Indiana protective order law

Indiana University Maurer School of Law's Protective Order Project ("POP") assists victims of domestic violence and stalking in seeking relief under the Indiana Civil Protection Order Act (the "Act"), Ind. Code § 34-26-5-1 to -5-19.

To receive a protective order under the Act, a person seeking relief (the "Petitioner") must allege that the perpetrator (the "Respondent") committed:

  • Domestic or family violence;
  • Stalking; or,
  • a sex offense.

"Domestic or family violence" means:

  • Attempting to cause, threatening to cause, or causing physical harm to another family or household member.
  • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical harm; or
  • Causing a family or household member to involuntarily engage in sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress.

"Stalking" means, "A knowing or intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened." Ind. Code § 35-45-10-1. ("Course of conduct" means at least two incidents.)

"Sex offense" means one of the crimes listed in Ind. Code § 35-42-4

For the Act to apply, the Respondent must be either a:

  • Family or household member of the Petitioner; or,
  • Person who has committed stalking or a sex offense against the Petitioner.

"Family or household member" means:

  1. A person who is a current or former spouse;
  2. A person who is dating or has dated;
  3. A person who is engaged or was engaged in a sexual relationship;
  4. A person who is related by blood or adoption;
  5. A person who is related or was related by marriage;
  6. A person who has an established legal relationship or previously established a legal relationship:
    1. as a guardian;
    2. as a ward;
    3. as a custodian;
    4. as a foster parent; or
    5. in a capacity similar to those listed in clauses (A) through (D);
  7. A person who has a child in common; and
  8. A minor child of a person in a relationship described in subdivisions (1) through (7).

Ind. Code § 34-6-2-44.8.

If the judge reviewing the Petition finds that the requirements of the Act are met, then the judge can issue an immediate protective order - known as an "Ex Parte Protection Order" - without a hearing. However, a judge may choose to first hold a hearing, and after the Ex Parte Order is issued either the judge or the party being sued (the "Respondent") also may request a hearing. The court is also required to hold a hearing in certain circumstances (for example, when the petitioner is asking the court to evict a respondent or to establish parenting time arrangements for children that the parties have together).

A Protective Order issued after a hearing - or one issued without a hearing, if no hearing is necessary - ordinarily lasts for two (2) years, unless the judge decides on a different duration.

More information about the Act may be found in the Protection Order Deskbook, available on the Indiana Supreme Court's Protection Order Website.

The Court's Website also contains extensive forms for seeking a protective order and other related resources.