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Domestic Violence Protection Orders

A Petition for a Domestic Violence Protection Order can be filed by a person who is a victim of domestic violence or fears violence by a family or household member.  This includes:

  • Persons who are or were married.
  • Persons who are or were domestic partners.
  • Persons who have a child in common.
  • Adults who do or did reside together.
  • Persons 16 years or older who have or have had a dating relationship.
  • Adults who are related by blood or marriage.
  • Persons with a biological or legal parent-child relationship, including step-parents and step-children, and grandparents and grandchildren.

Victim Information

A Protection Order can protect you and your children in the following ways: 

  • The aggressor can be restraining from causing you (or your children) any physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault;
  • The aggressor can be restrained from molesting, harassing, stalking, and cyberstalking you (or your children);
  • the aggressor can be restrained from coming near you (or your children) and from having any contact whatsoever with you (or your children). This includes any contact whatsoever, whether that be in-person, through others, by phone, mail, carrier pigeon, etc. The only way that the aggressor is allowed to make contact is by having a third party mail you court documents or having a lawyer make contact. 
  • the aggressor can be restrained from going within a certain distance (usually 1000 feet) of your residence, workplace, school, and/or your children's school or daycare.
  • the victim can be granted the exclusive right to temporarily reside in the family residence and the aggressor can be ordered to vacate immediately
  • the victim can be granted exclusive possession of certain belongings, vehicles, bank accounts, and pets
  • the victim can be granted temporary care, custody, or control of the children until the parties go to court and get a parenting plan;
  • the aggressor can be ordered to surrender all firearms and dangerous weapons immediately to law enforcement.

A victim can pursue a Domestic Violence Protection Order before beginning a family law case such as a divorce or a petition for child custody. Some victims want protection in place prior to initiating a family case because he/she may fear retaliation from the other party. A victim can pursue an Emergency Domestic Violence Protection Order by filing a Petition with the Court. With this type of emergency procedure, the other party will not appear at the hearing and the victim can tell the Court why he/she needs the order. However, the victim does need to ensure that he/she meets the burden of proof to obtain the protection order. An experienced family law attorney can assist a victim with preparing their petition and supporting documents to ensure that the victim provides all the necessary information to the judge.

If the Emergency Petition is successful, then a temporary order for protection will be put in place. Law enforcement will serve the Opposing Party and the victim will have all the protections granted in the order. However, an Emergency Order is only in effect until the next hearing which is typically fourteen (14) days after the order was granted. At the "full hearing," both parties will appear before the Court and argue whether or not a Domestic Violence Protection Order should remain in effect for at least a year. When children are involved, typically, even if the Court includes the children in the order, the provisions with the children will be subject to a parenting plan. 


    • Petition for a Civil Protection Order
    • Law Enforcement and Confidential Information Sheet (LECIF)
    • Temporary Protection Order and Hearing Notice
    • Case Information Cover Sheet (CICS)
    • Declaration Form

Accused Information

Being accused of domestic violence is one of the worst things that can happen to a person. In 2021, the Washington State Legislature amended the definition of "domestic violence" to include "coercive control." "Coercive control" is defined as:

"A pattern of behavior that is used to cause another to suffer physical, emotional, or psychological harm, and in purpose or effect unreasonably interferes with a person's free will and personal liberty. In determining whether the interference is unreasonable, the court shall consider the context and impact of the pattern of behavior from the perspective of a similarly situated person. Examples of coercive control include, but are not limited to, engaging in any of the following:

  • Intimidation or controlling or compelling conduct by:
    • Damaging, destroying, or threatening to damage or destroy, or forcing the other party to relinquish, goods, property, or items of special value;
    • Using technology to threaten, humiliate, harass, stalk, intimidate, exert undue influence over, or abuse the other party, including by engaging in cyberstalking, monitoring, surveillance, impersonation, manipulation of electronic media, or distribution of or threats to distribute actual or fabricated intimate images;
    • Carrying, exhibiting, displaying, drawing, or threatening to use, any firearm or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate the other party or that warrants alarm by the other party for their safety or the safety of other persons;
    • Driving recklessly with the other party or minor children in the vehicle;
    • Communicating, directly or indirectly, the intent to:
    • Harm the other party's children, family members, friends, or pets, including by use of physical forms of violence;
    • Harm the other party's career;
    • Attempt suicide or other acts of self-harm; or
    • Contact local or federal agencies based on actual or suspected immigration status;
    • Exerting control over the other party's identity documents;
    • Making, or threatening to make, private information public, including the other party's sexual orientation or gender identity, medical or behavioral health information, or other confidential information that jeopardizes safety; or
    • Engaging in sexual or reproductive coercion;
  • Causing dependence, confinement, or isolation of the other party from friends, relatives, or other sources of support, including schooling and employment, or subjecting the other party to physical confinement or restraint;
  • Depriving the other party of basic necessities or committing other forms of financial exploitation;
  • Controlling, exerting undue influence over, interfering with, regulating, or monitoring the other party's movements, communications, daily behavior, finances, economic resources, or employment, including but not limited to interference with or attempting to limit access to services for children of the other party, such as health care, medication, child care, or school-based extracurricular activities;
  • Engaging in vexatious litigation or abusive litigation as defined in RCW 26.51.020 against the other party to harass, coerce, or control the other party, to diminish or exhaust the other party's financial resources, or to compromise the other party's employment or housing; or
  • Engaging in psychological aggression, including inflicting fear, humiliating, degrading, or punishing the other party."

The inclusion of "coercive control" in the domestic violence statute has made it so almost anyone can seek a protection order. Typically, when a party seeks a protection order, he/she submits it "ex parte" - meaning they tell his/her side of the story and the Court will issue an "Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order" without hearing from you. Law enforcement is then required to serve you with the Ex Parte Temporary Restraining Order and the Notice of Hearing. Unfortunately, many people find themselves displaced from their homes, unable to contact their children, and locked out of the financial accounts while they await their day in court. You are then required to submit a response in the form of a declaration and explain to the Court why the accusations are false or do not meet the definition of domestic violence under RCW 7.105.010. A skilled attorney will be able to help you gather evidence and defend yourself in Court. Most attorneys will want to see evidence of text messages, police reports (if any), therapy records, photographs, and/or third-party witness statements. Once you submit your response, the Petitioner has the opportunity to have the last word and can write a "strict reply." At the hearing, each side will have five minutes to argue his/her positions. Once argument is completed, the Court will decide whether or not the Petitioner has meet his/her burden of proof (which is "by a preponderance of the evidence" meaning "more likely than not") that domestic violence occurred. If the Court does find that domestic violence has occurred they can issue an order which can last up to a lifetime, order attorney fees, order treatment, and issue orders that may temporarily impact a parenting case. 


If you need assistance with a domestic violence case, please contact Malone Legal or call us at 425-361-0687 today! 

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