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Iowa Restraining Orders Explained: How to Get a Protective Order and No Contact Order

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
December 2, 2019

In this article, we explain restraining orders in Iowa and discuss how to get a protective order or no contact order in Iowa. We address questions such as “what are the different types of protective orders in Iowa?”, “who can get a protective order?”, “what are the elements necessary for a protective order in Iowa?”, “what is a civil protective order?”, “what is a temporary protective order?”, and “how long does a temporary protective order last?”.  We will also explain the differences between “civil protective” and “no-contact” orders, as well as the difference between “civil no-contact orders” and “criminal no-contact orders.”

What Are the Different Types of Protective Orders in Iowa?

In the state of Iowa, there are several types of protective orders.  The determination of which type of protective order you need is dependent on the events prior to the filing of the order, as well as the restrictions you would like to establish moving forward and severity of crimes committed.  The aggrieved party can file for a criminal no-contact, civil no-contact, or civil protective order, depending on the circumstances of the case.

A protective order by consent can also be established when deemed in best interest of both parties and/or children, even in cases of domestic abuse or accompanying Dissolution of Marriage Decree.

The court may require a protective or no-contact order upon adjudication of domestic abuse or other criminal acts.  A “permanent protective order” can be issued by the court if the terms of a previously-established civil or criminal protective order have been violated by the abuser.  If you feel like you or your children are in imminent danger, contact your local police department or call the Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-942-0333) for more information and then consult an attorney.

Who Can Get a Protective Order in Iowa?

Iowa law limits the categories of people who can get a protective order.  Qualifications include those who are a spouse, ex-spouse, a member of the household at the time of the assault or people who have lived together within one year before the assault occurred, people that have a child together, or persons in an intimate relationship.  For this purpose, an intimate relationship is defined as significant romantic involvement, which does not have to include sexual involvement.

What are the Elements Necessary for a Protective Order in Iowa?

Once you have filed for a protective order with the court and served the accused with papers documenting the order and calling for a hearing, you will need to prove to the judge that at least one of the following situations occurred with a current or recent household member:

  1. The accused physically abused you;
  2. The abuser pointed a gun at you or menaced you with a dangerous weapon (such as a knife); or
  3. The accused threatened you with physical contact that would cause you pain or injury, the threat put you in fear and the threat could be carried out immediately.

What is a Civil Protective Order in Iowa?

A civil protective order, or civil no-contact order, can be requested by any victim of domestic abuse.  This process can begin by going to the clerk of the court and asking for the form for protective orders, or by following the link above to download the appropriate papers.  The papers must then be returned to the clerk.  Once filed, you will receive a court date and appear before a judge to present your case.  Due to the emergency nature of protective orders, the judge will see you ahead of regular court business.  Even if the police were called during a domestic dispute but no charges were filed, you can still seek out a civil no-contact order to present your evidence before a judge.

What is a “Temporary Protective Order” in Iowa?

When just cause has been established, a temporary protective order will be issued by a judge until a formal hearing can be held.  This typically occurs about ten to fifteen days after receiving a first temporary order.

How Long Does a Temporary Protective Order Last in Iowa?

A temporary protective order will be in effect until there is a hearing to determine and finalize terms of the civil protective order.

What is the Difference Between a Civil Protective Order and a Civil No-Contact Order in Iowa?

It is possible to have a civil protective order without a provision for no-contact.  This is something you should discuss with your lawyer and be prepared to present to the judge at your hearing.  However, as Iowa Law restricts the types of people that are able to request a civil no-contact order, this is not common.  An example of this would be a case in which a person with children wants a protective order for themselves but still needs/wants to communicate with the offending party about the kids.  The protective order may include provisions for phone calls, visitation, or an allowance to be at the same school functions, depending on the best interest of all parties involved.

What is a Criminal No-Contact Protective Order in Iowa?

When a person is found guilty of domestic abuse or admits culpability, a criminal no-contact protective order is automatically entered upon judgement.  This typically involves the arrest of the defendant prior to the no-contact order being issued.  Violation of an already-existing no-contact order can result in consequences such as criminal prosecution, jail time, fines, or the entry of a permanent no-contact order.

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