Orders of Protection

Victims of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of a spouse, parent, significant other,
or third party engaged in stalking the victim, may seek immediate relief from a Court to
stop and prohibit ongoing abusive behavior.  Missouri courts may issue ex parte orders
of protection to restrain an abusive party from having further contact and from further
abusing the adult or child that is the subject of the suit, and may remove that alleged
abuser from the family home.  An ex parte order is an order that is granted at the time a
request for full orders of protection are applied for and without any input from the alleged
abuser.  In addition to the relief identified above, the Court will also schedule a formal
hearing, usually within 10 days from the date the request was made, to determine if full
orders valid for a period of 1 year should be entered by the Court.

The representations made during adult and child order or protection hearings can have
significant impact on a subsequently filed family court action such as a divorce or child
custody matter.  Litigants will typically have the opportunity to consent to a full order of
protection, prior to having a hearing on the record.  The legal implications of an order
entered by consent are that the court has made no specific findings related to the
allegations which may or may not be true.  However, once the court takes testimony and
renders a decision, that decision and findings of the court may be used in a future family
law action.  In other words, if a parent alleges that a child is being abused by the other
parent, and the Court agrees and enters full orders of protection, that decision may be
used in a future action as proof of the existence of abuse by that parent.