Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Indiana Protective Order Information

When I started practicing law back in 1987, we commonly filed restraining orders but not so often these days. For cases of physical harm, the General Assembly has left us only with protective orders. Nor do many attorneys file protective orders in a divorce case. In my area, I do not know of an attorney who does not send the client to file their protective orders. The statute makes filing for a protective order actually easier for a non-lawyer. I use the remainder of this post to give you links to information about protective orders in Indiana. You can find the statute here.

The information that follows applies generally to any county in Indiana. For where to file a protective order in your county, you should call your local county clerk's office. This comes from Tippecanoe County:

No Contact Orders:
"A no-contact order usually states that a criminal defendant, the person charged with the crime, is not to directly or indirectly contact or be within sight of the protected person and their residence. Direct contact includes phone calls, letters, going within sight of the protected person, the protected person's residence, place of employment, or school. Indirect contact includes, messages through a third person at the direction of the defendant."



A protective order is a civil suit not connected to any other type of case. A criminal case does not have to exist to apply for a Protective Order. Protective Orders are obtained by the petitioner filing a Petition for Temporary Protective Order with the Clerk's Office. The protection must be for domestic or family violence, sexual assault and/or stalking. You must know the name, address and date of birth of the offender to apply for a protective order. The request for protection is filed with the court, usually Superior Court # 2 and the presiding judge reviews the motion and decides whether or not to issue a Temporary Protective Order. The temporary order remains in effect until the time of a permanent Protective Order Hearing, usually about two weeks after the Temporary Protective Order is issued . If the judge decides at the hearing that there is a need for a permanent protective order, that order remains in effect for TWO YEARS from the date of signing by the judge. The paperwork for this petition is located in the Clerk's Office, 2nd floor of the Courthouse, 301 Main Street, or the YWCA, 605 N 6th Street.
The Huntington County Clerk provides some more detailed information on the procedure of filing a protective order here. Ignore the first paragraph and it applies to other counties.

Womenslaw.org has a page for Indiana Restraining Orders here. Those articles need read by anyone thinking of filing a protective order. Just as does this brochure (PDF format) from the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The Marion County Prosecutor's office has a much longer FAQ than the preceding resources and I will only highlight its last paragraph:

What is the Protective Order Pro Bono Project?

This is a program whereby abused women, who meet certain income guidelines, may obtain an attorney, at no cost to them, to represent them in protective order hearings. In the past, women have been discouraged by their abusers from proceeding on contempt charges out of fear that they will become "re-victimized" when they have to face their abuser (the respondent ) in court. The Project provides legal assistance for such women, resulting in more cases where abusers are held accountable for violations of protective orders. For more information, contact Annette Biesecker, Director of the Project, at 638-POPB.

As the current statute makes filing a protective order easier for non-lawyers than for, legal advice is still a good thing to have. It might be a very idea for other counties to take a look at the Marion County Protective Order Pro Bono Project to see if it can be translated to other counties. I have no experience with this program myself.

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