Step 1: Get and file the necessary forms.
To get the forms, go to the circuit court in the county where you live, where the domestic violence occurred, or any county where the abuser can be served.1 You can find the locations of these courthouses on our MO Courthouse Locations page. You can also find links to petitions online by going to our MO Download Court Forms page.
You can go to the civil court clerk and request a petition for a full order of protection, and also tell the clerk if you want an ex parte order. You will want to carefully fill out the petition, explaining the incidents of violence, using descriptive language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, choking, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Be specific. Include details and dates, if possible. A domestic violence agency may be able to provide you with help in filling out the forms. To find an advocate or an organization near you please visit the MO Advocates and Shelters page. If you need to file for an order of protection when the circuit court is closed, you can. See Can I get an order of protection when the courthouse is closed? for more information.
If the abuser doesn’t know your address, you can ask the clerk how you can keep your address confidential. If you are asked to give a mailing address, you may not have to if you allege that you, or other family or household members would be in danger if you give an address. Also, the law says that you cannot be required to give your Social Security number on any document that the abuser may have access to (i.e., the petition).2
Please remember not to sign the petition until you have shown it to a clerk, as the form may need to be notarized or signed in the presence of court personnel. Also, you may need to bring photo ID for the notary. It may also help to have some information about the abuser such as a photo, addresses of residence and employment, any history of drugs or gun ownership, etc.
1 MO ST §§ 455.073(1)(2), 455.015
2 MO ST § 455.030(3)