on your petition and testimony, without holding a hearing.  Ex parte orders may be granted without the abuser’s prior knowledge and without his/her presence in court.

An ex parte order generally will be valid until your court hearing for a full order of protection, which usually takes place within 15 days.**

If you ask for an ex parte order but the judge doesn't give you one, you may get a "Notice of Hearing" instead.  Although this is not an order protecting you, it does mean you have a date and time for a hearing, where the judge will decide whether or not to grant you a full order of protection. To get a full order of protection, you will need to prove your allegations of domestic violence to the judge. 

Note: If you desire, you can receive a notification when the ex parte order is served on the abuser.***  Ask the clerk for information on how to get this notification.

2) Full orders of protection - A full order of protection can be issued only after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have a chance to tell your sides of the story.  If you prove to the judge that you were the victim of domestic violence, you can get an order of protection that will last for a period of time between 180 days and one year.**  Full orders may be extended for a longer period of time.  For more information, see How do I extend, change or dismiss an order of protection?

* MO ST §455.035(1)
** See MO ST § 455.040(1)
*** MO ST §455.038

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back to topHow can an order of protection due to stalking help me?

An ex parte order of protection can do the following:

  • Forbid the abuser from abusing, threatening to abuse, molesting, or stalking you or disturbing your peace;
  • Forbid the abuser from entering your home when it is:
    • Jointly owned, leased or rented or jointly occupied by you and the abuser; or
    • Owned, leased, rented or occupied by you individually; or
    • Jointly owned, leased or rented by you and someone else (not the abuser); or
    • Jointly occupied by you and someone else (not the abuser) as long as the abuser does not have a property interest in the home;
  • Forbid the abuser from communicating with you in any manner or through any medium (i.e., phone, computer, etc.);
  • Make a temporary order of custody of your minor children where appropriate;* and/or
  • Include such other terms as the judge reasonably believes are necessary to ensure your safety.*1

A full order of protection can:

  • Include all of the terms listed above AND
  • Additionally, after a hearing, a full order of protection can order any of the following as long as your petition has facts/allegations relating to these topics and your petition must specifically ask for the things below that you want:*2
    • Award custody of any minor child born to or adopted by the parties when:
      • the court has jurisdiction (power) over such child; and
      • no prior order regarding custody is pending or has been made; and
      • the best interests of the child require that a custody order be issued;
    • Establish a visitation schedule that is in the best interests of the child;
    • Give you child support;
    • Give you spousal support (maintenance) for up to 180 days if you are legally married;*3
    • If you are married to or have children together, the judge can order the abuser to make rent or mortgage payments on the home you are living in OR on a different home (rather than the one you lived in with the abuser) if you choose;
    • Give you temporary possession of personal property, such as cars, checkbooks, keys, and other personal items;
    • Prohibit the abuser from transferring, selling or getting rid of property mutually owned or leased by you and the abuser;
    • Order the abuser to participate in batterers' counseling or drug treatment;
    • Order the abuser to pay a reasonable fee for housing and other services that are/were provided to you by a domestic violence shelter;
    • Order the abuser to pay court costs;
    • Order the abuser to pay the cost of medical treatment and services that are/were provided to you as a result of injuries due to domestic violence committed by the abuser;*4 and/or
    • Order the abuser to pay your attorney's fees.*5
* MO ST § 455.045
*1 MO ST § 455.050(1)
*2 MO ST § 455.050(4)
*3 MO ST § 455.050(8)
*4 MO ST § 455.050(3)
*5 MO ST § 455.075

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back to topWhere can I find more information about orders of protection due to stalking?

Orders of protection due to stalking are derived from the same laws as orders of protection due to domestic violence.  For more information on orders of protection due to stalking, please read the information in our Orders of Protection due to Domestic Violence section. 

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