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Legal Information: Indiana

Indiana Restraining Orders

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Restraining Orders

This section contains information about orders for protection and workplace violence restraining orders.  To find legal help and other support services in your area, please click on IN Places that Help.

Overview of Civil vs. Criminal Law

A quick overview of the legal system

The legal system is divided into two areas: civil law and criminal law. Separate courts govern (control) these two areas of the law.

It is important to understand the difference between civil cases and criminal cases. In domestic violence situations, there may be both civil and criminal cases occurring at the same time as a result of the same violent act. You may want to pursue both civil and criminal actions for maximum protection. The major differences have to do with who takes the case to court (who is a "party") and the reason for the case.

Civil Law
In a civil domestic violence action, you are asking the court to protect you from the person abusing you. You are not asking the court to send that person to jail for committing a crime. However, if the abuser violates the civil court order, s/he may be sent to jail for the violation. In a civil case, you are the person bringing the case against the abuser and (in most circumstances), you have the right to withdraw (drop) the case if you want to. The orders for protection that we talk about on these pages are under the civil law system.

Criminal Law
The criminal law system handles all cases that involve violations of criminal law such as harassment, assault, murder, theft, etc. If the police believe there is enough proof that a crime was committed, a person can be charged with a crime and brought before a criminal court judge. In a criminal case, the prosecutor (also called the district attorney) is the one who has control over whether the case against the abuser continues or not. It is the county/state who has brought the case against the abuser, not the victim. It is possible that if you do not want the case to continue (if you do not want to “press charges”), the prosecutor might decide to drop the criminal charges but this is not necessarily true. The prosecutor can also continue to prosecute the abuser against your wishes and could even issue a subpoena (a court order) to force you to testify at the trial.

Orders for Protection due to Domestic Violence

A civil order that protects you from domestic/family violence, stalking, and sex offenses committed by a family or household member.

Basic information

What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Indiana?

This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a civil order for protection. "Domestic violence" (also known as "family violence") is when a family or household member commits one or more of the following acts (except if the act is committed in self-defense) against you:

  • Attempting to cause, threatening to cause, or causing you physical harm;
  • Placing you in fear of physical harm;
  • Stalking you;
  • Causing you to involuntarily engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress;
  • Committing a sex offense against you;
  • Beating, torturing, mutilating or killing an animal with the intent to threaten, intimidate, coerce, harass, or terrorize you.*

In addition, for the purposes of getting a civil order for protection, Indiana law also includes victims of stalking and sex offenses that were committed by someone who is NOT a family or household member.*  See Orders for Protection due to Stalking or a Sex Offense for more information.

* IC § 31-9-2-42

What is the legal definition of a "sex offense"?

A “sex offense” can be defined as any of the following:

  1. when someone forces you to have sexual intercourse* or “deviate sexual conduct” (i.e., oral or anal sex; or penetration with an object):**
    • by force or an immediate threat of force;
    • when you are unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring; or
    • when you are so mentally disabled or deficient that you cannot consent to sexual intercourse (including if you are drugged without your knowledge);
  2. child molestation (of a child under 14)
  3. sexual misconduct with a minor (which involves sexual contact with a child between the ages of 14 and 16
  4. child seduction (which involves sexual contact with a child between the ages of 16 and 18)
  5. vicarious sexual gratification;
  6. fondling in the presence of a minor;
  7. child solicitation
  8. sexual battery; or
  9. communication with a child concerning sexual activity

You can click on each link to read the definitions of these crimes on our IN Statutes page.

* IC § 35-42-4-1
** IC §§ 35-42-4-2 and 35-31.5-2-94

What is the legal definition of stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of behavior.  It includes two or more incidents of intentional and repeated harassment that reasonably cause you to feel frightened, intimidated or threatened.*  You can click on each link to read the definitions of these terms on our IN Statutes page.

* IC § 35-45-10-1

What types of order for protections are there? How long do they last?

