What types of orders for protections are there? How long do they last?
An order for protection is a civil court order intended to provide protection from domestic/family violence, harassment, stalking, or a sex offense. There are two types of orders:
Ex parte orders for protection: An ex parte order can be issued as soon as you file your petition, without the abuser being present or notified beforehand, if you are the victim of domestic/family violence. However, the court cannot issue an ex parte order based only on harassment.1 Either party then has the right to request a hearing on the ex parte order for protection at any time. Even if neither party requests a hearing, the judge is supposed to set a hearing date within 30 days if in your petition, you request or the judge includes:
- the removal and exclusion of the respondent from your home;
- exclusive possession, care, custody, or control to you of any animal owned, possessed, kept, or cared for by either party, a minor child of either party, or any other family or household member;
- an order that the respondent cannot remove, transfer, injure, hide, harm, attack, mistreat, threaten to harm, or otherwise get rid of the animal described above;
- possession and use of the residence, an automobile, and other essential personal effects to you;
- other relief necessary to provide for the safety and welfare of you or a family or household member;
- arrangements for parenting time that includes supervision by a third party or the denial of parenting time;
- an order for the respondent to:
- pay attorney’s fees or court fees related to bringing the court case;
- pay rent or make payment on a mortgage on a your home;
- pay for the support of you or your child;
- reimburse you or someone else for expenses related to the domestic or family violence or harassment; or
- pay the costs and expenses in connection with the use of a GPS tracking device; or
- an order that the respondent cannot have or use a firearm, ammunition, or a deadly weapon, and that s/he must surrender them to law enforcement.2
The court will notify both parties by mail of the date and time of the hearing if one is requested.3
Final orders for protection: If either party requests a court hearing, or if the judge orders it without a request, both parties have the right to attend the hearing and present evidence, testimony, witnesses, etc. You must attend that hearing even if the abuser does not. You can still get a final order even if the abuser does not attend, as long as s/he was served with notice of the hearing.
Regardless of whether there is a hearing for a final order, or whether the ex parte order is not challenged by the respondent, the order of protection will generally last for two years, unless otherwise stated. However, an order will have no end date (effective indefinitely) if the respondent is a “sex or violent offender” and s/he is required to register as a lifetime sex or violent offender due to a crime committed against you.4
A two-year order may also be extended beyond the two years. See How do I change or extend the order?
You can find the court forms you need to file for an order on our Indiana Download Court Forms page.
1 IC § 34-26-5-9(a), (b)
2 IC § 34-26-5-10(a), (c)
3 IC § 34-26-5-10(a)
4 IC § 34-26-5-9(f), (g)