Ex Parte Protection Orders

Authored By: Legal Services Alabama


  • What is an ex parte protection order?
  • What does it do?
  • What does it NOT do?
  • What do you do if your abuser violates it?

An ex parte protection order tells your abuser not to bother you. He shouldn't hit you, push you, shove you, harass you or intimidate you. It does not make him leave the house. It does not order him to stay so many feet from you. It does not give you custody of your children. You can get all of these things at the Protection from Abuse hearing. You will not get any of them as part of the ex parte protection order.

What if your abuser violates the ex parte protection order? Will the police arrest him?

  • Yes, they should. It is a crime for your abuser to violate the protection order.
  • If he hits you, this is an assault. An assault is a crime.
  • It is a crime for him to run you off the road.
  • If he threatens you, this is a crime.
  • Call the police.
  • Always have a copy of the protection order with you to show the police.
  • If your abuser is there when the police get there, they should arrest him right away. VIOLATING THE PROTECTION ORDER IS A CRIME. HIS ACTS ALSO MAY CONSTITUTE A SEPARATE CRIME.
  • If your abuser leaves before the police get there, or if they do not arrest him, make sure that the police fill out a report. Tell them that you also want to press charges for the incident. Ask how you can swear out a warrant. You may also want to file a contempt of court charge. If you have a lawyer, call them about the incident. If you do not have a lawyer, call Legal Services Alabama at 1-866-456-4995.

What if the sheriff cannot find your abuser to serve him with the ex parte protection order?

  • It is very important that the sheriff serve your abuser with the court papers and the ex parte protection order.
  • The protection order is effective the minute the judge signs it. But your abuser cannot be held in contempt of court until he is served with it.
  • If you have any new information about where your abuser is, you should call the Circuit Clerk's office immediately with this information.

Will the ex parte protection order protect you from abuse by your abuser?

  • It is important to remember that the ex parte protection order is just a piece of paper.
  • Keep taking measures to make sure that you and your children are safe.

We hope the ex parte protection order will help. Many abusers will obey it. Some will not. Be careful. Follow your safety plan.

Note: Your local Alabama domestic violence program has other services available that may benefit you in this time of need. These services might include counseling for adults, counseling for children, safety planning, and/or referral to other service agencies. Please contact your local program to determine what is available in your area. Call Alabama's Domestic Violence Hotline Toll-Free at 1-800-650-6522 to find your local program.

No one deserves to be abused.

Reviewed May 2012

AlabamaLegalHelp.org offers legal information, not legal advice. This website provides information on your rights and options. However, the site does not apply the law to your personal facts. For legal advice, you should call a lawyer. To apply for free legal services in Alabama, call the Legal Services Alabama office that is closest to where you live OR call toll-free 1-866-456-4995. You can also apply online HERE.

Last Review and Update: May 30, 2012
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