An order for protection is a civil court order intended to provide protection from domestic/family violence, stalking, or a sex offense. There are two types of orders:

Ex parte orders for protection: Ex parte orders are generally issued as an emergency response as soon as you file your petition, without the abuser being present or notified beforehand.  For the order to be effective, the abuser has to be served with the order.  Either party (you or the abuser) then has 30 days from the date the abuser is served with the order to request a hearing on the ex parte order for protection.  (In some cases, the judge will order a hearing even if neither party requests it.)  The hearing, in most circumstances, must be held within 30 days after the request for a hearing is filed or ordered by the judge.  The court will notify both parties by first class mail of the date and time of the hearing.*  If no hearing is requested, the ex parte order for protection can last for two years after the date it was given unless another date is ordered by the court.**

Final orders for protection: A final order for protection is one that is issued after a court hearing in which you and the abuser both have the right to be present and present evidence (i.e., testimony, witnesses, etc.) in court.  You must attend that hearing even if the abuser does not.  You can still get a final order even if the abuser does not attend, as long as s/he was served with notice of the hearing.  If you do not go to the hearing, your ex parte order may expire and you may have to start the process over again.  If you are given a final order after a hearing, it will generally last for two years, unless otherwise stated.**  Orders may also be extended beyond the two years.  See How do I change or extend the order?

Please refer to the Indiana Courts website to download the necessary forms and get more information about orders for protection. You may also find the court forms you need on our IN Download Court Forms page.

* IC § 34-26-5-10
** IC § 34-26-5-9(e)

How can an order for protection help me?

An ex parte order for protection (without notice to the abuser and without a hearing) can:

1. Prohibit the abuser from committing, or threatening to commit, acts of domestic or family violence, stalking, or sex offenses against you and your family or household members. Note: Although you may be able to add your children onto your order as “protected parties,” this only means that the respondent cannot threaten violence or commit any acts of violence against them. It generally does not interfere with the an existing parenting time or custody order although you may have to exchange the children through a third party. If there is no existing custody order, the court may deny parenting time until such an order is established.

2. Prohibit the abuser from harassing or annoying you through:
a) Telephone, email, text message, etc.
b) direct contact (face to face)
c) indirect contact (sending messages to you through another person).

3. Order the abuser to stay away from:
a) your residence
b) your school
c) your work and
d) other places where you and your family or household members usually go.

4. Remove the abuser from your residence, regardless of who owns the residence.

5. Order possession and use of the home, an automobile, and other important personal items (such as critical medications or household items that you need), regardless of who actually owns these items. Note: the court can order a law enforcement officer to accompany you to the home to ensure that you are safely put back into the home (if you had left) and that you can get your automobile, and important personal items. The officer can also supervise your or the abuser’s removal of personal belongings.

6. Order other relief necessary to provide for your safety and the safety of your family or household members on the petition.*

Note: If you request and/ or the judge orders numbers 4, 5, and/or 6 in the list above, the judge must then hold a hearing within 30 days to give the abuser the right to object to those parts of the order. The judge must also order a hearing within 30 days if you request that any of the relief listed below in numbers 2, 3, 4 and/or 5 be included in your final order for protection.**

A final order for protection (issued after a hearing) can:

1. Give you everything mentioned in the list above.

2. Order the abuser to pay you money for various expenses, including:
a. Court costs
b. Attorney fees
c. Rent/mortgage payments on your residence
d. Child support and maintenance
e. Medical expenses
f. Counseling and/or shelter
g. Repair or replacement of damaged property.

3. Make a parenting time arrangement, which can include the following to ensure your safety or your child’s safety:
a. Requiring supervised parenting time between the abuser and your child or
b. Denying parenting time altogether to the abuser.

4. Prohibit the abuser from possessing firearms, ammunition, or deadly weapons.

5. If the abuser owns a firearm, ammunition, or a deadly weapon, the judge may order him to surrender those items to a local law enforcement agency for the time that you have your order for protection or until such date that is ordered by the court.

6. Pay the costs and expenses that come with the use of a GPS tracking device (if appropriate).***

* IC § 34-26-5-9(b)
** IC § 34-26-5-10(b)
*** IC § 34-26-5-9(c)

In which county can I file an order for protection?

You can file for an order for protection in the county where you live or are staying temporarily, where the abuser lives, or where the abuse happened.*

However, if you have left the home and want to keep the address where you are staying confidential, filing in that county would likely not be a good idea since it would alert the abuser to the fact that you are living in that county.

* IC § 34-26-5-4(b)

Who is eligible for an order for protection

Who can get an order for protection?

