Missouri Domestic Violence Temporary Restraining Orders

Missouri law provides for two different types of restraining or protection orders in family law. One is a restraining order to prevent parties from acting badly while divorcing. The other, an order of protection, is to prevent domestic violence, which is available whether or not the parties are or were married or have children together. Below we will focus on Missouri's domestic violence temporary restraining orders.

Restraining Orders in a Divorce Proceeding

A restraining order as part of a divorce proceeding can be requested in an independent motion or as part of a temporary maintenance and child support request. A spouse would ask for this form of restraining order to ensure that property is disposed of appropriately and is accounted for.

If granted, both spouses are restrained from transferring, hiding, or using money or other property besides to cover the necessities of life, such as food, clothing, rent or mortgage, etc. The restraining order in a divorce proceeding will terminate when the divorce is finalized, that is, the final judgment is entered, or when the parties voluntarily dismiss the divorce suit.

Protection Orders

Another way to stop a spouse, former spouse, ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or other abuser from harming you or your child is to get a protection order. This type of order prevents the restrained party, your abuser, from physically abusing, molesting, stalking, or otherwise disturbing you. It stops the abuser from communicating with you in any way, including in-person, phone call, text messages, or snail mail.

In addition, it can require the abuser to move out of a shared home. Under the statute linked above, your abuser can also be ordered to continue to pay your rent or mortgage or car payment. Temporary possession of cars, keys, and personal effects can be determined. If you needed medical treatment for your injuries from the abuse, your abuser can be required to pay those bills. The abuser can be ordered to go to a batterers' intervention or substance abuse program.

If you have children with your abuser, you can request temporary child custody, child support, and a visitation schedule. This will be subject to modification by future family court proceedings, but in a domestic violence emergency it's great to have a temporary plan. If you're married to your abuser, you can be awarded spousal support (alimony).

Ex Parte Orders

To get a protection order, first, you must request one by filing a petition with the court. Then you have an "ex parte" or without the other party hearing. The court can deny or grant the order. You then serve the other party and have a full hearing within 15 days of filing for the protection order. At that hearing, your abuser can provide evidence that the protection order isn't necessary. The judge can grant the order of protection at that hearing to be enforceable for anywhere from 180 days to 1 year. Protection orders can also be renewed, if needed.

Specifics of Missouri’s domestic violence temporary restraining orders are listed in the following table. If you or someone you love is suffering from physical or emotional abuse, please get help right away by contacting law enforcement.

Statute

Types of Restraining Orders

  • As part of a divorce proceeding
  • Domestic violence temporary restraining orders

Violation of Restraining Order Penalties  

  • First offense: Class A Misdemeanor, up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $1,000
  • Subsequent offenses: Class D felony: up to five years in prison, or one year in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Ex Parte Orders

  • For emergency domestic violence situations where there is "good cause" (an immediate and present threat of abuse). However, an ex-parte order is only valid until a full order hearing can be held, which is generally 15 days after an ex parte order is issued.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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If you or someone you love is going through a battle with a spouse or former partner, now is the time to act. You'll want to understand Missouri laws and also the procedures to apply for a restraining order. You don't have to do it alone, however. There are many experienced family law attorneys in Missouri who can assist you. Find out more with a free case review today.

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