Applications may be obtained from the Clerk of Court in Room 115 of the Polk
County Courthouse, 5th and Mulberry in Des Moines.
If you have questions regarding the qualifications in obtaining the order you may
call the Civil Court Advocate of the Family Violence Center at (515) 243-6147.
There are three ways to keep someone away:
A victim can ask the court for relief from domestic abuse with or without an
attorney. Each clerk of court office in Iowa has forms available for
victims to fill out. The people involved must have a relationship where
at least one of the following
- Family or household members living together at the time of the assault;
- Married persons, including juveniles who are married;
- Seperated spouses or persons divorced from each other, including juvuniles who
are or were married;
- Juveniles and adult biological parents of the same minor child regardless of
whether they have ever lived together;
- Unmarried persons who are co-habitating - co-habitation does not require a
sexual relationship but does require something more that merely living together;
- Persons who have lived together within the past year but were not living
together at the time of the assault.
Please note that if the victim and abuser have never married, they must either
have a child together, or they have to live together at the time of the assault,
or have lived together within the past year. When persons under 18 years
of age are seeking protection, they may have to have a parent or gaurdian file
on their behalf. The clerk of court has forms for this situation.
Orders granted under Chapter 236 are meant to be protective. As a result, if an
abuser ignores the order, the abuser can be arrested immediately. Parties to a
protective order should read and understand the terms of the order. Only
the judge can change the terms of the order so if the petitioner no longer wants
the order, s/he must ask the court to change or stop the order. Orders
from a judge can last up to one year and be extended for one year only if the
petitioner asks for the extension. Finally, a protective order should
protect a petitioner anywhere s/he goes in the United States.
A restraining order is a CIVIL
matter, and is handled by either the requesting party or his/her attorney.
The County Attorney's Office does not handle or involve itself in restraining
orders as we have no standing. A party may speak to a private attorney
(many do not charge for an initial consultation) for advice on how to obtain
such an order. Questions a person seeking a restraining order may wish to
- How much does it cost?
- How long does it take to obtain an order?
- Once obtained, how is it enforced?
No Contact Orders
A No Contact Order is ATTACHED
to a criminal charge and is ONLY
granted by a judge. Preliminary complaints filled out by law enforcement
need to include checking the box indicated that the victim wants a NCO (Law
enforcement can not only mark the appropriate box, they can also highlight and
use red ink so the information is not overlooked once the defendant is brought
in front of the judge).
A judge can only continue a NCO from court date to court date until the case is
closed. Then, the judge can grant the NCO to continue for a longer period
depending on the charge. A judge can only issue a NCO when the defendant
is in front of him/her, so that the defendant can acknowledge receipt of the
order; therefore, law enforcement
must be vigilant about making notations on the preliminary complaints
forwarded to the Court and/or County Attorney's Office.