In Indiana, you can seek legal protection against a family or household member, which is defined below (as well as against anyone, regardless of the relationship, who committed stalking or a sex offense against you).  A person is considered a family or household member if:

  • s/he is, or used to be, your spouse;
  • you and the abuser lived together in an intimate relationship;
  • you and the abuser have a child in common;
  • you and the abuser are dating, or have dated, each other or have had a sexual relationship;
  • you and the abuser are related by blood or adoption;
  • you and the abuser are related by marriage;
  • the abuser is, or used to be, your guardian, ward, custodian, foster parent or someone in a similar capacity;
  • you are the minor child of a person in one of the types of relationships described above; or
  • you adopted the child of the abuser.*

Note: If an abuser has been violent towards you, stalked you, or threatened you with violence that might be carried out at your workplace, your employer has the right to file for a restraining order on your behalf.**  See Workplace Violence Restraining Orders for more information.  If the abuser was arrested for family violence, you may also receive a “no contact order” from the criminal court, which offers some of the same protections as a civil order for protection. 

* IC § 34-6-2-44.8; see also the petition for an order of protection on the Indiana Judicial Branch website
** IC §§ 34-26-6-6; 34-26-6-7

Can I get an order for protection against a same-sex partner?

Can I get an order for protection if I'm a minor?

If you are a minor, your parent, legal guardian, or another representative may file the petition for an order for protection for you on your behalf.*  Just as with an adult who seeks an order for protection, a minor has to prove that she is eligible.  To see what you would have to prove to qualify for an order for protection, go to What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Indiana?

* IC § 34-26-5-2(b)

Can I get an order for protection against a minor?

As long as you meet the other requirements for filing for an order for protection, it does not matter if the abuser is a minor. You can still file an order for protection against a minor and the judge can still issue an ex parte order if necessary. However, if the case is set down for a hearing, the matter may be transferred to a court that handles cases against juveniles.*

* IC § 34-26-5-2(d)

How much does it cost to get an order for protection?

Nothing.  There is no filing fee to get an order for protection.*

Although you do not need a lawyer to file for an order for protection, it may be to your advantage to seek legal counsel.  This is especially important if the abuser has obtained a lawyer.  Even if the abuser does not have a lawyer, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer or domestic violence program or lawyer to make sure that your legal rights are protected.

If you cannot afford a lawyer but want one to help you with your case, you can find information on legal assistance and domestic violence organizations on the IN Places that Help page.  In addition, court staff may be able to answer some of your questions or help you fill out the necessary court forms.  You will find contact information for courthouses on the IN Courthouse Locations page.

* IC § 34-26-5-16

Steps for getting an order for protection

Step 1: Go to court to get and file the petition.

Go to the county courthouse in the county:

  • where you live, or
  • where the abuser lives, or
  • where the abuse took place.

In most counties in Indiana, you can go to any court to ask for a protective order.  However, some counties may require that you go to a particular type of court or a particular division in a courthouse.  To find the courthouse nearest you, go to IN Courthouse Locations.

At the courthouse, tell the civil court clerk that you want to file a petition for an order for protection.  You can obtain a petition during normal business hours, Monday through Friday.  The clerk will give you the forms.  You will fill out a non-confidential petition, as well as a confidential form which is standardized across the state.  In addition, you can find links to the petitions online, any time day or night, by going to IN Court Forms.

Step 2: Fill out the necessary forms.

The clerk will provide you with the forms that you need to file and the clerk may help you fill out the forms if you request help.  On the petition, you are the "Petitioner" and the abuser is the "Respondent."  You will fill out two forms:

  • Petition for an order for protection – This is what you use to ask the judge to issue an order for protection and also to ask for a hearing, if a hearing is required.  This form is used to tell the judge why you need protection, to describe what happened, and to list every kind of relief you are asking for.  It is not confidential – the abuser will see it.  This requires you to put an address where you can be reached so the court can send you papers, if needed.  When you are asked to put your address on the form, only put a safe mailing address – it doesn’t have to be your actual home address.   If you prefer, you can enroll in the Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program and use that address instead.  If you are staying at a shelter, give a post office box, not a street address. 
  • Confidential form - This is the form used by you and the clerk to record important information about the people involved in the case. The information on this form is confidential according to state law. The only people who will have access to it are law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and court and clerk staff. This form must be submitted with the petition at the time the case is filed.

Carefully fill out the forms. On the petition for an order for protection, write about the incidents of violence, including the use or threatened use of any weapons.  Use descriptive language - words like "slapping," "hitting," "grabbing," "threatening," "choking," etc. - that fits your situation.  Include details and dates, if possible. Be specific. If you are including a threat that the abuser said, try to use the exact words that he used instead of summarizing the threat. 

Take all of your completed forms to the clerk's office.  Review these documents carefully with the assistance of a clerk or an advocate if possible.  Remember, you are signing this legal petition under oath, and therefore swearing that all of the information is accurate.  Don't sign and date the petition until you are in front of the clerk (who may require photo ID to notarize your signature.) The clerk will bring your petition to a judge.

