Who can get a domestic violence protective order?
If you are being abused (as is defined here), you can apply for a protective order against:
- a spouse or former spouse
- someone you live(d) with “as a spouse”
- someone you have a child in common with
- someone you are related to by blood, adoption, or marriage who you live(d) with
- a current or former dating partner.1
Any person over 18 or any person under 18 and legally married can file for a protective order. If the person is a minor (under 18) or the person is alleged to be incompetent, a parent, adult household member, or a “next friend” can file for a protective order on his/her behalf.2
1 MS Code § 93-21-3(a)
2 MS Code § 93-21-7(1)
In what county do I file for a protective order?
You can file for a protective order in any county or municipality where the abuser lives or in any county or municipality where an abusive act(s) took place.1
1 MS Code § 93-21-5(2)
Can I get a protective order against a same-sex partner?
In Mississippi, you may apply for a domestic violence protective order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get a domestic violence protective order? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Mississippi?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
What can I do if I don't qualify for a protective order?
Even if you don’t have the type of relationship needed to get a protective order, the person who is abusing you may still be committing a crime against you and you may want to consider reporting it to law enforcement. If charges are pressed against the perpetrator, a judge may be able to order him/her to stay away from you. You can also visit our Safety Tips page for ways to increase your safety.
If you are being stalked or harassed, you may also want to go to the Stalking Resource Center website for more information on stalking and harassment laws, as well safety planning information.
Protective orders also do not cover many types of emotional or mental abuse. If you’re being mentally or emotionally abused, please contact a domestic violence organization in your area. They can help you figure out your options and offer you support. To find a shelter or an advocate at a local program, please visit our MS Advocates and Shelters page.
How much does it cost to get a protective order? Do I need a lawyer?
There is no filing fee to get a protective order assuming that you eventually prove to the judge that you have been abused and the judge grants you the order. If the court finds that you are entitled to an order protecting you from abuse, the judge can order the respondent to pay all costs including your attorney’s fees. However, if the judge finds that your allegations are untrue and that you are not a victim of abuse, the judge can possibly order you to pay the costs including the respondent’s attorney’s fees.1
Although you do not need a lawyer to file for a protective order, it may be to your advantage to find a lawyer. This is especially important if your abuser has obtained a lawyer. Even if your abuser does not have a lawyer, if you can, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.
If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the MS Places that Help page. Domestic violence organizations in your area and/or court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms. You will find contact information for courthouses on the MS Courthouse Locations page.
1 MS Code § 93-21-7(3)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.