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Protection order filing guidance

Learn what goes into serving restrained documents, filing additional materials, and requesting police reports while filing your protection order petition.

Serving documents to the other party

The person you're seeking protection from is called the restrained person, or respondent. The respondent on the protection order must be served, or given, documents from the case. 

Timely service is 5 court days before the next hearing. Unless there is a holiday, 5 court days is usually an entire week before the next hearing.

If you were given permission to serve by mail, timely service is 8 court days (providing an extra 3 days for mailing.)

What’s happening in my case?

What’s happening in your case depends on what information was provided when you filed your protection order.

  1. Did you provide contact information for the restrained person?
    • If you provided a physical address (home or work) for the restrained person, then law enforcement will attempt to serve.
    • Law enforcement may attempt to serve qualifying orders by email, text or social media.
      • Cases that do not qualify for electronic service have requests to:
        • Transfer the custody of a child
        • Remove and prohibit firearms
        • Exclude someone from a shared residence
  2. Did you not have the restrained person’s contact information when you filed?
    1. Law enforcement should use their databases to assist in locating the restrained person. They will not typically investigate further to locate someone for service.
    2. You may need to contact the Clerk’s Office to get a 9-1-1 service packet.

Have you since discovered contact information for the restrained person?

  • At your next hearing, you can submit an updated Law Enforcement Confidential Information Form with their contact information.
  • If there is still time to complete service before your next hearing, and you want to take the information to law enforcement, then contact the Clerk’s Office to get a 9-1-1 service packet you can give to the police.

If law enforcement attempts to serve:

  • Service packets are typically sent out with patrol officers to be served.
  • It is possible for several attempts to be made until the "due date", which is the last date for timely service.
  • Law enforcement is required to send a Proof of Service to the court documenting their attempts at service
  • If physical service is unsuccessful, in some cases law enforcement may try serving the restrained person using a aprovided email, phone number, or social media account.

If service attempts are unsuccessful:

  • You may want to check with the Superior Court Clerk to see if a Proof of Service has been filed in your case, about a day or 2 before your next return hearing.
  • If a Proof of Service is not filed, you may want to contact the law enforcement agency where the order was sent to get a copy of the Proof of Service before your next hearing.
  • If there are 2 documented attempts at service, you may be able to request permission to serve by mail to the restrained person’s last known address at the next return hearing.
  • If service is incomplete or untimely for the next return hearing, your case will likely be continued if you attend your hearing.

9-1-1 service packet

This packet is a copy of all documents filed with your Petition, except the Law Enforcement Confidential Information Form (LECIF). If you submitted any supplemental documents, photographs, police reports, or other exhibits with your initial filing documents, those should also be included in the service packet.

How do I use it?

  • The 9-1-1 service packet may be served to the restrained person by anyone over the age of 18, other than the Petitioner.
  • The service packet can be used to call 9-1-1 or the nonemergency line upon learning where the restrained person is located (example: they contact you or show up unannounced).
  • If you discover a physical home or work address for the restrained person, the local law enforcement of that address should be able to use a service packet to serve.

Service of supplemental materials filed after the initial paperwork

Any materials filed after you get your Temporary Order of Protection will also need to be served timely to the restrained person. Supplemental materials can be served either physically or electronically by anyone over the age of 18, other than the Petitioner.

Law enforcement does not serve supplemental materials. They serve the paperwork submitted at the time of filing and any orders signed by a judicial officer after that, as indicated in those orders.

When serving supplemental materials, it is best practice to complete and file a Proof of Service (165KB).

Proof of Service

For service to be considered complete, the Proof of Service form must be filled out correctly and uploaded to the court file.

If this form is missing from the court file, it could be 1 of 2 reasons:

  1. It is possible the documents have not been served to the restrained person yet.
  2. The documents were served to the restrained person, but the Proof of Service was filled out incorrectly, incompletely, or was not filed with the court.

Occasionally, if there is no filed Proof of Service but the restrained person did receive all documents timely, they may choose to accept service. Then, the court may agree to proceed with a full hearing.

Service delays

A common reason for delayed cases comes from difficulties serving the documents to the restrained person. You should investigate as much as you safely can to complete this step to avoid delays.

The following ideas may not be applicable in your situation.

Consider the following to help with service:

  1. Remaining in contact
    • Custody exchanges because of a child in common are an example of remaining contact with the person you’re seeking protection from.
  2. History
    • Routine locations the other person visits at specific times (churches, stores, parks, gyms).
    • Previous addresses
    • Family homes
  3. Network
    • Social media
    • Family and friends
    • Employer
    • Online searching tools
  4. New possibilities
    • The other person may have mentioned something about a new job or living situation
    • The other person may have expressed interest in attending an event related to their interests, goals, or hobbies
  5. Professional help
    • People sometimes hire a process server
    • Private investigator

Filing additional materials

You may need to file documents into an existing protection order case, such as a Proof of Service, a copy of your police report, or other supplemental materials.

File online

The Clerk’s Office has an eFiling application to file materials online.  If you need more help, look for the step-by-step guides on how to e-file documents into an existing case.

To upload a document, it must be in PDF format and smaller than 5MB.

File in person

Original court documents are filed in the Superior Court Clerk’s Office in:

File audio or video evidence

To file video or audio evidence into an existing protection order case, you must email the Clerk at with your name and case number to request information on how to file.

Need to scan?

If you need to scan additional documents to create electronic versions that you can e-file, and you don’t own a scanner, you can:

Download a free document scanner app, such as “Genius Scan” or “Adobe Scan,” onto your phone. These apps use your phone camera to create PDF documents, that you can send by email or upload.