The forms you need and other valuable information can also be found on our IN Court Forms page.

Note: The court clerk is required by law to provide you with an explanation of the processes for obtaining an order, information about when the order becomes effective, and information about procedures to follow if the order is violated.  However, a clerk cannot offer any legal advice about your case.

If you need assistance filling out the form, a domestic violence organization or lawyer may be able to provide you with help.  See our IN Places that Help page for the location of an organization near you.

Step 3: The ex parte hearing

The judge will review your forms and may wish to ask you questions. If the judge grants you an ex parte order for protection, take the signed order to the clerk. The clerk will assign a case number and stamp the copies with the date of filing. The clerk will keep the confidential form and copies of your signed ex parte order for protection. Make sure the clerk gives you several copies of the ex parte order for protection.

Review the order before you leave the courthouse to make sure that the information is correct, that the ex parte order for protection is file-stamped, and that it has the judge's signature. If something is wrong or missing, ask the clerk to correct the order before you leave. Be sure to keep it with you at all times. You may want to keep copies in your car, workplace, or daycare.

If the court must hold a hearing on your petition, make sure you know the correct date and time of the hearing before you leave the clerk's office. Make sure you have the court's telephone number; you may want call ahead a few days before the hearing and confirm the court date and time.

Step 4: Service of process

Your ex parte order for protection is not valid until the abuser has been served, meaning that he was given the legal papers that tell him about the hearing date (if the court gave you one), your order for protection, and the non-confidential petition.

The court will send copies of the order and notice of the hearing (if there is one) to the police or sheriff. A law enforcement agency will serve the abuser. Do not try to serve the papers on the abuser yourself. The clerk may ask you to provide the following information about the abuser to help with service of the petition and registry of the order into the Protection Order Registry: 1) an accurate address for him/her; 2) his/her date of birth; 3) his/her Social Security number.* If you have this information, bring it with you to court when you file.

Remember that the abuser will see the address you list on the petition but not the address you give on the confidential form that you file in court.

* See "Instructions for petition for order for protection," (page 7), available at the IN Courts website

Step 5: If there is a hearing for a final order for protection, what will I have to prove?

The abuser may request a hearing or the judge can order one on his/her own. If there is a hearing for the final order, as the petitioner requesting an order for protection, you may have to:

  1. Prove that the abuser (the respondent) has committed an act(s) of domestic or family violence (as defined by law) against you or your minor children; and
  2. Convince a judge that you need protection and the specific things you asked for in the petition.

See the Preparing your Case section under the Preparing for Court tab at the top of this page for ways you can show the judge that you were abused.  It is also generally best to be represented by an attorney who has expereince with domestic violence cases.  You can find legal referrals at our IN Finding a Lawyer page.

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Indiana have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, read our Firearms Seizure and Retention Law page to read about situations when law enforcement can remove firearms from dangerous individuals;
  • third, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • fourth you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

What should I do when I leave the courthouse?

Here are some ideas of what you can do:

  • Make several copies of the order for protection as soon as possible.
  • Keep a copy of the order with you at all times.
  • Leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children’s school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on.
  • Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser.
  • Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.
  • If the court has not given you an extra copy for your local law enforcement agency, take one of your extra copies and deliver it to them. One week after court, call your local law enforcement offices to make sure they have received copies of the order.
  • Take steps to safety plan, including changing your locks (if permitted by law) and your phone number.

Ongoing safety planning is important after receiving the order.  People can do a number of things to increase their safety during violent incidents, when preparing to leave an abusive relationship, and when they are at home, work, and school.  Many abusers obey protective orders, but some do not.  It is important to build on the things you have already been doing to keep yourself safe.  Click on Safety Tips for suggestions.  Advocates at local resource centers can assist you in designing a safety plan and can provide other forms of support; see IN Advocates and Shelters.

What can I do if the abuser violates the order?

You can call the police, even if you think it is a minor violation. A person who intentionally violates the protective order can be committing a misdemeanor. However, if the person has been previously convicted for a violation of the order, he may be guilty of a felony, which carries a greater punishment.* It is also a good idea to write down the name of the responding officer(s) and their badge number in case you want to follow up on your case.

You can also file a petition for contempt in the courthouse where you got the order. For violating the order, the abuser can be held in “contempt of court” and punished by the judge. Additionally, if the judge believes that the abuser violated an order for protection, the court can:

  • require a respondent to wear a GPS tracking device (with victim notification capabilities if available); and
  • prohibit the respondent from approaching or entering certain locations where you may be found.**

* IC § 35-46-1-15.1
** IC § 34-26-5-9(i)

How do I change or extend an order for protection?

