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Know the Laws: Idaho

UPDATED July 16, 2017

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A protection order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by a family member, household member or someone you used to date or are currently dating.

Steps to get a protection order

back to topStep 1: Go to court and request a petition.

Go to the courthouse for your county. In most counties you will file in the Magistrate Division, but in a few, you will file in District Court. You can find a court near you by going to our Courthouse Locations page.

Find the civil court clerk and request a petition (application) for a protection order. Also tell the clerk that you want a temporary order. You can file for them at the same time.

The clerk can give you the petition and any other forms you will need to fill out. You can also find links to online forms by going to ID Download Court Forms.

Remember to bring some form of identification, like your driver's license or other ID that includes your picture. It can also be helpful to bring any identifying information you have about your abuser, such as his picture, addresses where he lives and works, and a description of his car.

Note: Idaho has Court Assistance Offices (CAO), which provide various services to the public to help ensure equal access to the courts. Services include: review of CAO court forms and documents before they are filed; availability of public access computers for interactive forms; help with general form/document questions; assistance with calculating child support and completing a parenting plan; collection of instructional videos, brochures, and pamphlets on topics such as introduction to the court system, family law matters, domestic violence, etc.; legal research assistance on Law Library web site.  To find your local office, click here.

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back to topStep 2: Fill out the forms.

Carefully fill out the forms. Write briefly about the most recent incident of violence, using descriptive language - words like "slapping", "hitting", "grabbing", "choking", "threatening", etc. - that fits your situation. Be specific. Include details and dates, if you can.

On these forms, you will be referred to as the "petitioner" and your abuser will be called the "respondent".

A domestic violence organization may be able to provide you with help filling out the form. See Where to Find Help for the location of an organization near you.

Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk. It may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.

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back to topStep 3: A judge will review your petition.

After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may want to ask you questions as s/he looks over your petition.

After looking your petition over, the judge will decide whether or not to give you a temporary protection order.

Whether or not you get a temporary order, the judge will set a hearing date for a permanent order. You will be given papers that tell you when your hearing will be, usually within 14 days.

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back to topStep 4: Service of process

Your abuser has to be given paperwork from the court that tells him about any temporary orders you have and information about when the hearing for a permanent order will be. When he is given that paperwork, he has been "served".

Your temporary order will not go into effect until your abuser has been served. Usually law enforcement personnel will attempt to serve the abuser in person.

The court will send copies of the order and notice of hearing to the police or sheriff. Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself.

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back to topStep 5: What will I have to prove at the hearing?

To get a protection order against your abuser, you must:

  • Prove that the abuser has committed acts of domestic violence (as defined by the law) against you or your children.
  • Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in your petition.
See the next section for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.

See the Preparing your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.

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back to topStep 6: The hearing

When you went to court to fill out your petition, the judge should have given you a date to return to court for a hearing.  You must go to that hearing.  If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over.  It may be helpful to have a lawyer at the hearing to make sure that your rights are protected, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.  If when you go to the hearing, the respondent (abuser) has a lawyer, you have the right to request that the hearing be delayed so that you can obtain a lawyer as well.  Also, the law says that if the judge believes that it is necessary for both parties to be represented by lawyers, the judge can enter an order to ensure that lawyers are retained. The order may require either you or respondent (or both) to pay for the costs of counsel.*  If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try to get a lawyer through a local legal services organization if you qualify.  Go to ID Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals. 

If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a protection order or the judge may order a new hearing date.

* I.C. § 39-6306(1)

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