Ramsey County Juvenile and Family Court

Juvenile and Family Court oversees the areas of: Domestic Abuse/Harassment, Family Court, and Juvenile Court.

Please note: The Juvenile and Family Justice Center is downtown and does not provide parking. Check online for available parking. Click the"Search the Map" icon on the toolbar and type "Parking."


Domestic Abuse /Harassment

Juvenile and Family Justice Center
25 W. 7th St. #B122
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5130
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The primary function of the Domestic Abuse/Harassment Office is to provide clerical assistance with the writing and filing of a petition for an Order for Protection (OFP) and/or Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) in Ramsey County.
 

Family Court

15 W. Kellogg Blvd
Room #160
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-2842
map

Family Court oversees court cases involving family matters, such as dissolutions of marriage, parenting time schedules and disputes, child custody issues, child support establishment and modification, and paternity cases.
 

Juvenile Court

Juvenile and Family Justice Center
25 W. 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5115
map

Ramsey County Juvenile Court has jurisdiction over matters involving persons under 18 years of age who have been charged with a delinquent act, status or traffic violation. Juvenile Court also handles matters involving child protection, child protection-permanency, and adoptions.
 

Juvenile and Family Justice Center

25 West 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5115

Juvenile Court handles any Criminal or Traffic charge against a person under 16 years of age.  It also handles charges against people between 16 and 18 years of age if the charge is a misdemeanor.  Petty misdemeanors charged against 16 to 18-year-olds are handled by the Traffic Violations Bureau.

How do I resolve a Juvenile Court traffic offense?

Call (651) 266-9202 and press 0 to speak to a representative. If it can be resolved by the Traffic Violations Bureau, follow their instructions.  If the case has been referred to Juvenile Court, a notice will be mailed to the address on the citation.  The notice will tell you if the offense if payable or court-required. This process can take 6-8 weeks.  Please note that the 21 day deadline mentioned on the citation does not apply to a case processed through Juvenile Court.  If you do not receive a notice or if the addess on the citation is incorrect, contact the Juvenile Court at (651) 266-5115.

How does a parent hear that charges have been filed?

If a juvenile is in custody, the Juvenile Detention Center staff makes every effort to contact the custodial parents immediately.

If the juvenile was not taken into custody, the court sends a notice to both the parent and child at the address provided on the petition.

My child has been arrested. Where is he/she?

In Ramsey County, juveniles are held at the Juvenile Detention Center at the Juvenile and Family Court Justice Center at the address above. 

Please visit the Juvenile Detention Center page of the Ramsey County web site for more information about:

  • How to visit your child when he or she is in custody
  • How to get your child released
  • And other questions

Can a juvenile be certified as an adult in Minnesota?

Yes.

Where will the case be heard?

If the case is filed in Ramsey County, the first hearing will be at:

Juvenile and Family Justice Center
25 West 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5115

Subsequent hearings may be held in the county where the child lives.

Is a Public Defender available?

Yes, provided you qualify.  You must be prepared to show evidence of your income.

Are the charges confidential?

If the child is over 16 and the charge is a felony, no.  Otherwise, yes.

What is my next court date?

Juvenile matters are not published on the internet.  Call the Juvenile Court office at (651) 266-5115.  Please have any paperwork with you when you call.

Can I change the court date?

Yes, in certain circumstances.  The answer will depend on the level of offense, whether continuances have been granted to you before,  and the type of hearing.  Call the Juvenile Court at (651) 266-5115 to see if this is possible.  Call as soon as possible.  Same-day continuances are not commonly granted.

What do I do if there is a warrant for my arrest?

Turn yourself in at the Ramsey County Law Enforcement Center, 425 Grove Street in St. Paul.  In many cases, you may call the Juvenile Court office at the number above to request a hearing to quash the warrant.  Note: the warrant remains active until you appear at the court hearing.

Can I contest an award of restitution?

Yes. You must submit a request for hearing within 30 days of notice to contest the amount of restitution.

For more information, refer to the probation forms that were provided with the notice or contact your probation officer.

Juvenile and Family Justice Center

25 West 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5115

What should I do if I suspect child abuse or neglect?

Report it.  In Ramsey County, these reports are handled by Child Protection Services.  Outside of Ramsey County, visit the Child Protection and Child Welfare page of the MN Department of Human Services web site for the agency in your area.  If it's an emergency situation, call your local police or dial 911.

What happens when a report of child abuse is made?

Child abuse charges against adults are handled by the Criminal Court.  Reports of abuse are reviewed by Ramsey County Human Services.  If Human Services determines a petition is appropriate, they will file a CHIPS (Children In need of Protection or Services) petition with Juvenile Court.

If a child I know has been taken out of the home by Child Protection, can I request that the child live with me?