If you wish to modify (change) the order, you must go back to court and file a “petition to modify an order for protection.” You will have to explain to the judge what the substantial change in circumstances has been that makes this modification necessary and you will check off which additional protections you need. Some modifications will not require a hearing while others will.

If you wish to extend your final order beyond the expiration date, the judge may require evidence of a continuing need for the order. Ask the clerk what forms you need to file to do this - it is possible you may have to file a new petition and start the process over.

If you want to extend your order, it is best to start the petition process before your first order expires, so that you are not left unprotected.

If I move out of state, will my order still be valid?

Yes.  Your order for protection can be enforced even if you move to another state. If you move, your order for protection must be given “full faith and credit” in any other U.S. state or territory; this means that your order can be good wherever you go.*  See Moving to Another State with an Order of Protection for more information.

Remember to take a certified copy of your order with you when you move.

If you are moving to a new state, you may want to call the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit (1-800-903-0111 x2) for information on enforcing your order in the new state.

* See 18 U.S.C §§ 2265 and 2266

Orders for Protection due to Stalking or a Sex Offense

Under Indiana law, if you are the victim of stalking or a sex offense, you can apply for an order for protection even if the person who committed the stalking or sex offense is not a family or household member. The person can be an acquaintance, a stranger, a co-worker, a neighbor, or any other relationship to you. (The forms for this order as the same as the forms for a domestic violence order for protection.)

What is the legal definition of stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of behavior.  It includes two or more incidents of intentional and repeated harassment that reasonably cause you to feel frightened, intimidated or threatened.*  You can click on each link to read the definitions of these terms on our IN Statutes page.

* IC § 35-45-10-1

What is the legal definition of a "sex offense"?

A “sex offense” can be defined as any of the following:

  1. when someone forces you to have sexual intercourse* or “deviate sexual conduct” (i.e., oral or anal sex; or penetration with an object):**
    • by force or an immediate threat of force;
    • when you are unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring; or
    • when you are so mentally disabled or deficient that you cannot consent to sexual intercourse (including if you are drugged without your knowledge);
  2. child molestation (of a child under 14)
  3. sexual misconduct with a minor (which involves sexual contact with a child between the ages of 14 and 16
  4. child seduction (which involves sexual contact with a child between the ages of 16 and 18)
  5. vicarious sexual gratification;
  6. fondling in the presence of a minor;
  7. child solicitation
  8. sexual battery; or
  9. communication with a child concerning sexual activity

You can click on each link to read the definitions of these crimes on our IN Statutes page.

* IC § 35-42-4-1
** IC §§ 35-42-4-2 and 35-31.5-2-94

What types of orders are available and how can one help me?

The order for protection that you would get against someone who commits a sex offense or stalking against you comes under the same laws as an order for protection based on domestic/family violence.  You would fill out the same forms and the protections offered can be the same.  Therefore, for more information, please see the Orders for Protection due to Domestic Violence section.

Workplace Violence Restraining Orders

A workplace violence restraining order (WVRO) is an order that an employer can get due to unlawful violence or credible threats of violence against his/her employee.

Basic info

What is a workplace violence restraining order (WVRO)? How do I get one?

A workplace violence restraining order (WVRO) is an order available to an employer if his/her employee is an abuse victim -- the employer can file for it even if no violence has occurred at the workplace.  If you are an employer, there are clear, easy-to-understand instructions on how to obtain a workplace violence restraining order at the IN Courts website.

An employer may seek protection under this law if the employee has experienced unlawful violence that occurred at the workplace or a credible threat of violence that could reasonably be carried out in the workplace.* 

A “credible threat of violence” is defined as a statement or course of conduct that does not serve a legitimate purpose and that causes a reasonable person to fear for her safety or for the safety of her immediate family.**  A "course of conduct" can include any of the following behaviors (but there must be repeated incidents, not just one):

  • Following or stalking the employee to or from the employee's place of work;
  • Entering the employee's place of work;
  • Following the employee during the employee's work hours;
  • Making telephone calls to an employee during the employee's work hours; and/or
  • Sending correspondence to an employee by postal mail, interoffice mail, fax, or electronic mail.***

Note: if you are the victim, you cannot file for this yourself; your employer would file for it.  If you want to file for your own order for protection, go to our Orders for Protection page to read more info. 

