Who is eligible to get a protective order?
You are eligible to file for a protective order if you have experienced acts of abuse (as defined in What is the legal definition of domestic violence in New Hampshire?) committed by:
- a family or household member, which is defined as:
- a spouse, ex-spouse, someone you live with or used to live with, your parent, or any other person you are related to by blood or marriage (except for any minor children who live with the defendant/abuser; or
- a current or former sexual partner; or
- a current or former intimate partner, which is defined as:
- someone who you currently or formerly had a romantic relationship with (it doesn’t matter if you never had sexual relations with this person).1
If someone who does not fit these descriptions is abusing or stalking you, you may also want to read our Stalking Protective Orders page.
1 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:1(I),(X),(XV)
Can I get a protective order against a same-sex partner?
In New Hampshire, you may apply for a protective order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who is eligible to get a 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 New Hampshire?
You can find information about LGBTQIA victims of abuse and what types of barriers they may face on our LGBTQIA Victims page.
Can the judge issue a mutual protective order or cross-protective orders?
A mutual order occurs when one person files for an order and instead of granting the order to the petitioner, the judge issues an order for the petitioner and defendant against each other.1 Under New Hampshire law, a judge cannot grant a mutual order.1
A cross-order occurs when each party files a petition for a protective order against each other. The judge can only grant a cross-order if:
- the judge has specifically determined that each party has committed abuse against the other; and
- the is unable to figure out who is the primary physical aggressor.2
1 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:5(V)(a)
2 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:5(V)(b)
How much does it cost to get a protective order? Do I need a lawyer?
There is no fee to file for a protective order or to have the order served upon the defendant/abuser.1
You don’t need a lawyer, but in some cases it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel. To find a local program or organization in your area, please visit our NH Advocates and Shelters page.
1 N.H. Rev. Stat. § 173-B:(III)
If you are going to be in court without a lawyer, our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section may be useful to you.