Who can get an order of protection?
You may be eligible for an order of protection against a family or household member who has committed domestic violence against you. The abuser is a family or household members if s/he is:
- a spouse or former spouse;
- a parent or child;
- any person related to you by blood within the 4th degree of consanguinity (this includes family relationships up to first cousins);
- an in-law (related by marriage within the 2nd degree of consanguinity);*
- any child residing in the household;
- a person with whom you have (or had) a child in common;
- a person with whom you currently live or have lived in the past;
- a person with whom you have or have had a dating relationship (romantic or intimate).**
* Ark. Code § 9-15-103(5)
** Ark. Code § 9-15-103(4)
How will a judge decide if I am in a dating relationship with the abuser?
You may be eligible for an order or protection against an abuser with whom you have or have had a dating relationship (romantic or intimate).*
When deciding whether you and the abuser were in a dating relationship, the judge will consider:
- the length of your relationship;
- the type of relationship; and
- the frequency of interaction between you and the abuser.**
A dating relationship does not include a casual relationship or ordinary socializing in a business or social context.***
* Ark. Code § 9-15-103(4)
** Ark. Code § 9-15-103(2)(A)
*** Ark. Code § 9-15-103(2)(B)
Can I get an order of protection if I am a minor?
Yes. A minor (under 18) cannot file the petition himself/herself, but any adult family or household member may file on behalf of the minor, including a married minor.* An employee or volunteer at a domestic violence shelter or organization may also file on behalf of a minor, including a married minor.** Note: A minor may be able to get an order of protection if s/he is residing in the household where the domestic abuse occurred. The minor does not have to be the direct victim of abuse in this case.***
* Ark. Code § 9-15-201(d)(2)
** Ark. Code § 9-15-201(d)(4)
*** Ark. Code § 9-15-103(4)
Can I get an order of protection against a same-sex partner?
In Arkansas, you may apply for an order of protection against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Who can get an order of protection? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Arkansas?