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Legal Information: Iowa

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of November 3, 2023

What protections can I get in a protective order?

A temporary order can contain anything that the judge thinks is necessary to protect you from domestic abuse, including:

  • making temporary custody or visitation orders; 
  • giving you possession of any pets or companion animals that are owned or kept by you, the abuser, or by a minor child of you or the abuser; and
  • prohibiting the abuser from coming near such animal, taking it, harming it, threatening it, etc.1

Temporary orders also must specifically include a notice that the abuser may be required to give up all firearms, offensive weapons, and ammunition if a permanent order is issued.1

In a permanent order, the judge can order the abuser to:

  • stop abusing you;
  • leave the house or apartment where you are living together or provide suitable alternate housing for you;
  • stay away from your home, school or job;
  • not have in his/her possession any firearms, weapons, and ammunition;
  • pay child and spousal support;
  • pay your attorney’s fees and costs; 
  • attend counseling; (Note: The judge can also order you and your children to attend counseling as well);2
  • stay away from any pet or companion animal that belongs to you, the abuser, or a minor child of you or the abuser; and
  • not take, hide, bother, attack, threaten, or otherwise get rid of such pet or companion animal.3

The judge can give you:

  • temporary custody of your children and allow the abuser to have visitation;2 and
  • exclusive care, possession, or control of any pets or companion animals.3 

Note: In a temporary or permanent order, the judge is supposed to keep in mind the safety of you and your children when deciding visitation. If the court finds that the safety of you or your children will be endangered with unsupervised visitation, the judge should restrict visitation, have it supervised, or deny visitation entirely. The judge should also determine whether any other existing orders awarding custody or visitation rights should be modified.2

Whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of your case.

1 IA ST § 236.4(2) - (4)
2 IA ST § 236.5(1), (4)
3 IA ST §§ 236.5(1)(b)(7); 236.4(3)