If you would like the child to be placed with you, contact the Child Protection Services division of Ramsey County Human Services ((651) 266-4444).  Let them know that there is an active child protection case and ask to speak with the social worker in charge of the case.

Can I change my court date?

If you are represented, you should contact your attorney. Changing a court date in a child protection proceeding requires a motion, notification to all other parties and a proposed order. The continuance must be approved by the Judge.

I am a relative of a child who has been taken out of the home.  How can I be involved in this case?

Contact the Court at the number above to request that you receive notices for child protection court hearings. You may contact Ramsey County Human Services to request additional information about the case or to speak to the social worker assigned.

Juvenile and Family Justice Center

25 West 7th St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5115

Are all Juvenile records sealed?

No, juvenile cases are not generally sealed. However, many juvenile records are not available to the public and some records may be accessed by court order. Legal records for juveniles 16 or older who are charged with felony offenses are generally open to the public.
 

Will my record go away when I turn 18?

No. Court records are retained for a fixed period of time.  Other agencies may keep records according to their own rules.

For more information visit the Retention Schedule on the Justice Partner Resources page
 

How do I view my Juvenile record?

Submit a Request to Access Delinquency Records or a Request to Access CHIPS Records to Juvenile Court at the address above. You may request a summary of your case record, but you may need to obtain a court order to access additional documents.
 

Can I authorize release of my Juvenile record?

No. MN Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch determine who may have access and a person cannot bypass these rules through a release. Access not otherwise allowed would require a court order.

How do I request expungement of a Juvenile record?

File a Petition for Expungement with the court at the address above. Contact Juvenile Court at 651-266-5115 for a hearing date before you serve the paperwork. You may use the Criminal Expungement forms and instructions, but you will need to modify them to comply with juvenile court requirements.  Expungement is a complicated process.  You may want to seek the advice of an attorney.
 

How do I get a background check that includes my juvenile record?

Request a background check from the MN Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). The BCA's phone number is 651-793-2400.  Juvenile court records only provide access to specific documents in specific court cases. We do not handle background checks.

Family Court Overview

Family Court oversees court cases involving family matters such as dissolutions of marriage, parenting time schedules and disputes, child custody issues, child support establishment and modification, and paternity cases.

Family Court judges, referees, and magistrates hold court hearings on these issues, and the Family Court Clerk’s Office maintains the court files and provides access to records and documents.

In July, 2009, the Second Judicial District implemented Early Case Management, specific resources can be found on the ENE/ECM Help Topic.
 

NOTICE: Family Court Seeks Applicants for FENE and SENE Rosters

The Second Judicial District Family Court Division seeks applications for Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (“FENE”) and for private Social Early Neutral Evaluation (“SENE”) providers. Applications will be accepted through Monday, July 25th.
For more information about the positions, refer to the documents attached below.  For more information about the programs, visit the Early Neutral Evaluation page of the MN Judicial Branch Help Topics.
FENE Announcement
SENE Announcement


Location of Family Court

The Family Court Clerk's Office is located in Room 160 of the Ramsey County Courthouse, 15 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102. Courtrooms for Family Court hearings before referees and magistrates are located in Room 190 of the Courthouse. Courtrooms for Family Court hearings before judges are located at the Juvenile and Family Justice Center, 25 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN. The Family Court Clerk's office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Family Court Organization

Records and Filing Unit
The Family Court Records and Filing Unit is located in Room 160 of the Ramsey County Courthouse. Responsibilities of this unit include maintaining permanent Family Court records, processing documents for filing within those records, responding to requests for copies and information, and collecting appropriate fees. Please see our FAQ site or call 651-266-2842 for more information.

Approximately 100,000 paper files are maintained by this unit. Other permanent files are kept in archival form either microfilmed records or imaged records. Dissolution records before 1981 are maintained by the Civil Division Records Unit, (651) 266-8237.

Child Support Unit
The Family Court Child Support Unit is located in Room 160 of the Ramsey County Courthouse. Responsibilities of this unit include processing IV-D child support matters, scheduling and holding hearings regarding those cases, and responding to requests for copies and information. Hearings within this unit are heard by child support magistrates. Please see the Self-Help Service Centertab or call (651) 266-2831 for more information.

Assignment Unit
The Assignment Unit responsibilities include scheduling and holding hearings regarding Family Court cases other than IV-D child support matters, staffing the Self-Help Service Center, and responding to requests for information. Hearings within this unit are heard by Family Court judges and referees. Please see the Self-Help Service Center tab or call (651) 266-5125 for more information.

When and where is my next court date?

Check online, in the Search Court Records section of this site, or call us at the number above.  Be prepared to provide your case number.


How do I schedule a motion hearing?

