How Do You Get a Restraining Order in Louisiana?

If you or your children are the victims of violence or have been threatened with violence, you need protection. A restraining order may be the protection you need. But do you know how to get a restraining order in Louisiana?

To start the process, you need to file a petition for a restraining order with the court. There are no costs or filing fees for filing the petition. You can get a copy of the forms here.

Restraining orders provide protection and deter an offender from attempting to contact you. In Louisiana, there is a lot to know about restraining orders, but the process of applying for one is simple.

Restraining orders

A restraining order is a particular type of protective order; it is a temporary civil court order of protection. It prohibits someone from carrying out a particular action, like approaching or contacting a specific person.

They are often needed when couples separate, divorce, or are in fear for their safety. Louisiana statutes outline situations eligible for requesting restraining orders:

Types of protective orders

A restraining order, temporary restraining order, and protective order are terms often used interchangeably; however, in Louisiana, they each have a distinct legal meaning. The following is an explanation of these terms:

  • Emergency Temporary Restraining Orders: An emergency temporary restraining order is filed during an emergency and outside regular court hours. If the court grants an emergency temporary restraining order, it provides immediate protection from an abuser. You must go to court and request a temporary restraining order or a protective order on the next business day because the temporary emergency order expires.
  • Temporary Restraining Orders: You can request a temporary restraining order in conjunction with a long-term protective order. The court can issue a TRO without the abuser present; however, the abuser will be notified of the rule against him, and a date for a hearing will be set. See RS 46:2135
  • Long-term Protective Orders:  After a hearing, a court can issue a protective order that lasts up to 18 months unless otherwise stated. However, some parts of the order last indefinitely, specifically the section saying the abuser should not “abuse, harass, or interfere with the petitioner or his/her employment; should not go near the residence or place of employment of the petitioner, the minor children, or any person on whose behalf the petition was filed.”

Who can file for a restraining order?

Anyone can request that a court issue an order restraining a person from activities of potentially harmful behavior, but only those orders issued to prevent domestic abuse, dating violence, or stalking are included in the Louisiana Protective Order Registry.

The following persons are eligible to file an order of protection under the Louisiana Protective Order Registry:

Domestic Abuse Assistance Act 

The domestic abuse assistance act, as defined by L.A. R.S. 46:2131, outlines the parameters for filing a request for a protective order against a family member.

To be eligible to file under the domestic abuse assistance act, the petitioner must meet specific requirements. Specifically, the relationship between the abuser and the person requesting protection must be one of the following:

  • Family members can file: Family members are defined as spouses, former spouses, parent/child, stepparent/stepchild, grandparent/grandchild. An abuser could also be a household member.
  • Household members can file: Household members are persons who currently or formerly lived in the same residence with the abuser and who is involved or has been involved in a sexual or intimate relationship with the abuser.
  • The parent, or an adult household member, or district attorney on behalf of a minor child or an adult deemed incompetent.

Protection from Dating Violence Act

The protection from dating violence act is codified in LA. R.S. 46:2151 and extends the same protections as the Domestic Abuse Assistance Act to dating partners. Dating partners do not have to have lived together to be eligible.

Protection from Stalking Act

A protective order can be filed by a person who’s being stalked by a stranger or acquaintance under La. R.S. 46:2171, et seq.

Protection for Victims of Sexual Assault Act

Under La. R.S. 46:2181, a person who has been sexually assaulted by a stranger or acquaintance can file a petition for a protective order.

How to get a restraining order

To get a restraining order, you can contact an attorney, law enforcement, call an abuse hotline, go to the courthouse, or call 911 if you are in immediate danger.

If you go to the sheriff’s office or the courthouse, they will provide you with forms to fill out to request the restraining order. Once this is done, arrangements are made for you to speak with a judge so you can explain your circumstances.

If the judge grants the temporary restraining order, a hearing will usually be set within two weeks. Make sure you show up for the court date. During the trial, the judge will decide the duration the permanent restraining order will be in effect, and if you have children, he will address any existing child custody arrangements.

Domestic violence during child custody is taken very seriously by the courts. The child custody order may be temporarily adjusted and re-evaluated after conditions set by the court have been met, and the restraining order is removed.

Where is it proper to file for a protective order?

You can file a petition for a protective order in the parish you lived with your abuser, where you live or the parish where your abuser lives. You can file in the parish the abuse occurred, or if divorce has been filed, the petition can be submitted in that parish.

What to do if the abuser violates the protective order?

The best thing to do when a person violates a protective order is to call 911 and inform the authorities of the violation immediately. If the police do not arrest him, be sure a police report is filled out. You need to document all the information about the occurrence, the name of the officer, the report number, date, and time of the offense.

You can also file a notice of civil contempt with the court for the abuser’s violation of a court order.