Step 1: Go to district court and request a petition.
Go to the appropriate district court to file your petition. You can find a court near you by going to our OK Courthouse Locations page.
Note: If you are filing a petition for a protective order against a minor (ages 13-17), you will have to go to the Office of Juvenile Affairs District Court. You can find your county by clicking on the OK Office of Juvenile Affairs page.
Find the civil court clerk and request a petition for a protective order, and also tell the clerk if you need immediate protection and want an ex parte order.
Be sure to check the appropriate box for the type of order you are requesting, whether you only want a final protective order or if you are also seeking an emergency ex parte protective order because you are in immediate and present danger.1
If the courts are closed, call the police and they can help you get an emergency temporary order of protection that will last until the next court appearance, which should happen within 14 days.1
You can also find links to petitions online by going to the OK Download Court Forms page.
1 22 O.S. § 60.3(C)
Step 2: Bring photo ID for you and identifying information about the abuser.
When you go to the courthouse, remember to bring some form of identification. It is also helpful to bring identifying information about the abuser if you have it, such as:
- a photo
- addresses of residence and employment
- phone numbers
- a description and plate number of the abuser’s car
- any history of drugs or gun ownership.
Step 3: Fill out the necessary forms.
Carefully fill out the forms. On the complaint, you will be the “petitioner” and the abuser will be the “defendant.” Write 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.
Be sure to write your name and a safe mailing address and phone number. If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office box, not a street address.
If you need assistance filling out the form, you can ask the clerk for help. Some courts may have an advocate that can assist you. In some jurisdictions in Oklahoma, the court clerk frequently does not assist with protective order petitions and may provide documents only, even though the law says the clerk should assist you if you ask him/her. A domestic violence organization may also be able to provide you with help filling out the form.1 In many areas, local domestic violence organizations assist survivors with completing the paperwork and are familiar with the usual practices of the courts in their areas. To find a domestic violence organization near you, go to our Oklahoma Advocates and Shelters page.
1 See 22 O.S. § 60.2(D)
Step 4: The ex parte hearing
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 s/he reviews your petition, which is known as an ex parte hearing, and will take place the same day. The judge can issue an ex parte order if s/he finds necessary to protect you from immediate and present danger of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassment.1 Either way, the judge will likely set a date for a hearing for the final protective order. You will be given papers that state the time and date of your hearing.
Note: The judge cannot require you to first file for a divorce, separation, paternity or criminal proceedings before s/he is willing to consider your petition for a protective order.2
1 22 O.S. § 60.3(A)
2 22 O.S. § 60.2(F)
Step 5: Service of process
In order for your protective order to be valid, the abuser must be served (given papers) that tell him/her about the hearing date and your emergency temporary or ex parte order (if the judge gave you one). If you are not able to have him/her served before your hearing date (e.g., if the sheriff can’t find him/her), you can ask the judge to postpone the hearing and issue a new order until the next hearing date.1 The judge is not supposed to dismiss your order just because the abuser wasn’t served yet.2
After you file for your order, the court will send copies of any protective orders and notices of hearing to the police or sheriff for service on the abuser.3 Do not try and serve the abuser in person with the papers yourself.
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?
1 22. O.S. § 60.4(B)(3)
2 22 O.S. § 60.4(B)(5)
3 22 O.S. § 60.4(A)(1)
Step 6: The final hearing
As the petitioner requesting a protective order, you must:
- Prove that the abuser has committed an act that qualifies as one of the reasons (grounds) for the court to grant a protective order (as defined by the law);1 and
- Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition.2
You must go to the hearing if you want to keep your order.3 If you do not go to the hearing, your emergency temporary or ex parte 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 final protective order if s/he was served with notice of the hearing date, or the judge may order a new hearing date.3
1 22 O.S. § 60.1
2 22 O.S. § 60.4
3 22 O.S. § 60.4(B)(4), (B)(5)