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Restraining Orders

Protect Yourself


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:

Protective Orders

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 applies:

  • 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 juveniles 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; or
  • 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.


Restraining Orders

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 ask include:

  • 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.