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In the State of Iowa, any person, including a parent or guardian of an unemancipated minor, may petition an Iowa District Court for relief from domestic abuse. In this article, we discuss the process of getting a protective order in Iowa, specifically a protective order by consent. We cover:

  • What happens at the protective order hearing?
  • What protections are offered in a civil protective order?
  • Protective Order by Consent vs. Protective Order by Finding of Physical Abuse

Once someone petitions the district court from relief from domestic abuse, the court issues a temporary or emergency protective order. This order remains in place until a hearing to determine whether a permanent protective order is necessary occurs, which is typically within 5-15 days after the Respondent, or the party you want protection from, receives notice.  

What happens at the protective order hearing?

Both parties will need to be at the hearing. If the petitioner does not show up to the hearing, the case may get dismissed and a new petition will have to be filed. It may also become more difficult to prove the necessity for a protective order in the future if you do not show up at the first hearing. If the respondent does not show up, an order of protection may be granted against them or the judge may order a new hearing.  

At the hearing, one of three things can happen:

  • The parties can agree to a protective order by consent;
  • The parties present evidence and the judge finds that the Respondent committed physical abuse by a preponderance of the evidence (permanent protective order entered); or
  • The parties present evidence and the judge finds that the Respondent did not commit physical abuse by a preponderance of the evidence (no permanent protective order entered)

If the parties agree to a protective order by consent, there is no need to present evidence, and the judge does not need to find the Respondent guilty of committing physical abuse. The Petitioner will still get the same protections offered in a permanent protective order.  

If the parties go through with the hearing and present evidence, the judge must find that the Respondent committed physical abuse, pointed a gun at or menaced the Petitioner with a weapon, or threatened the Petitioner’s immediate safety. If the Petitioner is able to prove this to the judge by a preponderance of the evidence, or in other words, prove that it is more likely than not that is occurred, the judge will enter an order for a permanent protective order. If the Petitioner does not successfully prove that it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed physical abuse, the case will be dismissed.  

For more information on the civil protective order hearing, check out our article Changes to Iowa Domestic Abuse and Orders of Protection | Iowa Family Law.  

What protections are offered under a protective order?

When an initial petition for a protective order is filed, a temporary order is automatically entered that remains in place until the hearing. This temporary order can provide any protections that the judge feels are necessary to ensure the safety of the petitioner, including custody and visitation.  

If a permanent order is filed, the judge can order the Respondent to stay away from the Petitioner’s home, job or school, cease the abuse, leave a shared residence, turn over any firearms and if applicable, pay child and spousal support. For more information on protective orders in Iowa, visit Iowa Restraining Orders Explained: How to Get a Protective Order and No Contact Order.  

Protective Order by Consent vs. By Finding of Physical Abuse

The major difference between consenting to a protective order and going through the hearing and having a protective ordered against you is that if you consent to the protective order, the judge does not have to enter a finding of physical abuse against you. This remains off of your record and avoids the time and cost of presenting evidence at a hearing.  

Besides this, the consequences of a protective order, no matter how it is entered, are the same. The Respondent will still be ordered to refrain from any contact with the Petitioner and will be required to turn over their firearms.  

If you have any questions, contact an experienced attorney at O’Flaherty Law today! Call our office at (630) 324-6666, or schedule a consultation. You can also fill out our confidential contact form and we will get back to you shortly.


Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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