Step 2: Fill out the necessary forms and file them with the clerk.
The clerk will provide you with the forms that you need to file. Read the protection from abuse petition carefully and ask questions if you don't understand something.
On the petition, you will be the "plaintiff" and the abuser will be the "defendant." Write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive language (i.e., words like "slapping," "hitting," "grabbing," "threatening," "choking," etc.) that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific. You can also include some of the history of abuse and information on any previous, related court action you have taken against the abuser.
Remember to write your name and a safe mailing address and phone number. If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office box, not a street address. If the abuser does not know the locations of your residence and employment, be sure to tell the clerk you want your home, work, and other addresses to remain confidential.
If you need assistance filling out the form, ask the clerk for help. Some courts may have an advocate that can assist you. You can also call the AL Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-650-6522 for information on getting help with the PFA process. Another option is to find help through one of the domestic violence organizations listed on our AL Advocates and Shelters page.
Note: Once you have completed your paperwork, return them to the clerk. Be sure to wait to sign the forms in front of the court clerk, where you will have to show photo ID.