If you are an attorney, contact a scheduling clerk in Family Court for a hearing date.  If you are representing yourself, come in to the Family Court Self-Help Service Center to schedule a hearing. 
 

What should I do if I can't appear at a hearing that's been scheduled? / Can I request a new court date?

Submit a written Request for Continuance for a new hearing date to Family Court in Room 160.  A form is available for cases involving child support.  The court will also accept a letter.  Send a copy of the request to all other parties in the case.  The judicial officer will issue an order granting or denying your request or a scheduling clerk will contact you.

Are files confidential?

Actions for dissolution of marriage, child custody, and child support are public cases.   Actions to establish paternity are confidential cases.

Regarding documents, some documents in public cases are confidential.  Any document within a confidential case is confidential.


How do I view a file?

Non-confidential case information is online in the Search Court Records section of this site.  File documents may be viewed by coming to the Family Court office on Kellogg Blvd (the addresson the right).  You will need a photo ID if the information is restricted to parties in the case.
How do I obtain a copy of a court document?

Copies may be purchased at the Kellogg Blvd location above.  There is a fee.

You may also mail a request to the Kellogg Blvd office along with a check made out to Ramsey District Court.  Tell us which document you would like to receive and the file number.  It will take about two to four weeks to complete your request.

Copies of confidential documents are available only to the parties and their attorneys.  When requesting a copy of a confidential document at the counter, a driver's license or state-issued ID must be produced.  If requesting a copy by mail, a photocopy of the license or ID must accompany the written request.


How do I obtain a transcript of a hearing?

Transcripts are prepared upon request. Contact the court reporter and request it.    To contact the court reporter, call (651) 266-8303. The court reporter will give you an estimate of the cost and timeline.

If your hearing was in front of a Child Support Magistrate, submit a Request for Transcript form.  The transcriber will contact you regarding cost and timeline.


How much does it cost to file?

Current fees are available on the Family Court Fee Schedule.


Can court fees be waived if I can't afford to pay them?

Yes, but you are expected to provide financial information to demonstrate that you cannot pay.  This information must be verifiable.  The process is known as In Forma Pauperis or IFP, and you must submit an IFP form.  If you have questions about the form, Family Court Self-Help Service Center staff can review the document with you.
The Ramsey County Family Court Self-Help Service Center is located on the first floor of the Juvenile and Family Justice Center at 25 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN.


About the Service Center

  • Office hours are Monday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The Service Center is closed on Fridays.
  • WALK-IN customers will be accepted between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m Monday through Thursday.
  • Availability is on a first come, first serve basis.
  • It is required to have all documents reviewed by Self-Help Center staff if you are representing yourself in a Family Court matter.
  • If you are unable to arrive during walk-in hours, you will need to schedule an appointment in order to have your documents reviewed.

Purpose

The Family Court Self Help Service Center (SHSC) provides self- represented litigants with access to forms available from the Minnesota Judicial Branch, explains processes and procedures to self- represented litigants, provides information about other resources to assist self- represented litigants, and reviews self- represented litigants documents for completeness and adequacy.  These services are limited to dissolution of marriage, child support, paternity, custody and parenting time matters in Ramsey County. 

The scope of services for the SHSC does not include assistance for Court of Appeals, annulment of marriage, legal separation, or grandparent visitation matters.  Additionally, the scope of services for the SHSC does not include assistance with matters outside the scope of Ramsey County Family Court, including adoptions, termination of parental rights, or domestic abuse cases, civil, criminal, juvenile, or probate matters.

Court staff cannot provide legal assistance and cannot act as an attorney for self- represented litigants.  If an individual chooses to be self-represented, that individual will have the same responsibility as an attorney to follow court rules and procedures to move the case forward.

Please remember that Self-Help personnel are not responsible for the outcome of your case.

 


What to Expect

When you file a motion regarding modifying child support in an existing case or if you want to start a dissolution/divorce action, custody action, or similar family court action or motion:
  • The Self-Help Service Center can provide you with forms and instructions appropriate to your situation; however, the Center does not have forms for every situation.  A fee is charged for form packets.  You may pay by cash, personal check, Visa or MasterCard.
  • Form checklists are available at the Self-Help Service Center to assist in completing the form.
  • Dissolution worksheets and instructions for use with the I-CAN! computer program are available at no cost.
  • Standard motion packets are are available at the Self Help Service Center for $5.00.  These forms are also available, at no cost, at Get Forms.
You may take the forms home to complete or complete them at the Center.  However, all appropriate supporting documentation (pay stubs, proof of public assistance, most recent tax returns, child support calculator worksheets, etc.) must be included.

