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Know the Laws: Kansas

UPDATED September 26, 2017

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 abuse (domestic violence) for the purposes of getting a protection from abuse order.  "Abuse" means any of these acts against an intimate partner or household member:

  • Causing bodily injury or attempting to cause bodily injury;
  • Physically threatening someone with immediate bodily injury;
  • Engaging in any sexual contact or attempting to do so without consent or when the victim is incapable of giving consent; or
  • Engaging in sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a minor under 16 years of age who is not the spouse of the offender.*

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3102(a)

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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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Who can get a protection from abuse order

back to topAm I eligible to file for a protection from abuse order?

You can seek legal protection from acts of domestic violence done to you or your minor child by an "intimate partner or household member," which includes:

  • Your spouse or ex-spouse,
  • Someone you currently or formerly live(d) with,
  • Someone whom you are dating or have dated, or
  • Someone with whom you have a child in common.*

A parent or adult living with a minor child (under 18**) can file on behalf of the minor child alleging abuse by an intimate partner or household member.***

If you are being abused by a same-sex partner, you may be able to get a PFA against that person if you have dated or lived together. Judges in KS may rule differently on this, so please talk to someone in a local domestic violence program for help before you file your case. To find help in your state, please click on the Where to Find Help tab at the top of this page.

If you do not qualify for a PFA, you may be able to get a protection from stalking order. See our Protection from Stalking Orders section.

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3102(b)
** Kan. Stat. § 39-1430(a)
*** Kan. Stat. § 60-3104(b)

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back to topCan I get a protection from abuse order against a same-sex partner?

In Kansas, you may apply for a protection from abuse order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible to file for a protection from abuse order?  You must also be the victim of an act of abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of abuse in Kansas?

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back to topHow much does it cost to file?

There is no fee for filing for a protection from abuse order in Kansas.*

* Kan. Stat. § 60-31a06

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back to topDo I need an attorney?

No, you do not need an attorney to file for a protection from abuse order, but it might be better to have one, especially if the abuser is represented by one.  A domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or you may be able to contact your local legal services to take your case for free.  Often, domestic violence organizations can help you through the process if you do not have an attorney.  Go to our Where to Find Help page for a list of organizations and free legal assistance in your area.

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Steps for obtaining a protection from abuse order

back to topStep 1: Get the necessary forms and fill them out.

You can find the forms that you will need from the district court clerk at the courthouse, but you may want to find them before you go and fill them out at home or with an advocate from a domestic violence or sexual assault program. You will find links to forms online on the KS Download Court Forms page.   Most shelters and other domestic violence or sexual assault organizations can provide support for you while you fill out these papers and go to court.  Go to our Where to Find Help page to find an organization in your area.

On the petition, you will be the "plaintiff" and the abuser will be the "defendant."  You will write about the incidents of violence, using specific language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible.  In the petition, you can also check off the box to get a temporary, ex parte order.  A judge can grant a temporary order if s/he feels that you or your family are in immediate harm.  The abuser does not have to be with you or be told you are asking the judge for a temporary order, but, the abuser will learn of the temporary order when the order is served and the petition is set for hearing.

Note: The application must be verified, which means you might have to sign it in front of the court clerk or a notary. Check with the court clerk before signing your papers.

You will also need to give a safe mailing address and phone number in case the court needs to contact you. If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office box, not the street address. If you do not have a safe address, ask the clerk how you can keep your address confidential.

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back to topStep 2: A judge will review your petition.

When you have filed the forms with the clerk of court, s/he will bring your petition to a judge for review.

If you are in immediate danger and need the protection of a temporary order, you may be required to meet the judge and explain why you think the temporary order is necessary.  The abuser will not be present for this hearing.

If the judge believes you or your child are in serious and immediate danger, s/he may give you temporary order which is good for until your full court hearing.

Whether the judge grants you a temporary order or not, you will be given a court date for a full court "hearing" usually within 21 days. This hearing will be in front of a judge at the time shown on the Notice of Hearing. "Notice of the Hearing" is the document that tells the defendant when and where to appear for the full court hearing.  At this hearing, both parties will have a chance to explain your sides to the judge. 

 

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back to topStep 3: Service of process

The abuser must be served with a notice of hearing and with any PFA orders that a judge has granted you. If the abuser does not receive notice, the hearing will be rescheduled. If this happens, be sure to request that your temporary order be extended until the full hearing can take place.

The court may send copies of the order and notice of hearing to the sheriff, and then law enforcement personnel will serve the abuser.

In addition, you may have to provide some contact information for the defendant/abuser so the police or sheriff can find him/her such as his/her address, birthdate, etc.  Do not try to serve the abuser yourself.

