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Restraining Order Cost

How Much Does a Restraining Order Cost?

low costEmergency Protective Orders: Free average costRestraining Order: $100-$400 high costRestraining Order & Legal Advice: $1,000+
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A restraining order, also called an order of protection, is a court-ordered directive for someone to meet certain conditions or to not do specific things. If the conditions of the directive are not met, legal consequences are applicable. Restraining orders are typically used to give legal protection to victims of domestic violence, harassment or stalking. Although state laws vary, there are three general types of restraining orders: emergency protective orders, which law enforcement officials obtain, and temporary and permanent restraining orders, which the public obtains.

Typical costs:

  • Emergency protection orders are free. For example, when police are called to the scene of a domestic violence incident, the responding officers may choose to contact a judge directly and request an immediate protection order for a victim.
  • Temporary restraining orders are typically the first protection order a victim can request. When filing for a permanent restriction order, a judge will decide immediately whether a victim may need a temporary order in place. Many courts waive filing fees for victims of domestic violence or stalking. Victims of workplace harassment typically are responsible for filing fees. Filing fees vary by state, but generally cost $100-$400. For example, in Santa Cruz, CA, the court charges $345 for filing for protection in a workplace or civil matter, but domestic violence, stalking and elder abuse victims file for free. In Santa Fe, NM[1] , filing for a protection order costs $122. A permanent restraining order is put in place through a court hearing in front of a judge. Generally, a victim will have already paid or requested a waiver for court filing fees at the time of a hearing.
Related articles: Attorney Fees, Legal Name Change, Security Guard

What should be included:
  • Judges tailor restraining orders to each individual situation. Restraining orders are commonly used to order someone to stay a certain distance from an alleged victim's home, workplace or children. Restraining orders also can be used to restrict a person from leaving a state with children or from possessing a firearm. provides general information on various types of restraining orders[2] and the process of obtaining them.
  • Although specific requirements vary by state, to obtain a restraining order, a victim must prove an abuser has caused or threatened physical harm.
Additional costs:
  • Modifying, extending or nullifying a protection order may require addition trips to court. An attorney will typically charge $90-$500 per hour for general legal services.
  • Lawyers are not required for a restraining order hearing, but if children are involved or if the restraining order might be disputed, consulting a lawyer is recommended. Initial consultations with a lawyer are typically free or low-cost ($25-$50.) After the initial visit, expect to pay $90-$500 per hour for an attorney's time. Expect to pay for a minimum of five-10 hours of time when hiring an attorney for a restraining order hearing, which will cover both preparation and time in the courtroom. Five-10 hours of an attorney time can cost $450-$5,000.
  • Court reporter fees might be incurred during a protection order hearing. Typically stenographers and court reporters charge $5-$10 per page. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims[3] recommends charging $8.25 per page as of 2008.
  • Most states waive fees for restraining order that protect victims of domestic abuse, family harassment and stalking. Fee waivers are typically granted to recipients of state aid such as food stamps or cash aid.
  • The American Bar Association provides a consumers' guide[4] to finding legal help which includes free legal aid.
  • Some states put the responsibility of handling court fees on the offender. For example, in Texas[5] , the offender is responsible for paying for any fees associated with obtaining a protective order, unless he/she shows good cause or is indigent. If the restraining order is denied, the costs are the responsibility of the petitioner.
Shopping for a restraining order:
  • The Connecticut Network for Legal Aid offers a list of things petitioners should know[6] before asking for a restraining order.
  •, a website provide legal information to victims of domestic abuse, has state-by-state information[7] and overviews about obtaining restraining orders.
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