Frequently Asked Questions

HowTo

  1. Create a username and a password. Use a strong password, and choose one that you haven't used before. Be careful about allowing a device or a computer save it for you. Keep your password private.
  2. Answer the questions that appear on each screen. Some questions require an answer, while others do not. If an answer is required, but you do not have exact information, please make your best guess (for example, the defendant’s height or weight).
  3. Save your answers by clicking on the "save progress", "continue/next" or "save & exit" buttons.
  4. When you have provided the minimum required information to file a petition, you will be "court ready," and you will receive a confirmation number and information about your next steps. You will need your confirmation number to file your petition at a court. 
  5. The portal will allow you to print draft (but not official) copies of the forms that you will need to file a petition for an Order of Protection. Think before you print!  Leaving copies of your draft paperwork where others can read them may increase your risk. The information that you save in the portal will stay here for 90 days, and you can come back to it as often as necessary. Please think about your safety before you print draft copies.
  6. Be sure to LOG OUT every time you have finished working in this portal.

StepstoFiling

  1. If you decide to go ahead with your petition for a protective order, you must file it with a court. You may go to a justice of the peace court, a city court, or a superior court. (Click here to find Arizona courts.)
  2. Give the petition number to staff at the court. The petition number is needed to retrieve your petition and other information from the portal.

  • Do you having a "pending" family court case in an Arizona court? If yes, you must file your petition at the superior court where the family court case has been filed.
  • Is the defendant age 11 or younger? If yes, you must file your petition in the juvenile division of the superior court.

If neither of those circumstances apply, you may file your petition at any Arizona city court, justice of the peace court, or superior court. Click to find an Arizona court.

Your information will be available at the court where you go to file your petition. You can file your petition at any city court, justice of the peace court, or superior court (court locator)

Before going to a court, you may want to check its business hours and days of operation. When you arrive, you must give your petition confirmation number to court staff so your case can be started.

A protective order is a document obtained from a court to order the defendant not to contact the plaintiff and to prevent abusive behavior.

An Injunction Against Harassment (IAH) is a legal restraint that orders a person to stop harassing, annoying, or alarming another person. Injunctions can be used for disputes between neighbors or strangers.

Harassment is defined as "a series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person..." or "one or more acts of sexual violence." Therefore, more than one act of harassment has to have occurred to qualify for an IAH. A person who alleges one act of sexual violence may also apply for a IAH. For an IAH, the plaintiff may have to hire a process server to deliver the petition and the order to the defendant. The IAH law can be found at A.R.S. § 12-1809.

An Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH) allows an employer or an agent of an employer to file for relief on behalf of all employees at the workplace, any person who enters the employer's property, and any person who is performing official work duties. This allows the inclusion of numerous people under the protective umbrella of this injunction, whereas the Injunction Against Harassment is between two people. The Injunction Against Workplace Harassment law can be found at A.R.S. § 12-1810.

For an IAWH, harassment is defined as "a single threat or act of physical harm or damage or a series of acts over a period of time that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed or annoyed."

A person who uses threats, harasses, molests, stalks, attacks, batters, or strikes an intimate partner, family members, or his or her children is committing domestic violence. People from all ethnic, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds can experience domestic violence.

A person who is experiencing domestic violence has a legal right to seek relief from the courts by getting an Order of Protection. A person who is seeking protection from harassment but who does not meet the relationship requirements for an Order of Protection may ask the court for an Injunction Against Harassment.

In Arizona, domestic violence includes a variety of abusive acts in combination with specific relationships. The crimes and relationships are found in Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 13-3601.

A plaintiff must be able to show the court that the person from whom he or she wants protection (the defendant) has committed or may commit an act of domestic violence. A plaintiff does not have to be physically injured or hurt to be a victim of domestic violence. The person only needs to threaten harm or abuse another person once for the act to be considered domestic violence.

Domestic violence occurs if the other person has done or attempts to:

endanger

threaten, intimidate, or harass

interfere with the custody of children

trespass on or damage property

restrain, kidnap, or hold a person as a prisoner

assault with his or her body or with a weapon

display a deadly weapon or threaten with a deadly weapon

surreptitiously (without a person’s knowledge) photograph, videotape, film or record another person

Other acts of disorderly conduct and crimes such as stalking and disobeying a court order are also considered domestic violence if the parties have a specific relationship to each other.

The plaintiff is the person who files a petition with the court for a protective order.

The defendant is the person against whom a petition for a protective order has been filed. The defendant may ask for a hearing in order to defend himself or herself.

In Arizona there are five types of protective orders:

1) Order of Protection

2) Emergency Order of Protection

3) Release Order

4) Injunction Against Harassment

5) Injunction Against Workplace Harassment

An Order of Protection is a legal restraint used to prohibit a person from committing acts of domestic violence or from contacting other people protected by the order. It can also provide other protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order, or giving exclusive use of the home to the plaintiff. The Order of Protection law can be found at A.R.S. § 13-3602.

