Step 1: Go to court and request an application.
Go to the district court in your area. You can find a court near you by going to our Courthouse Locations page. Find the civil court clerk and request a petition for a permanent protection order, and also tell the clerk that you want a temporary order. Usually you apply for these at the same time. You can find links to petitions online by going to Download Court Forms.
Step 2: Fill out the petition.
Carefully fill out the forms. Write briefly about the most recent incident 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 abuse organization may be able to provide you with help filling out the form. For a shelter or organization in your area please visit our NM Advocates and Shelters page under the Places that Help tab on the top of this page.
Note: Do not 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.
Step 3: A judge will review your petition and assign a court date.
After you finish filling out your petition, bring it to the court clerk. The clerk will forward it to a judge. The judge may wish to ask you questions as he or she reviews your petition. The judge will decide whether or not to issue the temporary order, and if you seek a permanent order the judge will set a date for a hearing. You will be given papers that state the time and date of your hearing for a permanent protection order.
Step 4: Service of process
The abuser must be served with a notice of hearing and with any protection orders that a judge has granted you. Usually this will be done by law enforcement personnel.
Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself.
Ask the court clerk or a domestic abuse organization for more information about serving the abuser.
You can find more information about service of process in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section, in the question called What is service of process and how do I accomplish it?
Step 5: What will I have to prove at the hearing?
You must prove that the abuser has committed acts of domestic abuse (as defined by the law) against you or your children. You must also convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition.
See the At the Hearing section for ways you can show the judge you were abused. You can learn more about the court system in our Preparing for Court – By Yourself section.
Step 6: The hearing
You must go to the hearing. If you do not go to the hearing, your temporary order will expire and you will have to start the process over. If you do not show up at the hearing it may be harder for you to be granted an order in the future.
If the abuser does not show up for the hearing the judge may still grant you a protective order, or the judge may order a new hearing date.
If you are going to court for a final protective order, the abuser may also be coming to court. You can read our Safety in Court page for ideas on keeping safe in court.