When you have completed the forms and have attached all appropriate documentation, return the documents to the Self-Help Service Center.  You will either need to arrive as a walk-in between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Monday through Thursday, or schedule an appointment to have your documents reviewed.  You may not return your documents by mail unless you live at least 100 miles outside of the Metro area.

While you wait, court staff will review your documents for neatness, readability, completeness, and consistency.

Once your forms have been reviewed and are ready to be submitted for filing with the Court, you will be required to pay a filing fee.  See Filing Fee Schedule.  Filing fees may be waived by court order if you meet certain financial requirements. Fee waiver forms are available at the Self-Help Service Center.  Fee waivers are valid for one year and must be renewed when expired.

Your forms must be complete in order to be assisted at the Self-Help Service Center. Court staff cannot help you complete your forms.

Because we give you and others individual attention, you may need to wait for assistance. 

Please plan to spend 1-2 hours at the Self-Help Service Center and do not expect to take care of your business in one visit. Also, please remember that Self-Help personnel are not responsible for the outcome of your case nor can they provide legal advice or strategy.


Certificate of Settlement Efforts Now Required

On February 15th, 2012, the Second Judicial Family Court announced that it will now require a Certificate of Settlement be filed prior to any motion scheduled to be heard by the court.  
Pursuant to Rule 303.03(c) of the MN Family Court Rules, Settlement Efforts.

Except in parentage cases when there has been no court determination of the existence of the parent and child relationship, and except in situations where a court has ordered that no contact occur between the parties, the moving party shall, within 7 days of filing a motion, initiate a settlement conference either in person, or by telephone, or in writing in an attempt to resolve the issues raised.  Unless ADR is not required under Rule 310, this conference shall include consideration of an appropriate ADR process under Rule 114. The moving party shall certify to the court compliance with this rule or any reasons for not complying.  The moving party shall file a Certificate of Settlement Efforts in the form developed by the state court administrator not later than 24 hours before the hearing.  Unless excused by the Court for good cause, no motion shall be heard unless the parties have complied with this rule.  Whenever any pending motion is settled, the moving party shall promptly advise the court.

Failure to file the Certificate of Settlement may result in a motion to be stricken from the court’s calendar.

The Certificate of Settlement is available on the Second Judicial website Certificate of Settlement Efforts, or at the Family Self Help Service Center.


Legal Clinic

A legal clinic is available Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from noon to 3:00 p.m. for parties proceeding without attorneys. To schedule an appointment with a volunteer attorney at this legal clinic, call 651-266-5125. For more information, please see our brochure.


Child Support Motion Clinic

If you need assistance completing your child support motion forms, the Self-Help Service Center holds a child support motion clinic on the first and third Fridays of the month at 9:00 a.m.  Please see the flier for more information.

Contact

Ramsey County Family Court Self-Help Service Center
Juvenile and Family Justice Center
25 West 7th Street
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 266-5125
 
Services in the Ramsey County Domestic Abuse/Harassment Office are generally provided on a walk-in basis. Accommodations may be made for individuals who do not speak English as their first language or for individuals that may require other special accommodations due to the inability to read and/or write English. Please call the office prior to coming in to make those arrangements.

Our office assists in the writing and filing of Petitions for Orders for Protection and Harassment Restraining Orders. Because we assist with two different types of orders, a clerk will ask you a few questions to help you determine which petition to file, and to determine if Ramsey County is the proper county for you to file your documents.


Should you file in Ramsey County?

If you can answer yes to one or more of the following questions Ramsey County may be the correct county to file your documents:
  1. Do you live in Ramsey County?
  2. Does the person your filing against live in Ramsey County?
  3. Did the acts of domestic abuse or Harassment occur in Ramsey County?
  4. Do you have a pending or former family court action with the other person in Ramsey County? This may include, but not limited to, matters such as divorce, custody, child support and paternity. (#4 applies to Order for Protections only)

Which order should you request?

The court clerks cannot tell you which order you should request, but they can provide you with information to help you make an informed decision. Below is information to help you make your decision.

Order for Protection:
Relationship requirement (at least one)
  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Parent and child
  • Related by blood
  • Live together or have lived together in the past
  • Child(ren) in common (includes pregnancy if the respondent is the alleged father)
  • Persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship
Domestic Abuse (at least one)
  • Physical assault
  • Fear of imminent physical harm
  • Criminal sexual conduct
  • Terroristic threats
  • Interference with an emergency call
 

Harassment Restraining Order:

  • A single incident of physical or sexual assault
  • Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security, or privacy of another, regardless of the relationship between the actor and the intended target
  • See MN §609.748 for more information of what harassment includes
Is there a fee?
  • The filing fee for an Order for Protection is waived by statute for Petitioners. The Civil Filing Fees apply to Respondents in Orders for Protection.
  • The Civil Filing Fees apply to all Harassment Restraining Orders
Once you have decided which order you would like to request, the clerk will ask you to fill out a few forms that will provide us with the information necessary to draft your petition for you. If you would like to prepare documents before you come in (this is not required), then below are links to state form documents you may prepare.
 
