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Legal Information: Idaho

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of
November 7, 2023

Step 1: Go to court to file your petition.

To start your case, you will file a Sworn Petition for Protection Order. You will also need to complete the Law Enforcement Service Information Sheet and the Family Law Case Information Sheet. If you want to transfer over your or your child’s wireless phone number from an account owned by the abuser, you will also need to complete a Request For Transfer Of Wireless Telephone Service form.1

You can file in the magistrate division of the district court in the county where you live, temporarily or permanently, or where the abuser lives.1 Find the address for the district court near you by going to our Idaho Courthouse Locations page. You can get the necessary forms from the court clerk or by downloading them from the court website. You can also find links to the online forms by going to our Idaho Download Court Forms page.

When you fill out the forms, you will be called the “petitioner” and the abuser will be called the “respondent.” When you write about the violent acts, use descriptive language to say what the abuser did to you. Here are just some examples of descriptive words: slap, hit, grab, choke, threaten, etc. Be as specific as you can. Include details about when and where the abuse happened, the fear or pain you felt, and any injuries you had.

A domestic violence organization may be able to help you fill out the forms. Go to Idaho Advocates and Shelters to find an organization near you.

Remember to bring some form of identification, like your driver’s license or another ID that has your picture. Do not sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk. It may need to be notarized or signed in front of court staff.

Note: Idaho has Court Assistance Offices (CAOs) that provide various public services. They can:

  • review court forms and documents before you file them;
  • answer general questions about forms and documents;
  • help you calculate child support or complete a parenting plan;
  • let you use a computer to fill out interactive forms or do legal research on the law library website;
  • show you instructional videos, brochures, and pamphlets about the court system, family law, and domestic violence.

To find your local office, click here.

1 See the protection order forms on the court website.
2 I.C. § 39-6304(2), (6)

Step 2: A judge will review your petition and may issue an ex parte order.

After you fill out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will give it to a judge. The judge may want to ask you questions as s/he reads your petition. This is called an ex parte hearing. Ex parte means the abuser is not there and does not know about the order in advance. The ex parte hearing can take place the day you file your petition or the next business day. It may even take place by phone.

To give you an ex parte order, the judge must believe that you need the order immediately to prevent serious or permanent (irreparable) injury from domestic violence.

If you get a temporary order, it will usually last for up to 14 days or until you have a court hearing.1 Even if you do not get a temporary order, the judge could still set a hearing date for a final order. You will get papers that tell you when the hearing will be.

1 I.C. § 39-6308(1), (2), (4), (5)

Step 3: Service of process

Next, the abuser has to be served with the court paperwork. The paperwork includes:

  • a copy of your petition;
  • the temporary ex parte order if you got one; and
  • a summons or notice that says when and where the hearing will be.

Your temporary order will not go into effect until the abuser has been served. There is no fee to have law enforcement serve the order.The court will send copies of the order and notice of hearing to the police or sheriff. Usually, they will attempt to serve the abuser in person.2 Do not try to serve the abuser in person yourself.

Learn more about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section. Go to What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?

1 I.C. § 39-6305
2 I.C. §§ 39-6309; 39-6310

Step 4: The hearing

When you first filed your petition, you would have received a date to return to court for a hearing. You must go to that hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over. If the abuser does not show up for the hearing, the judge may still grant you a protection order or the judge may order a new hearing date.

At the hearing, it can help to have a lawyer to make sure your rights are protected. This is especially true if the abuser has a lawyer. If you go to the hearing and the abuser has a lawyer, you can ask for a “continuance.” This means postponing the case so that you can get a lawyer, too. Also, if the judge believes that you and the abuser both need lawyers, the judge can order that you both hire (retain) lawyers. The order may require you, the abuser, or both of you to pay for the attorneys’ fees.1 If you cannot afford a lawyer, you can try to get one through a local legal services organization if you qualify. Go to Idaho Finding a Lawyer for legal referrals. If you cannot get a lawyer, see our At the Hearing page for tips on representing yourself.

1 I.C. § 39-6306(1)