Am I eligible for a protection order?
You may be eligible for a domestic violence protection order if a family or household member commits an act of domestic violence or if you can prove that domestic violence that is about to happen (“imminent domestic violence”). For the purpose of getting a domestic violence protection order, “family or household member” means a:
- spouse or former spouse;
- other family member;
- person related by blood or marriage;
- a person you are dating;
- a person who is living with you or has lived with you before; or
- someone with whom you have a child in common, even if you were never married or lived together.1
Note: The law says that you can file against “any other person” if the judge determines that the relationship between you and the abusive person is “sufficient to warrant the issuance of a domestic violence protection order.”2
1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-01(4)
2 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-02(1)
Can I get a protection order against a same-sex partner?
In North Dakota, you may apply for a protection order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible for a protection 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 North Dakota?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
How much does it cost to get a protection order? Do I need a lawyer?
There is no cost to file for a protection order or to have it served on the abuser.1
Although you do not need a lawyer to file, it may be in your best interest to get a lawyer, especially if the 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 that will take your case for free or at a reduced rate. Go to our ND Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area.
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.
1 N.D. Code § 14-07.1-03(6)
What if I don’t qualify for a domestic violence protection order?
If you do not qualify for a protection order because the person who has harassed or sexually assaulted you is not a “family or household member,” you may be eligible to file for a disorderly conduct restraining order or a sexual assault restraining order.1
Also, you might still be able to pursue criminal charges against the offender. Things like assault, stalking, and harassment can be against the law – no matter who the abuser is. If a crime is being committed against you, you may want to report it to law enforcement. If charges are pressed against the abuser, a judge may be able to order him/her to stay away from you. For definitions of common crimes in North Dakota, go to our Crimes page.
Domestic violence protection orders 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, help you stay safe, and offer you support. See our ND Advocates and Shelters page for referrals.
You may also want to visit our Safety Planning page for ways to increase your safety.
1 See N.D.C.C. §§ 12.1-31.2-01(5); 12.1-20-07(1)