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Protection Orders for Victims of Crimes

Concerning civil protection orders for victims of domestic-related crimes.
2024 Regular Session
Children & Domestic Matters
Bill Summary

The act clarifies that venue for filing a motion or complaint for a civil protection order is proper in any county where any one of the acts or behaviors that are subject to the motion or complaint occurred.

The act authorizes a judge or magistrate to continue the temporary protection order for a period of not more than one year after the date when the permanent protection order hearing takes place. If the temporary protection order is continued for one year and the petitioner seeks a permanent protection order, the act requires the petitioner to file a motion at least 14 days before the scheduled hearing notifying the court and the respondent of the petitioner's intent to pursue a permanent protection order on the date of the scheduled hearing.

The act requires the court to encourage the petitioner to notify the respondent if the petitioner intends not to appear at the permanent protection order hearing, but the court shall neither require the petitioner to attend nor assess attorney fees or costs against the petitioner for choosing not to attend the hearing.

The act prohibits service upon the respondent and upon the person to be protected if the temporary protection order is denied or if the petitioner moves to vacate the temporary protection order prior to the court receiving confirmation that the respondent was personally served or had actual knowledge of the request for a civil protection order.

If the temporary protection order is based in whole or in part on an act of domestic violence, and the act of domestic violence involved the threat of use of physical force, use of physical force, or attempted use of physical force, the act requires the citation to inform the respondent that the respondent must refrain from possessing or purchasing a firearm or ammunition for the duration of the order and must relinquish, for the duration of the order, a firearm or ammunition in the respondent's immediate possession or control or subject to the respondent's immediate possession or control.

The act requires the court to grant additional continuances at the petitioner's request if the petitioner is unable to serve the respondent and if the petitioner is able to show the petitioner has made reasonable efforts to serve the respondent or that the respondent is evading service.

The act clarifies that a municipal court shall include in the order a provision awarding temporary care and control of any joint or shared minor children of the parties involved for a period of not more than one year after the date on which the temporary care and control is awarded in the temporary protection order.

If there is no pending or existing domestic relations or juvenile case in district court involving joint or shared children, the act prohibits the petitioner from being required or instructed to file a complaint for a protection order in district court when the petitioner is otherwise eligible to file for a civil protection order in county court.

The act requires temporary protection orders and permanent protection orders to be written and communicated in simple and plain language.

The act requires a judge to order a temporary protection order be made permanent if the judge finds that the respondent engaged in a behavior constituting grounds for the issuance of a civil protection order on the basis of sexual violence and that a risk or threat of physical harm or the threat of psychological or emotional harm exists to the petitioner.

The act prohibits the court from awarding any costs or assessing any fees, including attorney fees, against a petitioner seeking a civil protection order. The act prohibits a state or public agency from assessing fees for service of process against a petitioner seeking a civil protection order as a victim of domestic abuse, domestic violence, stalking, or sexual violence.

As part of a request for a temporary or permanent protection order in a case involving domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking, the act authorizes the court to enter an order directing a wireless telephone service provider to transfer the financial responsibility for and rights to a wireless telephone number to the petitioner if the petitioner:

  • Is not the account holder; and
  • Proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the petitioner and any minor children in the petitioner's care are the primary users of each wireless telephone number that the petitioner requested be transferred.

APPROVED by Governor June 3, 2024

EFFECTIVE January 1, 2025
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)


Became Law


Bill Text

The effective date for bills enacted without a safety clause is August 7, 2024, if the General Assembly adjourns sine die on May 8, 2024, unless otherwise specified. Details