* IC § 34-26-6-6
** IC § 34-26-6-2
*** IC § 34-26-6-1

What types of WVROs are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of WVRO's:

  • an ex parte or temporary restraining order (TRO) issued without a hearing that lasts a maximum of 15 days, and
  • an injunction (an order issued after a hearing) that lasts up to 3 years.

To get a temporary ex parte order, the employer has to allege in the petition and prove that serious harm has been suffered by the employee or will be suffered by the employee due to the abuser.*

* IC § 34-26-6-7 (2)

How can a WVRO protect the victim?

A WVRO can order the abuser to:

  • stay away from you and your family/ household members;
  • stay away from your home, work, school, vehicle, child’s school or daycare, or other location;*
  • not commit further unlawful violence against the victim or her family/household members;
  • not commit "credible threats of violence" against the victim or her family/household members.** Note: Credible threats of violence” include:
    • Following or stalking the employee to or from the employee's place of work.
    • Entering the employee's place of work.
    • Following the employee during the employee's work hours.
    • Making telephone calls to an employee during the employee's work hours
    • Sending correspondence to an employee by postal mail, interoffice mail, fax, or electronic mail.***

* See "Petition of employer for injunction prohibiting violence or threats of violence against employee," available at the Indiana Courts website
** IC § 34-26-6-8
*** IC § 34-26-6-1

How much does it cost to file for a WVRO?

There will be no cost as long as the petition alleges one of the following:

  • violence or threatened violence against the employee,
  • stalking of the employee, or
  • that the abuser of has spoken in a manner that has placed the employee in reasonable fear of violence.*

* IC § 34-26-6-14

After the hearing

Can the abuser have a gun?

Once you get a protection order, there may be laws that prohibit the respondent from having a gun in his/her possession.  There are a few places where you can find this information:

  • first, read the questions on this page to see if judges in Indiana have to power to remove guns as part of a temporary or final order;
  • second, go to our State Gun Laws section to read about your state’s specific gun-related laws; and
  • third you can read our Federal Gun Laws section to understand the federal laws that apply to all states.

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website

Can a WRVO be extended?

Yes. If necessary, the employer can apply for the renewal of the final WVRO within the three months before the three-year order expires.*

* IC § 34-26-6-9

What happens if the abuser violates the WVRO?

If the workplace violence protective order is intentionally violated, the abuser can be found guilty of an invasion of privacy which is a Class A misdemeanor. It may be a more serious crime, a Class D felony, if the person has a conviction for violating the order in the past.*

* IC § 35-46-1-15.1

Moving to Another State with an Indiana Order for Protection

If you are moving out of state or are going to be out of the state for any reason, your order for protection can still be enforceable.

General rules

Can I get my order for protection from Indiana enforced in another state?

Yes. If you have a valid Indiana order for protection that meets federal standards, it can be enforced in another state. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which is a federal law, states that all valid protection orders granted in the United States receive "full faith and credit" in all state and tribal courts within the US, including US territories.* See How do I know if my protection order is good under federal law? to find out if your order for protection qualifies.

Each state must enforce out-of-state orders for protections in the same way it enforces its own orders. This means that if the abuser violates your out-of-state order for protection, s/he will be punished according to the laws of whatever state you are in when the order is violated just as s/he would be if s/he violated an order of protection issued by the state you are in. This is what is meant by "full faith and credit."

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265

How do I know if my order for protection is good under federal law?

An order for protection is good anywhere in the United States as long as:

  •  It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

I have a temporary (ex parte) order. Can it be enforced in another state?

Yes.  An ex parte temporary order can be enforced in other states as long as it meets the requirements listed in How do I know if my order for protection is good under federal law?*

Note: The state where you are going generally cannot extend your ex parte temporary order or issue you a permanent order when the temporary one expires. If you need to extend your temporary order, you will have to contact the state that issued the order and arrange to be at the hearing in person or by telephone (if that is an option offered by the court).  However, you may be able to reapply for one in the new state that you are moving to if you meet the requirements for getting a protective order in that state – but, if you apply for one in a new state, the abuser would know what state you are living in, which may put you in danger.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(b)(2)

Getting your Indiana order for protection enforced in another state

How do I get my order for protection enforced in another state?

Federal law does not require you to take any special steps to get your order for protection enforced in another state.

Many states do have laws or regulations (rules) about registering or filing of out-of-state orders, which can make enforcement easier, but a valid order for protection is enforceable regardless of whether it has been registered or filed in the new state.*  Rules differ from state to state, so it may be helpful to find out what the rules are in your new state. You can contact a local domestic violence organization for more information by visiting our Advocates and Shelters page and entering your new state in the drop-down menu.

