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St. Louis County - Virginia
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Filing for an Order for Protection (OFP)

St Louis County, Virginia
Domestic Abuse

How To Obtain An Order For Protection

The information contained on this page is NOT intended as legal advice but as a general guide to you to explain the legal process.  If you do not understand any of these procedures, consult an attorney.  This office CANNOT give legal advice.  If you have questions, please contact the court administrator.  Most forms referred to on this page are available from the court.
What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse includes bodily harm, or the fear of bodily harm, or terroristic threats or criminal sexual conduct between family or household members, or persons involved in a significant romantic relationship.  This law does not cover emotional or mental abuse.

Family or household members are defined as:
    a.  Married persons
    b.  Persons who were married but are now divorced
    c.  Parents, children
    d.  Persons related by blood (such as brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts or grandparents)
    e.  Persons who live together now or who lived together in the past
    f.  Persons who have a child together, even if they have not been married or lived together
    g.  Persons who have an unborn child together
    h.  Persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship

If you do not believe you qualify for an OFP, you may qualify for a harassment order, which would also be filed in the Court Intake Office of the courthouse.

What is an Order for Protection and how does it protect me? 

An Order for Protection (OFP) is a court order forbidding the Respondent from physically harming the Petitioner or any minor child(ren) in the home, or from causing fear of immediate physical harm.  The Respondent may also be prohibited from entering the Petitioner's home.  The term "Petitioner" refers to the person seeking an OFP.  The term "Respondent" refers to the alleged abusing party.  The Petitioner first obtains a temporary order which is effective after the Respondent is served with a copy.   The temporary order is effective until a Court hearing which is approximately seven (7) days after the initial filing.  At this time the Court meets with both parties to determine if the temporary order should be extended for up to one year.

Petitioners may request one of the following orders:

Exclusionary: If you and the Respondent live together, the Respondent is ordered to leave the home until the court hearing which is held within seven (7) days of obtaining a temporary order.

Protection only: If you and the Respondent live together and you wish to remain together in the same residence, the Respondent is ordered not to harm you or cause you fear, but is not ordered to leave the residence.  A court hearing will be set within seven (7) days of obtaining a temporary order.

Non-exclusion: If you and the Respondent do not live together, the Respondent is ordered to stay away from your home until the court hearing which is held within seven (7) days of obtaining a temporary order.

Do I qualify for an Order For Protection? 
You qualify if:
  You or the Respondent live in St Louis County
  You and the Respondent live together now or have lived together in the past OR
  You have a child in common (born or in utero)OR
  You are related by blood
  Have a significant romantic relationship
  There has been a recent incident of domestic abuse

Orders can be obtained for adult and minor children if there has been incidents of abuse or threats to both of them.

A minor must have an adult or guardian file on behalf of them.  To file against a minor, you must file against the minor's parents or legal guardian of the minor.

How can I get an Order for Protection?

You can stop by the Court Intake Office of the courthouse to fill out an application or call the Range Woman's advocate for assistance and/or to accompany you to your court hearing.

Filing time is Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

You should bring:

  - A picture of the Respondent, if possible

  - A home and work address of the Respondent

  - Written dates and notes concerning the abuse covering the last six months

After completing the forms, we will have you sign the forms in our presence.  A court employee will then present the written information and form to a Judge.  The Judge decides whether to sign your order based on the Domestic Abuse Laws.  If signed, the papers are filed with the Family Court Clerk.  Copies will be made of your order.   You will receive a copy of your signed order in the mail, another will be sent to the sheriff's office for service on the Respondent.

How is it served?

The Sheriff will serve the papers to the Respondent.  In an exclusion, the Sheriff will order the Respondent to leave the residence and wait until that person leaves.

If the papers need to be served outside of St Louis County, the Sheriff's Office will fax or mail them to the appropriate county for service on the Respondent.

If you decide you want the order dismissed even before going to court, you must still show up for court and state to the Judge the reasons why you want the Order for Protection dismissed.

When must I appear in court?

A judge may sign a 1 year Ex Parte without requiring a hearing.  Unless the respondent requests a hearing in this case, you DO NOThave to appear in court.

If the judge requires a hearing or the respondent requests a hearing, YOU MUST APPEAR in court.

What happens in court?

You and the Respondent will appear before a Judge.   You may bring an attorney to the court hearing but it is not required.  Your petition will be considered and the court may:

  - Issue OFP for one yearOR
  - Dismiss the orderOR
  - Continue the court hearing to a new date if the Respondent has not been served (and publish notice of the court   date or attempt service) OR
  - Have a court trial if the Respondent denies all allegations AND
  - Determine temporary custody and visitation of the minor children
  - Order the Respondent to undergo counseling and/or evaluations
  - Order the Respondent to stay away from the Petitioner's workplace
  - Order child support, continuation of insurance coverage, and/or spousal maintenance
  - Order restitution
  - Order no contact with Petitioner

There is no fee for filing an OFP and no service fee if the Respondent lives in Minnesota.

What if the Respondent disobeys your OFP? 

Do the following:

  - Call 911 immediately

  - Call an advocate to assist you
  - Call your City Attorney (in the city where the incident occurred) and tell them you want to press charges
How do I extend, dismiss or change my permanent OFP?

Contact the Court Intake Office of the courthouse and fill out a modification form.  (Bring a copy of your order with you.)  The Court Administrator's Office will assist you in filling out the modification form and explain the procedure.   You will need to go back to court to modify your order.  A hearing date will be set and you and the Respondent must appear in court.  The Court will decide whether to grant your request.


Stop in and pick up a modification form at least 21 days prior to the expiration date of your order.  You must be experiencing fear of the Respondent.

  - It is important to have your order legally dismissed if you wish to live with your partner again
  - Violation of this Order may be treated as either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony.  A misdemeanor violation may result in a sentence of up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $700.00.  Some repeat violations are gross misdemeanors which may result in a sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $3,000.00.   Other violations are felonies and may result in a sentence of imprisonment for up to ten years and/or a fine of up to $20,000.00.
  - The Violence Against Women Act (18. U.S.C. 2265) makes this Order enforceable in all 50 states, Washington D.C., Tribal lands, and U.S. territories.  A violation of this Order may result in federal charges and punishment.
  - If you move after getting your Order for Protection, send a copy of your order to the new police department and call the Court Administrator's Office to change the address in your file.


        Frequently called office phone numbers:

Family Court/Harassment Filing(218) 749-7106
St Louis County Sheriff(218) 749-7134
Range Woman's Advocate(218) 749-5054
 or (800) 343-5054
Virginia City Attorney(218) 741-4500
Eveleth City Attorney(218) 741-4500
Aurora City Attorney(218) 741-4500
Hoyt Lakes City Attorney(218) 741-4500
Gilbert City Attorney(218) 741-4500
Tower City Attorney(218) 753-2009
Mt. Iron City Attorney(218) 749-1962
Babbitt & Ely City Attorney(218) 365-3221
Biwabik City Attorney(218) 749-4770
Cook City Attorney(218) 666-2394