Order for Protection:
Applying for an Order for Protection Form Packet
 
Harassment Restraining Order:
Applying for a Harassment Restraining Order Form Packet
Applying for a Fee Waiver (IFP)* to file a Harassment Restraining Order
*You must have proof of your income to request the fee to be waived.
The clerk will provide lined paper to write your allegations, but you may also use your own.
 
  • Start with the most recent incident and work your way backwards
  • Provide a date or an approximate timeframe for each incident
  • Be specific. Instead of saying “I was harassed,” write what the harassment was
  • Do not write too close to the edge of the paper. We are an electronic court and your document could get cut off

What’s next?

Once your paperwork is completed and turned into the clerk, a clerk will be assigned to draft and/or review the Petition and Affidavit and a proposed order for the Judicial Officer to consider. These documents will be thoroughly reviewed with you before we bring it to the Judicial Officer. The clerk will ask you t sign the Petition and Affidavit confirming that everything is true and correct and you do so under the penalties of perjury.

Next the clerk will bring this to the Judicial Officer while you wait in the lobby. This process can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple hours, and on rare occasions, review and signing will happen the next business day.

If the Judicial Officer signs your order, the clerk will provide you with copies and information about service of the Petition/Affidavit and Order.

After you leave the clerks will send your paperwork to the sheriff’s department to attempt personal service upon the respondent (If you provided an address). The clerks will also send a copy of the order to all police departments in cities with a protected address.


Need help writing your allegations?

Our office is part of a community collaborative that provide services to victims of domestic abuse. Additional assistance may be available for you. Please go to Bridges to Safety's website for additional information.


Will a hearing be required?

Most orders can be issued for two years without a court hearing; however, certain relief may require a court hearing. The other party also has a right to request a hearing. We will notify you by mail if a hearing is requested.
HRO FAQs

What is the difference between and Order for Protection (OFP) and a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO)?

The statutory requirements to obtain an OFP vs HRO determine the order for which you qualify. There are differences in the kind of relief you can receive depending on the order you obtain. The civil court filing fee is waived for Orders for Protection, but must be paid for Harassment Restraining Orders.

What is a Harassment Restraining Order?

A Harassment Restraining Order is a civil matter where a Petitioner (the party seeking the order) seeks a court order that sets conditions on a Respondent (the alleged harasser) where harassment is alleged.  Although a Harassment Restraining order is not a criminal proceeding, there may be criminal penalties if the Respondent violates the conditions outlined in the HRO. The order is effective throughout the state of Minnesota.

What is harassment?

Under Minn. Stat.609.748, harassment is defined as:

  • A single incident of physical or sexual assault;
  • Repeated incidents of intrusive or unwanted acts, words, or gestures that have a substantial adverse effect or are intended to have a substantial adverse effect on the safety, security or privacy of another (eg: repeated phone calls, following a person, repeatedly coming to the Petitioner’s home after been told not to do so);
  • Targeted residential picketing;
  • A pattern of attending public events after being notified that one's presence is harassing to another.

Note:  The Respondent includes any adults or juveniles alleged to have engaged in harassment or organizations alleged to have sponsored or promoted harassment.

Who Qualifies for a Harassment Order in Ramsey County?

The Petitioner qualifies if:
The Petitioner and/or Respondent lives in Ramsey County
Or
The incident of harassment occurred in Ramsey County
AND
There has been a recent incident of harassment
Note: The Petitioner does not have to have had a relationship with the Respondent. Orders can be obtained for adult and/or on behalf of minor children if there have been incidents of harassment to the Petitioner and/or the children.

What relief may be granted?

The HRO may order:

  • Respondent not to harass Petitioner or minor child/ren;
  • Respondent not to have contact, directly or indirectly, with Petitioner or the minor child/ren;
  • Respondent to stay away from Petitioner’s residence/workplace/school;
  • Respondent to stay away a specific distance surrounding the residence/workplace/school;

How Can a person Get a Harassment Restraining Order in Ramsey County?

The Petitioner may call the Domestic Abuse and Harassment Office at 651-266-5130 for information or may walk in to file on a first come, first serve basis. Intake interviews are held daily during business hours and once assigned, may take 1-2 hours. A petitioner may write a statement with dates or approximate dates and a description of incidents involving harassment and come with it prepared to the intake interview or the clerk will request that the petitioner attempt to write it when s/he arrives.  When the Petitioner arrives, the clerk provides the necessary forms and explain procedures related to filing a HRO. Upon request, the Petitioner’s address may remain confidential. Once the paperwork is completed, the orders and petition and affidavit are brought to the judicial officer to review while the Petitioner waits.  The judicial officer will make a decision as to whether to grant or deny the order.