Note: It is important to keep a copy of your order for protection with you at all times. It is also a good idea to know the rules of states you will be living in or visiting to ensure that your out-of-state order can be enforced in a timely manner.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2265(d)(2)

Do I need anything special to get my order for protection enforced in another state?

In some states, you will need a certified copy of your order for protection. A certified copy says that it is a "true and correct" copy; it is signed and initialed by the clerk of court that gave you the order, and usually has some kind of court stamp on it. In Indiana, a certified order has the court’s seal and the clerk’s signature on it.

The copies you originally received may not have been certified copies. If your copy is not a certified copy, call or go to the court that gave you the order and ask the clerk's office for a certified copy. There should be no fee to get a certified copy of an IN order for protection.*

Note: It is generally a good idea to keep a copy of the order with you at all times. You will also want to bring several copies of the order with you when you move. You may want to leave copies of the order at your workplace, at your home, at the children's school or daycare, in your car, with a sympathetic neighbor, and so on. Give a copy to the security guard or person at the front desk where you live and/or work along with a photo of the abuser. Give a copy of the order to anyone who is named in and protected by the order.

* IC § 34-26-5-16

Can I get someone to help me? Do I need a lawyer?

You do not need a lawyer to get your order for protection enforced in another state.

However, you may want to get help from a local domestic violence advocate or attorney in the state that you move to.  A domestic violence advocate can let you know what the advantages and disadvantages are for registering your order for protection, and help you through the process if you decide to do so.

To find a domestic violence advocate or an attorney in the state you are moving to, please visit our Places that Help page.

Do I need to tell the court in Indiana if I move?

If your order for protection involves parenting time and custody provisions, or if you have an outstanding or pending custody or parenting time case, the law requires that you give notice to the other parent (and to any other individual who has parenting time, such as grandparents) before you relocate. The notice must be given at least 90 days before the move. This notice must be made by registered or certified mail and provide detail about the move including new location, phone numbers, reasons for move and proposed new parenting time schedule.* Note: If the court finds that including your new address and phone number in the notice would create “a significant risk of substantial harm” to you or the child, the judge can order that you don’t have to include it.**

If you are a participant in the Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program, you must give the office of the Attorney General written notice about your change of address at least 7 days before it occurs.***

If you provide your new address to the court, they are supposed to keep it confidential. Under IN state law, any information regarding a protected person is kept in a confidential part of that person’s file, and the public does not have access to it. However, your new address and other contact information might be released to court officials in your new state or to law enforcement officials in either Indiana or your new state.**** If you feel unsafe giving your new address, you may use the address of a friend you trust or a P.O. box instead.

* IC § 31-17-2.2-3
** IC § 31-17-2.2-4
*** IC § 5-26.5-4-2
**** IC § 5-2-9-7

Enforcing custody provisions in another state

I was granted temporary custody with my order for protection. Will another state enforce this custody order?

Yes. Custody, visitation, and child support provisions that are included in an order for protection can be enforced across state lines. Law enforcement and courts in another state are required by federal law to enforce these provisions.*

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266

I was granted temporary custody with my order for protection. Can I take my kids out of the state?

Maybe.  It may depend on the exact wording of the custody provision in your order for protection.  You may have to first seek the permission from a judge before leaving.  If the abuser was granted visitation/custody rights with your children, then you may have to have the order changed, or show the court that there is a fair and realistic alternative to the current visitation schedule.

If you are unsure about whether or not you can take your kids out of the state, it is important to talk to a lawyer who understands domestic violence and custody laws, and can help you make the safest decision for you and your children.  You can find contact information for local domestic violence organizations and legal assistance in at our Places that Help page.

Enforcing an Out-of-State Order in Indiana

If you are planning to move to Indiana or are going to be in Indiana for any reason, your protection or restraining order can be enforced.

General rules for out-of-state orders in Indiana

Can I get my order for protection enforced in Indiana? What are the requirements?

Yes. Your order for protection can be enforced in Indiana as long as:

  • It was issued to prevent violent or threatening acts, harassing behavior, sexual violence, or it was issued to prevent another person from coming near you or contacting you.*
  • The court that issued the order had jurisdiction over the people and case. (In other words, the court had the authority to hear the case.)
  • The abuser received notice of the order and had an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story.
    • In the case of ex parte temporary and emergency orders, the abuser must receive notice and have an opportunity to go to court to tell his/her side of the story at a hearing that is scheduled before the temporary order expires.**

Note: For information on enforcing a military protective order (MPO) off the military installation, or enforcing a civil protection order (CPO) on a military installation, please see our Military Protective Orders page.

