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?
In Indiana, 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 for protection? You must also be the victim of an act of domestic violence, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic violence in Indiana?
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