Is there a filing fee?

There is a filing fee of $327.00 (effective 9/1/13).  The fee may be waived by the judicial officer if the Petitioner is found to meet the low income standards or the judicial officer may waive the fee if the allegations rise to a certain level. If the fee is not waived, it must be paid at the time of filing the order. If the Petitioner wants to request a fee waiver, s/he must bring proof of income, government assistance or other proof (to show how they support themselves) to the interview and complete an Affidavit for Proceeding In Forma Pauperis (fee waiver).  The judicial officer will review the information and grant or deny the waiver of fees.

Is there a court hearing?

Not necessarily. The court may issue a Harassment Restraining Order with or without a hearing for one to two years.  However, if there is no hearing set, a request for a hearing must be made within 45 days of the issuance of the order. If a hearing is set, the parties need to come prepared to present their case to the court and bring any witnesses and documents to support their case.

How is it Served?

A sheriff will try to personally serve the Respondent at the addresses that the Petitioner provided. The Respondent will receive a copy of the Petition and Order including the details of allegations and indicating any court date and conditions of the order. The Petitioner can call the sheriff’s department to see if the order was served.  If a court hearing is set the Petitioner still must appear in court, regardless of service results. If there is no court appearance set and service is unsuccessful, the Petitioner may return to the Domestic Abuse and Harassment Office to sign an Affidavit for Publication to publish notice.

How does a Respondent/s Request a Hearing if they object to the order?

The Respondent has 45 days from issuance of the order to request a hearing.  The Respondent needs to call the Domestic Abuse/Harassment Office  at 651-266-5130 to make an appointment to schedule a hearing and pay a $327.00 (effective 9/1/13) filing fee.The fee may be waived by the judicial officer if the Respondent is found to meet the low income standards. If the fee is not waived, it must be paid at the time of requesting the hearing. If the Respondent wants to request a fee waiver, s/he must bring proof of income, government assistance or other proof (to show how they support themselves) to the appointment and complete an Affidavit for Proceeding In Forma Pauperis (fee waiver).  The judicial officer will review the information and grant or deny the waiver of fees. If a hearing is scheduled the Petitioner will be notified.

If a Court Hearing is set what happens in court?

The Respondent and Petitioner are ordered to appear. The parties should bring a copy of their order and any witnesses or evidence to court with them. The parties may bring an attorney if they wish. The Respondent is asked to respond to the allegations of harassment. If the Respondent requests a trial and there is not sufficient time to conduct a trial or if the Respondent was not served the judicial officer may be continue the case to another day. If a trial takes place, the judicial officer will hear the case and either issue the order or dismiss it. If the order is issued, all or some of the requested relief may be granted.

How long do Harassment Restraining Orders remain in effect?

HROs are usually issued for 1-2 years. HROs are not to exceed 2 years, except as allowed by statute.

What if the Respondent violates the Harassment Order?

The petitioner should contact law enforcement immediately and show the police a copy of the HRO.

How does a person dismiss or change a Harassment Order?

The party seeking a change to the HRO needs to file the appropriate paperwork to motion to amend or dismiss the order. There is a $107.00 (effective 9/1/13) fee to file a motion to change the order.
The fee may be waived by the judicial officer if the party is found to meet the low income standards. If the fee is not waived, it must be paid at the time of filing the motion. If the party wants to request a fee waiver, s/he must bring proof of income, government assistance or other proof (to show how they support themselves) and complete an In Forma Pauperis (fee waiver). The judicial officer will review the information and grant or deny the waiver of fees. The motion to amend must be completed, including the specifi modification requseted and the reason why the change is requested. The order is not generally amended until the court hearing.

What if the Petitioner Moves?

The Petitioner needs to notify the Domestic Abuse and Harassment Office of any change in address and update the record with the new address. Upon request, the Petitioner’s address may remain confidential.

What if a party needs an interpreter?

The party needing the interpreter should contact the Domestic Abuse/Harassment Office at 651-266-5130 so that the clerks may arrange for an interpreter for appointments and court appearances.

Can parties have an attorney?

The parties may bring an attorney if they wish.
Where can a person call for other information regarding harassment?
Minnesota Help is available at 651-224-1133 in St. Paul and 612-335-5000. Dispute Resolution Center is available at 651-292-7791 to assist parties in community mediation - resolving non-violent disputes.
 

OFP FAQs

What is an Order for Protection?