A person who believes her or his safety is in danger because of domestic violence or harass-ment can ask the court for an Order of Protection (OP) or an Injunction Against Harassment (IAH). What determines the type of order that should be issued? The relationship between the person in danger and the person causing the danger is the deciding factor between an OP and an IAH.

An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is also a legal restraint to prevent domestic violence. An EOP may be granted by an authorized judicial officer in writing, verbally, or by telephone for the protection of a person in "imminent and present danger of domestic violence." A law enforcement officer will contact a judicial officer to request an EOP during the hours the courts are closed. Unless continued by the court, an EOP is valid only for 72 hours or until the close of the next judicial business day, whichever is longer. The EOP law can be found at A.R.S. § 13-3624.

An EOP may be used to order a person not to commit acts of domestic violence or contact people protected by the order. Similar to the Order of Protection, it also provides protective relief, such as granting exclusive use of a shared home or removing firearms from an abuser

Arizona law provides that when a person arrested for an act of domestic violence is released from custody, any release order must include pretrial release conditions necessary to protect the alleged victim and other specifically designated persons.

Within 24 hours after a defendant is arrested for an act of domestic violence, the court must forward a certified copy of the release order to the sheriff of the county in which the order was issued for registration. The sheriff must maintain a central repository for release orders so the existence and validity of the release order can be easily verified.

Law enforcement agencies are required to advise domestic violence victims where registration and the conditions of a release order may be verified. Faced with a violation of a release order, a victim may summon a peace officer to enforce the conditions of the order against the defendant.

For a person seeking relief from domestic violence, the relationship test determines whether the person qualifies for an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment. To obtain an Order of Protection, the relationship between the plaintiff and the defendant MUST be one of the following:

· A spouse or a former spouse

· Parents of a child in common

· One party is pregnant by the other party

· Present or former household members

· Related by blood or court order as parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, or sister

· Related by marriage as parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepparent or step-grandparent

· A person who resides or who has resided in the same household with a child. The child must be related by blood to a former spouse of the defendant or to a person who resides or who has resided in the same household as the defendant.

· Persons with a current or previous romantic or sexual relationship.

For an Injunction Against Harassment, there is no relationship requirement between the plaintiff and the defendant. If the plaintiff and the defendant do not meet any of the above relationships required for an Order of Protection, then the plaintiff will need to apply for an Injunction Against Harassment.

You may file a petition for an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment in any superior, municipal, or justice court regardless of where the person lives in Arizona. You can fill out the paperwork for a protective order through this web portal, but you must go to a court to file the petition and start your case.

If an action (involving the same person from whom you want protection) for divorce, sepa-ration, paternity, or annulment has been filed with the superior court, then the plaintiff needs to request an Order of Protection at the superior court.

If the defendant is younger than 12 years of age, the Juvenile Division of the superior court must hear the petition for the order or the injunction.

To obtain an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment, you will need:

· The name, date of birth, and address, if known, of the person from whom you are requesting protection (the defendant) and, if possible, any other address where that person can be reached.

· The dates and facts of the domestic violence or harassing acts or why you believe that domestic violence or harm may occur without protection.

· A safe address and phone number where you may be contacted so the court can notify you if a hearing is scheduled or if there is a change of the hearing date.

Additional helpful information about the defendant includes a physical description, social security number, and any aliases.

No. Arizona law requires the court to keep your address and contact information confidential.

Unless the court determines otherwise, if a person seeking protection is a minor, then a parent, legal guardian, or the person who has legal custody must request the order. But the judicial officer has discretion to allow a minor to request an order in cases where a parent or guardian is missing or not available or where the minor is seeking relief from the parent.

Children, family members, or other persons may be included in an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment only if the judge determines it is appropriate under the circumstances. If the family member or other person is an adult, the judge may require that this person be present when requesting the protective order.

A protective order DOES NOT determine legal decision-making (custody) and cannot address parenting time issues. These matters must be handled separately by filing a domestic relations action in the superior court.

By law, there are no authorized filing fees and no authorized fees to have the Order of Protection served. Additionally, by law there are no filing fees for an Injunction Against Harassment, but fees can be charged for service of the IAH. For an IAH arising from a dating relationship or from sexual violence, there are no fees for service of the injunction.

A fee can be charged for an Injunction Against Workplace Harassment and for an employer to have the IAWH served on the defendant. The application fee for an IAWH can vary and depends on the type of court (superior, justice, or municipal) in which the employer has filed. If the employer cannot afford the service fees, the employer can ask the court to waive or defer these fees

An Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment must be served within one year from the date it is issued. It is good for one year from the date of service on the defendant.

You may ask a law enforcement officer to help you apply for an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP). The law enforcement officer must have a reasonable belief that you are in immediate and present danger of domestic violence based on a recent incident of actual domestic violence. A judicial office may authorize issuance of an EOP in writing or verbally. Law enforcement must serve the EOP the defendant for the order to be effective.

