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Know the Laws: Kansas

UPDATED April 7, 2014

Protection from Abuse Orders

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A protection from abuse order is a civil order that provides protection from an intimate partner or household member.

Basic info

back to topWhat is a protection from abuse order (PFA)?

A protection from abuse order is also called a restraining order.  It is a paper which is signed by a judge and tells the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences.  It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence.

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back to topWhat is the legal definition of abuse in Kansas?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a protection from abuse order.

"Abuse" means any of these acts when done by an "intimate partner or household member":

  • Causing or trying to cause bodily injury;
  • Threatening bodily injury; or
  • Engaging in any sexual acts with a minor under 16 years of age who is not the spouse of the offender.*

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3102

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

There are three types of protection from abuse orders in Kansas:

Emergency Protection from Abuse Order:
You can request this type of order when you need immediate protection and the court is closed.  The judge must believe there is an immediate and present danger of abuse to you or your minor child.  Since the emergency order is valid only until 5pm on the next day that the courthouse is open, you can apply for a protection from abuse order at the courthouse on that day (the next day that it is open).*

Temporary Protection from Abuse Order:
This type of order can be granted on your testimony or any evidence you present to the court in your application for a final protection from abuse order.  If a judge finds that you or your family are in immediate danger, s/he can grant a temporary order which will last until your final hearing that will usually take place within 21 days.**

Final Protection from Abuse Order:
This type of order is awarded by a judge only after a final hearing in court in which you and the abuser each have an opportunity to present evidence and tell your different sides of the story.  A final protection from abuse order lasts for up to 1 year, but may be extended for 1 year, 2 years, or even for the lifetime of the abuser if certain conditions are met.***  For more information on extending an order, see How do I change or extend my order?

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3105(a),(b)
** Kan. Stat. § 60-3106
*** Kan. Stat. § 60-3107(e)

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back to topHow can a protection from abuse order help me?

A protection from abuse order can:

  • Order the abuser not to abuse, molest (bother) or interfere with the privacy or rights of you or your children;
  • Order the abuser to be excluded from (leave) your shared home and give you possession of the home* (unless you are not married to the abuser and s/he owns the home, then this will not be ordered)**;
  • Order the abuser to not cancel utility service to the home for 60 days;
  • Require the abuser to provide alternate housing for you and your children;
  • Order the police to remove the abuser from the home and help you return to the home;
  • Decide the possession of shared personal property including a car and household goods, and order law enforcement to help get that property, if necessary;
  • Establish temporary custody and visitation rights of your children;
  • Order child support and, if you are married, spousal support - both of these can last up to 1 year (or 2 years if you file to extend it);
  • Require the abuser to seek batterers' counseling;
  • Order either you or the abuser to pay the other's attorney's fees; and/or
  • Order the abuser to do anything else the judge decides is necessary to protect you and your children.* (Be sure to ask for anything else you think is important.)

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3107(a)
** Kan. Stat. § 60-3107(d)

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back to topWhat is a mutual order and how can it hurt me?

A "mutual" order of protection prohibits BOTH parties from abusing, molesting, or interfering with the privacy or rights of each other. It may order that BOTH parties not contact each other.

If you file for a PFA and the defendant (the abuser) files and serves you with a counter-petition saying that you have abused him/her, there are generally two ways in which mutual order may be issued:

  1. the judge would hold a hearing where both you and the abuser present evidence; the judge must believe that you both were primary aggressors and neither of you acted in self-defense; or
  2. If you agree or consent to a mutual order without having a hearing.*

Many times the judges or lawyers will encourage people to consent to an order against them using the rationale that "if you do not plan on violating the order, it shouldn’t bother you to have an order against you."  However, this way of thinking can be dangerous.  If the abuser gets the restraining order, s/he can easily try to falsely report a violation or trick you into violating the order so that you get arrested, which can have consequences on future custody cases, restraining order cases, or immigration matters.  A judge cannot force you to consent, however.  You have the right to a hearing where you can defend yourself and then the judge will have to decide if the abuser proved his/her case against you. 

If a counter-petition is filed against you or if you are urged to consent to a mutual order, think seriously about getting an attorney to help you.  Go to our KS Finding a Lawyer page.

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3107(b)

 

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back to topWhere can I file for a protection from abuse order?

You can file a protection from abuse order in any district court in the state.*

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3103

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