An Order for Protection (OFP) is a civil court order in which a Petitioner (the person seeking the order) seeks a court order for him/herself and/or children that sets conditions on a Respondent (the person the order is against) when domestic abuse is alleged. The conditions may include, but are not limited to: no harm, no contact, exclusion from residence/employment, custody/parenting time, child support, etc (see complete list below).
Orders for Protection are, most commonly, in effect for two years.
Although an OFP is not a criminal proceeding, there may be criminal penalties if the Respondent violates the conditions outlined in the OFP.
The OFP is enforceable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, tribal lands and U.S. territories.
 What is the difference between an Order for Protection (OFP), Harassment Restraining Order (HRO) and Domestic Abuse No Contact Order (NCO)?
OFPs and HROs are orders issued by a Judge at the Petitioner’s request through the civil court process, whereas a NCO is an order issued by a Judge at the state's request through the criminal court process. Both a civil and criminal court order may be in effect at the same time.

How do I qualify for an OFP?

  • Family/Household Member
  • Incident/s of Domestic Abuse

How do I qualify for and HRO?

  • No relationship requirement
  • Repeated incidents of harassment or single incident of sexual or physical assault

What Conditions may be included for an OFP?

  • No harm
  • No contact
  • Exclusion from residence/employment
  • Custody/Parenting Time
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Maintenance
  • Property
  • Treatment/Counseling

What Conditions may be included for an HRO?

  • No harassment
  • No contact
  • Stay away from residence/employment

How much does an OFP cost?

  • No cost (fees waived)

How much does an HRO cost?

  • $327 (effective 9/1/13) or may be waived if you qualify

What is Domestic Abuse?

According to Minnesota Statute 518B.01, domestic abuse (if committed against a family or household member by a family or household member [outlined below]) is defined as (one or more of the following):

  • physical harm, bodily injury, or assault
  • the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm
  • terroristic threats
  • acts of criminal sexual conduct
  • interference with an emergency call

Who qualifies as a "family or household member" as defined by the statute?

One or more of the following:

  • Spouse or former spouse
  • Live or have lived together
  • Child in common (born or in utero)
  • Related by blood
  • Parents and children
  • Significant romantic or sexual relationship

Where should I file my Order for Protection?

An application for relief may be filed in the court having jurisdiction. To determine if Ramsey County has jurisdiction, one or more of the following must apply:

  • You or the Respondent live in Ramsey county
  • There is a pending or completed family court action in Ramsey County involving the you and the Respondent
  • The alleged abuse occurred in Ramsey County
  • To file in Ramsey County, contact the Domestic Abuse/Harassment office at 651-266-5130.
  • What is the Process to file an OFP in Ramsey County?
  • Arrive as a walkin, it is suggested to come as close to 8am as possible
  • Check-in at front desk and fill out initial paperwork
  • Turn-in paperwork to clerk at front desk
  • A clerk will assist in drafting a Petition/Affidavit and proposed Order and set a court date if requested/required
  • A clerk will bring the paperwork to be reviewed by the Judge
  • The clerk will give you the results of decision
  • The clerk will make you copies and provide information
  • The clerk will forward copies to the appropriate sheriff’s department for service

What should I bring to file?

The name, addresses and photo (if available) for the Respondent
A written statement with dates (or approximate dates/frequency) and a description of incidents involving domestic abuse. Include:

  1. What is your relationship to the respondent?
  2. Start with the most recent incident and work your way back in time writing the date/approximate date that respondent did any of the following to you or your children (indicate which child)*: Physically abused you and/or your children (hitting, punching, choking, sexual abuse, etc), Threatened to physically abuse you or your children, Interfered with an emergency call, Did something to make you afraid s/he would physically harm you (restraining, raising a fist to you, etc).
  3. Indicate if the police were involved.  Was the respondent arrested? Charged? Were you injured? Did you receive medical attention? Where?
  4. Write a short history statement indicating how long the abuse has been going on and give brief examples of past abuse.

*It will save you time, if you come with the statement prepared. If not, it will need to be written at the time of your interview
Complete addresses for locations you would like protected by your order (usually restricted to you or your children's residence, workplace, school, daycare)

Can I file an Order for Protection for a minor/s?

Parent/s or guardians may request an order on behalf of their child/ren if there have been incidents of domestic abuse upon them.
Minors, age 16 or older, may request an order on their own behalf (without needing a parent or guardian to petition on their behalf) against a spouse, former spouse, or a person whom the minor has a child in common, if the court finds the minor is mature, has good judgment and the order is in the minor’s best interest.
A reputable adult age 25 or older may file on behalf of minor family or household member, if the court finds that it is in the best interests of the minor.
How do I file against more than one person?
If you wish to file against more than one person, you will need to have a separate appointment and petition for each Respondent.

What relief may be granted?

