Protection Orders

People rarely think about protection orders until they need one. Did you know there are five different civil protection orders available in King County? The different protection orders are: domestic violence, anti-harassment, sexual assault, vulnerable adults, and stalking. These orders are all different and can only be granted in specific circumstances. The petitioner (person that asks for the order of protection) chooses which type of protection order is most appropriate for their situation. To know which order applies, and meet the standards needed to grant an order, seek the advice of an experienced attorney.

The general process for the different types of protection orders is similar: By asking for a protective order, you are filing a civil court case. There may be costs involved to file, serve the other party, or get copies of the documents involved. You will need to complete several court forms. Also, at least one hearing will be scheduled, so the Respondent (opposing party) may defend themselves against the allegations, and so the judge can decide if the order should be granted. More hearings may be necessary. If there is an emergency, a temporary order can be granted (for up to 2 weeks) until the hearing. The Respondent must be served with copies of documents, including the petition and any temporary orders, so you will need to provide the Respondent’s address. Each trip to the courthouse (to begin the case, for hearings, etc.) can take 2-5 hours. At your hearing, a judge will review the documents and decide if the legal standards have been met to grant the order. Orders usually last one year or more.

Domestic Violence Orders:

A petition for a domestic violence order may be filed by a person who is a victim of domestic violence or fears violence by a family or household member.

Costs: There are no fees for forms, filing, or certified copies. There are also no fees for serving the documents on the Respondent if law enforcement provides the service.

Sexual Assault Orders:

A petition for a sexual assault protection order may be filed by a person 16 years old or older, who is a victim of sexual assault (unless the victim qualifies for a domestic violence protection order). You can also file a petition for a sexual assault protection order on behalf of a victim of sexual assault who is a child, a vulnerable adult, or an adult that cannot petition due to age, disability, health, or inaccessibility.

Costs: There are no fees for forms, filing, or certified copies. There are also no fees for serving the documents on the Respondent if law enforcement provides the service. There may be costs involved in appointing a guardian ad litem (GAL) for a minor.

Vulnerable Adult Orders:

A petition for a vulnerable adult protection order may be filed by a vulnerable adult who is a victim of: abandonment, abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and/or the threat of any of the preceding. A petition may also be filed by a legal guardian, legal fiduciary, the Department of Social Health and Services, or an “interested person” on behalf of the vulnerable adult.

Cost: There are no fees for forms, filing, or certified copies. There are also no fees for serving the documents on the Respondent if law enforcement provides the service.

Anti-harassment:

A petition for an anti-harassment protection order may be filed by an adult who is a victim of unlawful harassment. A petition may also be filed by parents on behalf of their child, if the petition is against an adult whose behavior is detrimental to the child or a minor under investigation/who has been found guilty of an offense against the child.

Usually there needs to be a pattern of behavior made up of a series of acts over time, even if it is a short time.

Cost: There are no fees for forms, but there is a filing fee, fees for copies, and for service of documents on the Respondent. Fees may be waived by court order sometimes. There may be costs involved in appointing a guardian ad litem (GAL) for a minor.

Stalking:

A petition for a stalking order of protection may be filed by a person who is a victim of stalking conduct, as long as the victim doesn’t qualify for a domestic violence protection order. Parents or guardians may also file a petition on behalf of a minor child and interested persons may also file on behalf of a vulnerable adult.

Costs: There are no fees for forms, filing, or certified copies. There are also no fees for serving the documents on the Respondent if law enforcement provides the service.

If you believe that you have grounds for filing a petition for a protection order, or if you would like to know if you can include a protection order in your family law case, please contact our office as soon as possible to schedule a consultation appointment. An experienced attorney like Katrina S. Zafiro can help you to know which orders apply to your specific circumstances, and what legal standards need to be met in order to be granted a protection order, before you act.

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Zafiro Law

As an attorney, I am passionate about helping my clients achieve peace of mind in navigating the complex areas of family law and immigration law. Your case will get my full and dedicated attention—whether you are seeking to navigate the complexities of your family law matter or overcome the challenges of your immigration law case.

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