How much does it cost? Do I need a lawyer?
The filing fee and court costs for an order for protection are waived for the plaintiff so it won’t cost you anything to apply for an order. It will not cost you anything to have your papers served to your abuser, either.
When an order for protection is entered by the court, the court may direct the defendant (the abuser) to pay to the clerk of court the plaintiff’s filing fees and reasonable costs of service of process if the court determines the defendant has the ability to pay the plaintiff’s fees and costs.1
You do not need a lawyer to get a protective order, but it may be in your interest to hire an attorney if your abuser is represented by one. A domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service who will take your case for free. Go to our IA Places that Help page for a list of organizations in your area.
1 IA ST § 236.3
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.