* 18 U.S.C. § 2266(5)
** 18 U.S.C. § 2265(a) & (b)

Can I have my out-of-state protection order changed, extended, or canceled in Indiana?

No.  Only the state that issued your protection order can change, extend, or cancel the order. You cannot have this done by a court in Indiana.

To have your order changed, extended, or canceled, you will have to file a motion or petition in the court where the order was issued.  You may be able to request that you attend the court hearing by telephone rather than in person, so that you do not need to return to the state where the abuser is living.  To find out more information about how to modify a restraining order, go to the Restraining Orders page for the state where your order was issued or contact a local domestic violence direct service provider.  You can find lawyers and advocates on our IN Places that Help page.

If your order does expire while you are living in Indiana, you may be able to get a new one issued in Indiana but this may be difficult to do if no new incidents of abuse have occurred in Indiana.  To find out more information on how to get an order for protection in Indiana, visit our IN Orders for Protection page.

I was granted temporary custody with my protection order. Will I still have temporary custody of my children in IN?

Yes.  As long as the child custody provision complies with certain federal laws,* Indiana can enforce a temporary custody order that is a part of a protection order.

To have someone read over your order and tell you if it meets this legal standard, contact a lawyer in your area.  To find a lawyer or legal aid program in your area, please visit the IN Finding a Lawyer page under the Places that Help tab at the top of this page.

* The federal laws are the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) or the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act of 1980.

Registering your out-of-state order in Indiana

What is the National Crime Information Center Registry? Who has access to it?

The National Crime Information Center Registry (NCIC) is a nationwide, electronic database that contains protective order information that is used by law enforcement agencies in the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. It is managed by the FBI and state law enforcement officials. This database helps law enforcement officers track protective orders across state lines and allows law enforcement to identify orders from other states.

All law enforcement officials have access to it, but the information is encrypted so outsiders cannot access it.

Do I have to register my Order for Protection in Indiana in order to get it enforced?

No. Indiana state law gives full protection to an out-of-state protection order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order that appears to be valid.* The order does not have to be entered into the state or federal registry in order to be enforced by an Indiana police officer, but the officer does need to believe that it is a valid (real) order.**

* IC § 34-26-5-17
** IC §§ 34-26-5-17(e),(g)(1)

How do I register my order for protection in Indiana?

To register your protection order in Indiana, you need to fill out a Registration of Foreign Protection Order Form (PO-0119) and bring the form along with a certified copy of your order to the clerk at the court where you live.  The clerk will send the information to the local law enforcement agency for entrance into the Indiana Data and Communications System (IDACS) as well as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) Registry.*

If you need help registering your protection order, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in Indiana for assistance.  You can find contact information for organizations in your area here on our IN Places that Help page.

* IC §§ 5-2-9-6; 34-26-5-17

Will the abuser be notified if I register my protection order?

Under the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which applies to all U.S. states and territories, the court is not permitted to notify the abuser when a protective order has been registered or filed in a new state unless you specifically request that the abuser be notified.*  However, you may wish to confirm that the clerk is aware of this law before registering the order if your address is confidential.

However, remember that there may be a possibility that the abuser could somehow find out what state you have moved to.  It is important to continue to safety plan, even if you are no longer in the state where the abuser is living.  We have some safety planning tips to get you started on our Safety Tips page.  You can also contact a local domestic violence organization to get help in developing a personalized safety plan. You will find contact information for organizations in your area on our IN Advocates and Shelters page.

* 18 USC § 2265(d)

What if I don't register my protection order? Will it be more difficult to have it enforced?

Neither federal nor IN state law require that you register your protection order in order to get it enforced, so it should not be more difficult to get your protection order enforced even if you do not register it in Indiana.  A police officer is required to enforce your order as long as you can show the officer a copy of the order that appears to be valid.*  This is why we highly recommend having at least one paper copy of your order at all times.

If you are unsure about whether registering your order is the right decision for you, you may want to contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.  An advocate there can help you decide what the safest plan of action is for you in Indiana.  To see a list of local domestic violence organizations in IN, go to IN Places that Help.

* IC §34-26-5-17(c),(e),(g)

Does it cost anything to register my protection order?

No. There is no fee for registering your protection order in Indiana.*

* IC §34-26-5-16