Step 1: Go to court to fill out the necessary forms.
To figure out what court to go to, see In which county can I file for an order of protection? You can get a petition during normal business hours, Monday through Friday. To find the courthouse nearest to you, go to our AZ Courthouse Locations page. Note: If you need protection and the courts are closed, or you need protection before getting to a court, call the police. A police officer may be able to help you get an emergency order of protection if you are in immediate danger.
The clerk will provide you with the forms that you need to file. On the "Petition for Order of Protection," you will be the "plaintiff" and the abuser will be the "defendant."
You may want to write about the most recent incidents of violence, using descriptive words like "slapping," "hitting," "grabbing," "threatening," "choking," etc. - that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific. Here are some other things you may want to consider including:
- why you need protection. Your explanation may include specific acts that have occurred within the past year. If there are events that happened more than a year ago, you can include those but the judge does not have to consider those unless “good cause" is shown.1 Also, if the abuser was out of state or in jail, that could lengthen the period of time that the judge will consider domestic violence incidents;2
- a description of the abuse, threats and/or injuries you received from the abuser, and when they happened; and/or
- if the abuser has access to or possession of any firearms or weapons.
You may also have to provide an accurate physical description of the abuser and an address where s/he can be found so the order can be served.
You can keep your home, work and other addresses confidential if the abuser does not know them.3 However, you do have to give a mailing address so that the court can contact you if there are future hearings. Make sure to tell the clerk of court if you would like to keep your address confidential.
You can find links to forms online on the AZ Download Court Forms page or you can get them from the court clerk. You may also be able to get these forms by calling a local domestic violence organization or legal aid office. Most domestic violence prevention organizations can provide support for you while you fill out these papers. Go to the AZ Places that Help tab at the top of this page to find an organization in your area.
Note: Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk because the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel.
1 A.R.S. § 13-3602(E)(2)
2 A.R.S. § 13-3602(F)
3 A.R.S. § 13-3602(C)