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How to Obtain a Domestic Violence Order of Protection

Overview of Domestic Violence


The law defines “Domestic Violence” as physical harm, bodily injury, assault, stalking, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault.

To be considered for an ordered protection from domestic violence, the abuse must be between family, household members, or persons in dating relationships.

In Washington State, this includes:

  • Spouses

  • Former spouses

  • Persons who have a child in common

  • Adult persons related by blood or marriage

  • Adult persons who reside together now or have resided together

  • Persons 16 years of age or older who are residing together now or have resided together in the past and who have or had a dating relationship

  • Persons 16 years of age or older who have or had a dating relationship

  • Persons who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren

What is a Domestic Violence Order of Protection

A protection order does a couple things for you, such as:

  • Ordering the individual not to threaten or hurt you

  • Ordering the individual not to enter your residence

  • It can give one parent temporary custody of children

  • Set a specific schedule for visitation with minor children

  • Ordering the individual to leave the shared residence

  • Ordering the individual to attend counseling

  • Ordering the individual has to surrender weapons

  • Prohibiting surveillance and cyber stalking

A Domestic Order of Protection cannot:

  • Order Child Support

  • Order Spousal Maintenance

  • Establish permanent child custody

  • Make a final disposition of property and debts

How to Obtain a Protection Order

Below is a brief overview of the process of obtaining a protection order. The process can be overwhelming and confusing, and often consulting with an experienced attorney may be helpful.

How Do I Obtain a DVPO?

A DVPO can be obtained in either the District or Superior Court. Both courts have domestic violence advocates and are available to assist in obtaining both temporary and full orders for protection.

Washington has mandatory forms that must be used to obtain either a temporary or a full DVPO. These forms are available online at .

To obtain a DVPO the following forms need to be completed:

  • Petition for Order for Protection: In this form, you must provide the court with information about the identity of the parties, nature of the relationship, and the types of protection you seek to have. You must also describe the specific acts of domestic violence committed by the respondent.

  • Child Custody Information Sheet: If you have a child with the respondent and are asking the court to grant you temporary custody of the child, you must complete the child custody information sheet.

  • Law Enforcement Information Sheet: This form will be forwarded to law enforcement for entry into their database. This will permit the sheriff and police to enforce DVPOs and arrest respondent who violate them. It also assists law enforcement agencies with serving the DVPO on the respondent.

  • Confidential Information Form: This form is required so that the court can input your case into the court's database. It requires you to disclose identifying information about yourself, your children (if any), and the opposing party.

  • Proposed Temporary and Full Orders for Protection: You must submit a proposed temporary and full order for protection to the court. This order must set forth all the specific protection that you want the court to impose.

What If I Am in Immediate Danger?

If you need immediate protection from abuse, you may obtain a temporary DVPO from the Superior Court's Ex Parte Department, or the District Court's Domestic Violence Court. A temporary DVPO may be obtained without providing any notice to the respondent.

What Happens Next?

If you obtain a temporary DVPO, the court will set a hearing on a full order, often about 14 days after the temporary order is issued and served. At the hearing after the considering evidence from both sides, the court will determine whether a full order should be entered. Full orders are commonly issued for one year and can be re-issued each year if there is still a risk of domestic violence to the victim.

After the temporary DVPO has been issued, you will need to obtain certified copies of the DVPO that you should keep with you at all times, as well as provide a copy to your employer, your child's day care or school administrative office, and any other person or agency that should be aware of the order.

You must also arrange for the order to be served on the respondent. Local law enforcement can often assist with service of the order.

Domestic violence is a very serious family problem and has wide-ranging implications on other family law matters such as a divorce or child custody. An experienced attorney can advise you not only on your options for protection from further domestic violence, but also on your options for legally ending your relationship with the abuser. Contact us today at (253) 838 – 3377 or email at, to talk about your divorce.

Disclaimer: All materials provided on this website have been prepared by Bains Law Firm for general information purposes only and no representation is made as to their completeness or accuracy. Information on this website is not intended as legal advice and may not be relied upon as such. Only an attorney who can review the unique facts of each case and apply them to the statutes, case law and court rules can provide legal advice. Nothing in this website shall be construed to create an attorney-client relationship.

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