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Legal Information: Iowa

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
April 5, 2019

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 temporary custody or visitation orders. 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. 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. The judge can also give you the possession of any pets or companion animals that are owned or kept by you, the abuser, or by a minor child of either of you and the judge can prohibit the abuser from coming near the animal, taking it, harming it, threatening it, etc.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;
  • attend counseling; (Note: the judge can also order you and your children to attend counseling as well); and
  • pay your attorney's fees and costs.2

The judge can give you:

  • temporary custody of your children and give visitation to the abuser. Note: 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 The judge can also grant you exclusive care, possession, or control of any pets or companion animals. The animals can belong to you, the abuser or a minor child of you or the abuser. The judge can also order the abuser to stay away from the animals and not take, hide, bother, attack, threaten, or otherwise get rid of the pet or companion animal.3

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)