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back to topStep 4: The protection from abuse order hearing

On the day of the hearing, you must go to the hearing to ask to have your temporary order (usually good for up to 21 days) turned into a final PFA order, which can last for up to 1 year.*

If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process all over again. If you do not show up at the hearing it may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.  

If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may enter a "default" order, granting you what you requested in your petition. The judge may also decide to postpone the date of the hearing in order to be able to hear testimony from the abuser.  If the judge postpones the hearing (a continuance), then be sure to have your temporary order extended until that time.

You may wish to hire a lawyer to help with your case, especially if the abuser has a lawyer.  If the abuser shows up with a lawyer, you can ask the judge for a "continuance" (a later court date) so that you have time to find a lawyer.  Go to KS Where to Find Help to find help in your area.

You can also read through the Preparing your Case section for ways you can show the judge that you were abused - this may be especially helpful if you are representing yourself.

* Kan. Stat. § 60-3107(e)

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After the hearing

back to topWhat should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some steps that you may want to take before, and after, leaving the courthouse:

  • Review the order before you leave the courthouse. If you have any questions about it, be sure to ask the clerk or, if possible, the judge.
  • Make several copies of the PFA order as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the PFA order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the PFA order at your workplace, at your home, at your children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • You may wish to consider changing your locks, if permitted by law or by your lease, and your phone number.

You may also wish to make a safety plan.  People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school. Many batterers obey protective orders, but some do not and it is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe. Click on the following link for suggestions on Staying Safe.

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back to topI was not granted a PFA. What are my options?

If you are not granted a PFA order, there are still some things you can do to stay safe. It might be a good idea to contact one of the domestic violence or sexual assault programs in your area to get help, support, and give you advice on how to stay safe. They can help you develop a safety plan and help connect you with the resources you need. For safety planning help, ideas, and information, go to our Staying Safe page. You will find a list of Kansas resources on our Where to Find Help page.

If you were not granted a PFA order because your relationship with the abuser does not qualify as a "family or household member," you may be able to seek protection through an order against stalking.  You will find more information about this process in our Protection from Stalking Orders section.

You may also be able to reapply for a PFA order if a new incident of domestic abuse occurs after you are denied the order.  

If you believe the judge made an error of law, you can talk to a lawyer about the possibility of an appeal. Generally, appeals are complicated and you will most likely need the help of a lawyer.  You can read more on our Filing Appeals page.

 

 

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back to topWhat can I do if the abuser violates the order?

If the defendant violates the PFA order, you can call 911 immediately.  In some cases, the defendant can be arrested right away. Tell the officers you have a PFA and the defendant is violating it.  Violating a PFA order can be a class A person misdemeanor.  Violation of an extended PFA, which was extended for at least 2 years due to the defendant violating the first order or due to him/her being convicted of certain crimes against you, can be a level 6, person felony.*

Another option can be to file for civil contempt in the court that issued the PFA order for a violation of the order.**  The abuser can be held in "civil contempt" if s/he does anything that your PFA order orders him/her not to do.  To file for civil contempt, go to the clerk's office and ask for the petition to file for claiming a violation of the order.  The violation petition and a summons must be served upon the abuser, or the court may issue a warrant for his/her arrest.

* Kan. Stat. § 21-5924(b)
** See Kan. Stat. § 60-3110

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back to topHow do I change or extend my order?

To modify your order, you can go back to the court where you got it and file a modification petition with the clerk.  The judge can amend an order at any time based on a motion filed by either party.*

To extend your order, you can file for an extension.  You must request this renewal before your original order expires.  If you request it, a judge may extend your order by granting a renewal for 1 additional year.**  An order can be extended for at least 2 years and at most, for the lifetime of the abuser if you can prove:

  1. the abuser violated a valid protection order (either the current order or a prior order); or 
  2. the abuser has been convicted of a "person felony" or any conspiracy, criminal solicitation or attempt of a "person felony" against you or any member of your household.***

For advice about your particular situation, please talk to a lawyer.  You can find lawyer referrals on our KS Finding a Lawyer page.

* K.S.A. § 60-3107(f)
** K.S.A. § 60-3107(e)(1)
*** K.S.A. § 60-3107(e)(2)

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back to topWhat happens if I move?

If you move within Kansas, your order will still be valid. Additionally, the federal law provides what is called "Full Faith and Credit," which means that once you have a criminal or civil protection order, it follows you wherever you go, including U.S. Territories and tribal lands.

If you are moving to a new state, you may also call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111x2) for information on enforcing your order in another state.

To read more information about moving out of KS with a PFA, please see our Moving with a Kansas Protection from Abuse Order (PFA) page.

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

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