An order of protection, also sometimes informally called a “restraining order,” is a court order that is intended to stop domestic violence, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or interference with personal liberty. Men, women, and children can seek an order of protection in Iowa. The law surrounding orders or protection can be complex, so I always recommend that those seeking an order of protection – or those defending themselves against a wrongfully filed Protective Order – retain an attorney.
Domestic violence is defined by Iowa law to include:
- Threatening to cause physical injury and being able to do it
- Sexual abuse
- Physical abuse
- Pointing a gun at a person
- Brandishing a knife or other weapon
A Protective Order can be obtained against any of the following individuals:
- a family or household member who you lived with at the time of the abuse or at anytime within the past year.
- an ex-spouse
- someone with whom you have a child in common
- someone you have or had an intimate relationship with and have had contact with during the year before the abuse
Those individuals who are under 18 years old need to have a parent or guardian file for a protective order on their behalf.
In Iowa, there are three types of Protective Orders:
An emergency order is issued only if the courts are closed for the night or weekend, and lasts for 72 hours. They are intended to protect a victim for a few days until a temporary or permanent order can be obtained.
Temporary orders are almost identical to emergency orders, but last longer, allowing a person to be protected until there can be a court hearing on the permanent order.
A permanent order can be issued only after a court hearing in which the alleged victim and abuser have been given the opportunity to obtain attorneys and present evidence in court. A permanent Protective Order in Iowa can last for 1 year. In the permanent order, the judge can order the abuser to:
- stop abusing the victim
- leave the victim’s home
- stay away from the victim’s home and place of work
- surrender the abuser’s weapons
- pay child and spousal support
- attend counseling sessions
- pay the victim’s attorney’s fees and court costs
- The judge may also award temporary custody of children to the victim
The granting of a protective order in Iowa has significant effects upon child custody, and can affect certain aspects of Iowa divorce cases too. It is of the utmost importance that a protective order case in Iowa be handled properly.