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.