Did you know that there are 12 statutes and articles on the books in Louisiana related to seeking protection orders from the court? That there are so many seems to be an acknowledgment that the conditions that might prompt such action can be as different as the people involved.
The objective of all protection orders, of course, is to keep one person away from another. The expectation is that a formal order will prevent abuse and increase domestic security and stability.
It is widely assumed that orders are sought by women against abusive male partners. But as we will discuss in another post, the fact is that abuse takes all kinds of forms and men are just as vulnerable to intimate partner violence as are women. So no one should presume that what follows is gender exclusive. Our purpose today is to dive into what it takes to file for an order of protection.
As information provided by the state courts notes, several steps are required. First, it’s useful to know that anyone who feels threatened by another person can petition the court for an order. There is no fee to pay. And while no attorney is required, we think readers will find from what follows that the process can be so complicated that seeking legal help makes sense.
The second step is to assess your situation and determine what statute most directly addresses your concerns. Are you looking to prevent harm from another family member or someone in your home? You might seek to seek a petition under provisions of the Domestic Abuse Assistance Act. The order might not be limited to just a restraining order. It might include temporary child custody, support provisions or even property access restrictions.
If you feel threatened by a dating partner, a stalking stranger or assault perpetrator, protection could be sought under the statutes that address those specific situations.
Next comes filling out the necessary paperwork. Depending on your situation, you need to use one of six different forms and fill it out correctly. You have to swear that the information you provide is true and your signature to that effect has to be notarized.
Then, you can file your petition and all the necessary forms with the Clerk of Court in your parish.
Once in place, the petitioner can call police if the defendant violates the order.