How To Obtain an Order Of Protection In Arizona
How Does an Order Of Protection Help Domestic Violence Victims?
Domestic violence is a sad but true experience in many romantic relationships. It can be committed in several ways and can leave the victim traumatized and unsafe. If someone you know has an abusive domestic relationship or is abusing you or harassing you in other ways, you may need to consider obtaining an Order of Protection against them. For guidance throughout the process, call 480-833-8000 to speak with one of our experienced Arizona family lawyers today. For more domestic violence resources, such as emergency shelters and counseling services, you can find the Maricopa County domestic violence resource page here.
What Is an Order Of Protection?
An Order of Protection, commonly referred to as an OOP, is a restraining order against someone with whom you have a domestic relationship. The OOP will forbid this person from committing any further acts of domestic violence against you. It also forbids the defendant from harassing and contacting you. You can request additional protections in your OOP based on your specific circumstances. If you share a home with the person you are seeking an OOP against, you can request sole usage of the home. You can request that the person stay away from your home, school, workplace, etc. If you have pets, you can include a provision that the person may not harm your animals, neglect them, give them away, etc. You can also include a provision that the person you are seeking an OOP against should not be allowed to possess a firearm.
How Do I Obtain an OOP?
You have two options in requesting an OOP in Arizona. The first is by going to the courthouse to do it in person. All of the necessary paperwork should be provided to you there free of charge. This includes the plaintiff information sheet, the petition, and the service of process information form.
The petition you complete must include certain information. This includes the defendant’s name and birthdate, or your best guess. You should explain, in detail, every act of domestic violence the defendant has committed in the past year. If the defendant is incarcerated, lives out of state, or you can otherwise show good cause, you can list incidents that occurred more than one year ago. You will need to provide your address and telephone number so the court can contact you, but this information will be withheld from the defendant. You should also provide the defendant’s address, or at least the city in which they reside. The court will mail notice of the OOP petition to the defendant. This should be done the same day, but the court has a deadline of 72 hours to do so.
The second way to request an OOP is by using AZPOINT. This is a website that requires a valid email address to log in, and allows you to work on your OOP paperwork online. You will need to include all of the same information on AZPOINT as if you were filing it at the courthouse. If you share an electronic device with the defendant, you should be sure to clear your browser history after any time you log in to AZPOINT. There is no filing fee for using AZPOINT or for doing it in person at the courthouse. After filing, the defendant will be served with the paperwork and can choose to oppose the OOP.
What Should I Do If The Courts Are Closed?
Oftentimes, the need for an OOP doesn’t come during business hours. If so, you should ask a police officer to help you obtain an Emergency Order of Protection, or EOP. If a police officer has reasonable belief that you are in immediate and present danger of domestic violence, the judge can issue an EOP in writing, verbally, or by telephone. Once the EOP is served on the defendant, it is valid until the end of the next day the court is open. So if the incident occurs on a Saturday night and you obtain an EOP, you will have until the end of day Monday to obtain a standard OOP to maintain your protection.
Joint Leaseholders & Domestic Violence
If your partner has committed domestic violence against you, the last thing you want to do is have them come home to the apartment you rent together. Your OOP can prevent the defendant from coming back to the home you share together, but this might not solve your living situation problem in the long term. Under Arizona law, victims of domestic violence can break their leases without penalties and fees. To do so, you must provide your landlord with a copy of the order of protection or police report within 30 days of the domestic violence incident.
What Happens If The Defendant Opposes The OOP?
If the defendant does nothing when served with the OOP papers, it will go into effect and remain valid for one year. The defendant can challenge the OOP when notified or at any time during that one year period. The defendant is only entitled to one hearing on the matter. The defendant can either request a modification to the OOP, or request that it be overruled altogether. The hearing will generally be held within 10 days of the defendant’s request. Both parties will present evidence on why the OOP should or should not remain in effect. If you have retained an attorney for the matter, they can represent you at this hearing. Your attorney will also help you determine which evidence will be most relevant for your OOP hearing.
Are My Children Included In The OOP?
Your children are not automatically included in your OOP- they will only be included in the OOP if you request that they be. Your children, and any other family members you name, will only be included in the OOP if the judge finds it appropriate. If anyone you wish to include on the OOP is 18 or older, the judge will likely require that they attend court with you when you request the OOP. Including your children on an OOP will not override any existing custody orders between you and the defendant. This may require an emergency child custody modification. Contact our firm at 480-833-8000 if you have additional questions about including your child on an OOP or modifying custody.
Affordable Representation For Orders of Protection & All Your Family Law Needs
When someone needs an OOP, it isn’t uncommon for them to also file a divorce or child custody case at the same time. At My AZ Lawyers, we understand just how stressful all these events can be. We provide compassionate, full service family law representation at affordable rates with payment plan options. This all starts with your free case evaluation. You can attend your free case evaluation in the office or over the phone, and you can let us know if we need to use discretion when contacting you. We want to make sure that you feel safe throughout your family law matter. Our family law team has experience dealing with difficult personalities in divorce and custody matters. See for yourself by filling out our online form or calling to schedule your free case evaluation at 480-833-8000.
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