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Protection From Harassment & Stalking

 

An order for protection from Unlawful Harassment or Stalking is obtained by applying at the District Court office. In Grays Harbor County, these types of cases are heard in the District Court’s Aberdeen Office::
  2109 Sumner Ave., Room 201
(2nd Floor, Pearsall Buidling)
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Tel. (360) 532-7061

  Office days & hours: Mon.-Fri. 8AM-12PM/1-5PM
  Use the Montesano office if Aberdeen office is closed:
102 W. Broadway, Room 202
(2nd Floor, County Courthouse)
Montesano, WA 98563
Tel. (360) 249-3441

WHO MAY OBTAIN?

Persons who are seriously alarmed, annoyed, harassed, or stalked by conduct which serves no legitimate or lawful purpose. Person may or may not have a relationship with the person harassing them. Parents may petition on behalf of a child against an adult or, in some circumstances, against a minor.


WHAT CAN AN ORDER DO?

Prohibit harassment, stalking behaviors and contact of any kind.
Restrain party from coming within a specific distance from petitioner’s work place, school, residence, etc.

Filing fees vary by county. Generally, you must file your case in district court. However your case must be heard in superior court if:

the respondent is under age 18;
the case would interfere with the respondent’s care, control or custody of respondent’s minor children;
the case involves disputes over title, ownership or possession of real property, such as landlord-tenant or boundary dispute; or
the superior court is exercising or has exercised jurisdiction over proceedings involving the parties.

The forms provided by the District Court clerk contain a checklist covering the above situations. The court may grant or deny a temporary emergency order effective for up to 14 days. The other party is served with the petition, notice of hearing and temporary order. A hearing is held within 14 days at which time the court may deny the petition or grant an order effective for up to one year. Forms and instructions are provided by the clerk’s office.


WHAT IS THE COST?

Grays Harbor County District Court’s filing fee is $83 cash only. If you must file in another county, the filing fee may be different. If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee, you may apply to the court for a waiver of the fees.


HOW IS AN ORDER MODIFIED OR TERMINATED?

While the order is in effect, either party may file a motion to modify (change) or terminate (end) the protection order. The other party is served with the motion and the notice of hearing. At the hearing the court may modify or terminate the order for protection.

An emergency order terminates after 14 days or on the date of the hearing. The full order for protection terminates after the expiration date listed on the order.

If the petitioner does not want an order to terminate after the effective date on the order, the petitioner may file a petition for renewal of the order for protection. The other party is served the motion and notice of hearing. At hearing, the court may grant the motion, and enter a new protection order, or deny the motion.


WHAT HAPPENS IF THE ORDER IS KNOWINGLY VIOLATED?

Violator may be arrested. Criminal or contempt charges are possible.


TYPES OF PROTECTION ORDERS AVAILABLE?

"I need a Restraining Order."

This is what people often say to the Court Clerk when requesting an order to prevent abuse. However, this term can be confusing, because a restraining order is only one kind of court order. There are also domestic violence protection orders, no-contact orders, and civil anti-harassment & stalking protection orders.

The following is a brief description of the different types of court orders available, to help you request the protection which best fits your situation. Ask the Clerk for a copy of a brochure about court orders if you need more information.

Civil Antiharassment or Stalking Order

This order typically applies to situations when the persons are not married or related to each other, for example, in disputes between neighbors, and stalking (stranger-stranger) situations. This order is helpful when a person is being harassed but has not been assaulted or threatened with physical harm.

Domestic Violence Order for Protection
This is the most commonly requested order. It is a civil order from the court telling the family or household member who threatened or assaulted you not to harm you again.

A protection order CAN:

1   order the Respondent not to threaten or hurt you.
2   order the Respondent not to enter your residence.
3   give one parent temporary custody of children.
4   set a schedule for visitation with minor children.
5   order the Respondent to leave a shared residence.
6   grant you possession of essential personal effects.
7   grant you use of a vehicle.
8   order the Respondent to attend counseling.


A protection order CANNOT:

1   order child support.
2   order maintenance (alimony).
3   assign most property to either party.
4   establish permanent child custody or use of the shared residence.


The County Clerk, Superior Court, will provide you with the forms to request an order for protection. After the forms are filled out, you will speak to a judge about your case. If there is an emergency, a temporary order that is good for up to 14 days will be issued. A hearing will be set within 14 days and the Respondent will be given notice of that hearing. At the hearing the court will decide if the order should be made effective for one year or longer.

Restraining Order

This is broader than a domestic violence protection order, since it can deal with property issues, child support, spousal support, as well as domestic violence and temporary custody issues. A restraining order is filed as part of a divorce or legal separation case, a paternity case, or other family law case. If you are concerned about preventing the Respondent from disposing of assets during your separation, you should contact an attorney to see about getting a restraining order.


No-Contact Order

This type of order does not require you to fill out a petition because it is part of a criminal case for domestic violence. The court will decide whether to issue this order when it decides if the Respondent is to be released on bail or personal recognizance, or when the Respondent is arraigned (formally charged) or being sentenced. Generally this order may not last as long as a protection order, and it does not award custody, establish visitation, or order counseling. This order is intended to protect you while the criminal case is going on.



We request that you read this information completely before completing the packet of materials that will be provided by the Court Clerk. Our experience with this type of case indicates that there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding about when it is appropriate to apply for protection from harassment and/or stalking. We want to make sure that you get the right help with a minimum of referrals and difficulty.


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