There are circumstances when immediate family court action is needed. This may involve the need to obtain an Order of Protection due to domestic violence or threats of harm to a party or a child. An Order of Protection can be obtained immediately if the court finds there was an act of violence or a threat of violence.

Such orders can grant a party exclusive use of a residence, protect a spouse’s workplace, and even address family pets.

The Order is served upon the defendant by a law enforcement agency. The defendant is entitled to request a hearing on the Order to present their evidence as to why the Order should be dismissed or modified. The hearings will generally take place within ten (10) days of a formal request. Orders of Protection are available in city courts, justice courts, or superior courts.

When urgent action is necessary, the family court can enter additional emergency orders. A petition specifically identifying the emergency must be filed with the assigned judge in the family court matter along with a proposed order as to how to address the emergency. The court can grant an emergency order only if it finds that immediate, irreparable harm will otherwise occur. Examples include drug abuse by a parent, sexual abuse, mental health event, arrest for criminal behavior. or investigation by the Department of Child Safety (DCS – formerly known as CPS). Once an emergency order is granted, the court will set a hearing quickly to determine whether the emergency order should remain in place, be modified or be dismissed.

Emergency requests must also be accompanied by a request to modify the current court orders on a more long-term basis if there are already orders in place.

Emergency Orders are rare but are a quick remedy in the event of a major event.

What can I do if I Believe Someone Close to me is Violent or Dangerous?

Domestic violence is a serious and unfortunately prevalent issue in households across the country. Victims are oftentimes confused and do not know how to reach out for help. Orders of Protection are orders issued by a court that explicitly forbid a person from having contact with the person requesting the order. Depending on the circumstances, contact may be so limited as to prevent the person from coming within a certain distance of the requesting party, or to refrain from any sort of contact or communication, including texts, phone calls, and emails. Orders of Protection can include and protect multiple parties considered to be at risk, including children. However, there are limitations to who you may obtain an Order of Protection against. In Arizona, Orders of Protection can only be obtained against someone whom: you are married to, or at one time were married to; you reside in the same household with; you are in a serious dating relationship with or engaged to be married to; you are related by blood or marriage ; or you share a child with.

What if I Believe Someone is Dangerous, but Nothing has Happened Yet?

It is not necessary that you first be actually harmed before obtaining a protective order. So long as you are able to allege facts that demonstrate to the court that the person from whom you need protection has, or may, abused, harassed or threatened you, the court may grant you an order of protection.

Where and How can I Obtain an Order of Protection?

Requests for protective orders may be filed at any city court, justice court, or superior court in Arizona. You may also obtain an Order of Protection online, by visiting https://www.azcourts.gov/domesticviolencelaw/Protective-Order-Forms Once the court grants the Order, it will be served on the other party by a state law enforcement officer. Once served, that person will be expressly forbidden from making any sort of contact with you. If he or she violates the Order, that person may be arrested and charged with a crime.