Washington Domestic Violence Temporary Protective Orders

*Note: Any person in an emergency situation requiring immediate intervention should call 911 for assistance.

In Washington state, a restraining order (or protective order) is a legal document issued by a judge to protect the health and safety of someone alleged to be a victim of any act involving violence, force, or threat that results in bodily injury or places that person in fear of death, sexual assault, or bodily injury.

What Type of Protective Orders Are Available?

In Washington, a domestic violence order for protection (DVOP) is a legal document signed by a judge ordering the abuser to stop the abuse or face serious legal consequences. It offers civil protection from domestic violence to both women and men who are victims. There are two types of DVOPs:

  1. Ex Parte Order for Protection: Lasts up to 14 days or until a full hearing. It's an emergency protective order designed to protect a victim until the court hearing for a final order for protection. Upon filing, the court will hold a hearing either in person or by telephone where the applicant will tell the judge the order for protection is needed. A judge will grant the temporary order only if they believe that the applicant is in immediate danger of a severe injury.
  2. Final Order for Protection: Lasts up to one year or can be permanent. The hearing will be no more than 14 days from the date a person is granted a temporary order.

If the judge included in the order a provision that the abuser can't contact their minor children, then that part of the order for protection can only last up to a year. However, the applicant can apply to renew that part of the order at the end of the one-year period.

Washington Domestic Violence Temporary Protective Orders: The Basics

Statutory language is rarely written in clear and straightforward terms, which is why it's helpful to read an overview of the law. The following table highlights the main provisions of Washington's temporary protective order laws and provides links to relevant statutes.

Statute(s)

Revised Washington Code Section 26.50.010, et seq. (Domestic Violence Prevention)

Who Can Ask for a Domestic Violence Protective Order?

Anyone defined as a family or household member can ask for a domestic violence protective order. Family or household members include:

  • Current and former spouses;
  • Current and former domestic partners;
  • A couple that has a child together;
  • Adults related by blood or marriage;
  • Adults who currently live together or lived together in the past;
  • Individuals 16 or older who are currently living together or lived together in the past and who are or were dating;
  • Two 16-year-old individuals who are or were dating; and
  • Individuals who have a biological or legal parent-child relationship.*

*Includes stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents, and grandchildren.

What Domestic Violence Orders for Protection Can Do for Victims

A domestic violence order can do the following:

  • Order the abuser not to threaten or hurt the applicant.
  • Order the abuser to leave a shared residence
  • Order the abuser to not enter the applicant's residence.
  • Give one parent temporary custody of children.
  • Set a schedule for visitation with minor children.
  • Grant the applicant possession of essential personal effects.
  • Grant the applicant the use of a vehicle.
  • Order the abuser to attend counseling.
Charges and Penalties for Violations

The charges and penalties for violating a protection order will depend on the circumstances of the violation. Please see Section 26.50.110 for details.

Related Statute(s)

Washington Revised Code:

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.

Washington Domestic Violence Temporary Protective Orders: Related Resources

For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links below.

Have Specific Questions About Washington Protective Orders? Get Legal Help

Because domestic laws can sometimes get complicated, it may also be a good idea to consult an experienced domestic violence attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.