The EOP will be in effect for 72 hours or until the end of the next judicial business day, whichever is longer. If you need continued protection, you must file a petition for an Order of Protection

IN AN EMERGENCY, CALL 9-1-1.

If the order has NOT been served, the defendant is not legally in violation of the order. Once the order has been served on the defendant, a violation of the court order is a criminal act. If the defendant does not follow the terms in the Order of Protection or the Injunction Against Harassment, then the police should be notified of a violation.

You are advised NOT to contact the defendant or invite the defendant to visit you.

The decision to file criminal charges for violation of an Order of Protection or an Injunction Against Harassment is made by the Prosecutor's Office, NOT by the victim or the court.

CALL 9-1-1. Explain that you have a protective order and the defendant is approaching you but has not yet been served. If you cannot call the police before the defendant contacts you, report the incident to the police as soon as you can.

Keep a copy of the petition and the order with you at all times! Any Arizona law enforcement agent can serve the OP or the IAH if you provide a copy of it. This is your proof to law enforcement that a protective order has been issued against the defendant

Yes. The plaintiff or the defendant may file a petition to request that the order or injunction be modified or dismissed. At the hearing, the court may modify, quash, or continue the order or the injunction. A modified order or injunction must be served on the defendant to be in effect. A modified order or injunction is good for one year from the date of service of the original order.

Yes. If the judicial officer determines that there is reasonable cause to believe physical harm may result, you may be granted exclusive use of a shared residence in an Order of Protection. The judge may allow the defendant to return one time to the residence, with law enforcement officer accompaniment, to retrieve personal belongings. Be aware that this order does not affect third parties, such as landlords. The landlord does not have to allow you to stay in the residence if you are not on the lease.

Arizona law (A.R.S. § 33-1318) allows a domestic violence victim to end a rental agreement early, without having to pay future rent or penalties or fees for early termination. But you must notify the landlord in writing of your intent to end the lease early, and you must also give the landlord a copy of either an Order of Protection or a police report regarding the domestic violence incident. The domestic violence incident that is causing you to end the lease must have occurred within 30 days of you giving notice to the landlord. This law provides other protections not described here. For more information about this law, contact an attorney.

The Address Confidentiality Program, operated by the office of the Arizona Secretary of State, allows persons who have been subjected to domestic violence offenses, sexual offenses, or stalking to keep their residential addresses confidential and not accessible to the general public. A program participant is given a substitute address that becomes the participant's lawful address of record. An applicant must have recently moved to an undisclosed address within 90 days of applying to the ACP or must be planning to move in the near future to an undisclosed location.

You can ask for animals to be protected by an Order of Protection. (See A.R.S. § 13-3602(G)(7).) The order can apply to any animal that is owned, possessed, leased, kept or held by the plaintiff, the defendant, or a minor child living in the residence of the plaintiff or the defendant. The defendant can be ordered to stay away from the animal and cannot take it, give it to someone else, hide it, or commit an act of cruelty or neglect against it.

The order or the injunction is valid for one year after it is served. During this year, you are entitled to one hearing on the order. As a defendant, you must file a written request for a hearing in the same court that issued the OP or the IAH.

If the order is modified, the modified order must be re-served and is effective for one year from the date of service of the original order. You will be asked to sign an Acceptance of Service in the courtroom. If you refuse to sign the acceptance form, the judicial officer may detain you until a law enforcement officer is summoned to serve the order. The judicial officer also can authorize a court employee to serve the order on you in the courtroom.

The judge may order a defendant to turn over ALL firearms if the judge finds that the defendant is a credible threat to the plaintiff or other protected persons. If such an order is issued, you must turn over all of the firearms in your possession to the local law enforcement agency. When the order expires (one year), you may request the return of your firearms from the law enforcement agency that is holding them. You may request a hearing to modify the order to return your firearms.

If you need to get personal items and clothing, you may return one time with a law enforcement officer. Contact the local law enforcement agency to make the arrangements. Law enforcement CANNOT resolve disputes regarding what belongings belong to whom. A civil action can be filed in the justice court to try to recover property that you believe is being wrongfully denied to you.

An Order of Protection does not determine legal decision-making and cannot address parenting time issues. It addresses only safety issues. Options are:

· Ask for a hearing to modify the protective order in the court that issued it.

· If the order does not prohibit contact with children, arrange for parenting time through a neutral third party (a friend or relative) not involved with the Order of Protection.

· File an action in superior court, as part of a domestic relations case, to clarify your decision-making rights or the parenting time schedule.

If you were never married to the plaintiff or never established paternity through an action in superior court, you have no legal right to the children. These rights must be established by filing a domestic relations action in superior court.

For further help and information, please contact the Arizona Courts Support Center at (602) 452-3519 or toll-free at (800) 720-7743 during business hours, or email at PASupport@courts.az.gov. The Support Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The Support Center is closed on weekends and on state holidays.