The court may provide relief as follows (some conditions may require a hearing):

  • Restrain the Respondent from committing acts of domestic abuse;
  • Order Respondent to have no contact with Petitioner;
  • Exclude the Respondent from Petitioner’s residence (or residence they share);
  • Exclude the Respondent a reasonable area surrounding residence;
  • Award temporary custody or establish temporary parenting time;
  • Establish temporary support for minor children or a spouse;
  • Order treatment or counseling;
  • Award temporary use and possession of property
  • Exclude the Respondent from Petitioner’s place of employment
  • Continue insurance coverage without changes
  • Restitution

Is a hearing required to obtain an Order for Protection?

In some cases. In the following circumstances, there is a hearing:

  • The petitioner may request a hearing
  • A hearing may be required if you request certain relief
  • Child support/spousal maintenance
  • Custody
  • Treatment or counseling
  • Restitution
  • Distance Provision
  • The Judge may order there to be a court hearing
  • The respondent may request a hearing within 5 days of service

May I be represented by an attorney?

You may choose to retain an attorney to represent you or you may represent yourself (pro se), however attorneys (i.e. public defenders) are not appointed to represent you in Domestic Abuse/Harassment cases.

How do I request a continuance for my court hearing?

You must submit any request and supporting documentation to continue the matter in writing (in person, by mail or fax) as soon as possible. The request will be forwarded to the Judicial Officer and the response, if any, will be provided to you.

How do I request for an interpreter?

You may contact the Domestic Abuse/Harassment Office at 651-266-5130 to order an interpreter for an appointment or court appearance in an Order for Protection or Harassment Restraining Order matter. The Domestic Abuse/Harassment office has Spanish and Hmong speaking staff usually available to assist in the filing of an order.

Where can I obtain subpoenas?

You may contact the Domestic Abuse/Harassment Office at 651-266-5130 to request subpoenas for a Domestic Abuse/Harassment hearing.

What Happens at Court?

  • The Respondent and Petitioner are ordered to appear
  • The parties should bring a copy of their order and any witnesses or evidence to court with them
  • The parties may be represented by an attorney if they wish to hire one on their own
  • The Judicial Officer may ask the Petitioner if s/he still wants the Order
  • The Judicial Officer may ask the Respondent how they would like to respond to the issuance of an Order for Protection
  • If the Respondent requests an evidentiary hearing (trial) and there is not sufficient time to conduct a trial or if the Respondent was not served with enough notice, the judicial officer may continue the case to another date.
  • If there is a trial, the judicial officer will hear the case and either issue an order or dismiss it. If the order is issued, all or some of the requested relief may be granted.

Is there a filing fee to file for an Order for Protection?

There is no fee to file an Order for Protection.

How does the Respondent find out about the Order?

The court clerk will forward a copy of the ExParte OFP/Petition and Affidavit to be personally served on the Respondent to the appropriate sheriff’s department, provided the Petitioner gives the court an address where the Respondent may be served.
If the attempts to personally serve are unsuccessful, service by alternate means or publication will need to be sought in order to keep the Order in effect and fulfill the service requirement.

How does a Respondent request a hearing?

When the Respondent is served with the order without a hearing, a Request for Hearing form is attached. The Respondent may request a hearing by completing and submitting this form to the court within 5 days of receiving the order. In the alternative, the Respondent may call the Domestic Abuse/Harassment office to set up a hearing by phone at 651-266-5130.

How long is the Order in effect?

Orders for Protection are usually issued for two years.

What if I move?

The party should submit a Notice of Change of Address form to the Domestic Abuse/Harassment office with any change in address and if the petitioner has a new address, the court clerks will send a copy of the order to the new police department and update the new address in the file. By request, the petitioner's address may remain confidential.

How does a person extend, change or dismiss an OFP?

The party seeking a change to the OFP needs to file the appropriate paperwork with the domestic abuse office if s/he wishes to motion to extend, amend or dismiss the order.
Court clerks will assist the party in filing the motion to modify which provides space to include what they request and why. If the motion requires an Order to Appear, a judicial officer needs to approve the order to have a hearing and a date will be set in which both parties should appear in court.
In most cases, the motion does not modify the order in any way until the court hearing.
For an extension of an order that is currently in effect, the Petitioner should file the application to extend to Order for Protection about one or two weeks before the order expires. The statute allows the order to be extended if the:

  • Respondent violated a prior or existing Order for Protection;
  • Petitioner is in reasonable fear of physical harm from the respondent;
  • Respondent has engaged in acts of harassment or stalking; or
  • Respondent is incarcerated and about to be released, or has recently been released from incarceration.
  • What should I do if the Respondent violates the order?
  • Contact law enforcement to report the violation.

Where can a person call for other information about Domestic Violence?

Domestic Abuse/Harassment Resource Sheet