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What is an Order for Protection and Who Can Apply?

Are you thinking about applying for an Order for Protection in Minnesota? Minnesota statute 518B.01 defines what the order is and who can apply:

What is an Order for Protection?

An Order for Protection, or OFP, is an order signed by a judge that could help protect you from domestic abuse. An OFP orders the accused abuser not to contact, harm or threaten to harm you, your children or other people the judge agrees to list on the order. In addition, as the petitioner you can ask the judge to order the abuser to do certain things or stop doing certain things to help keep you safe.

Who can apply for an Order for Protection?

The person applying for the order is referred to as a petitioner, and the accused abuser is the respondent. You can apply for an OFP if domestic abuse has occurred and you are a family member or household member with the respondent.

In addition, there circumstances under which the petitioner may apply on behalf of another. For example, a petitioner may apply on behalf of a minor child if there has been domestic abuse of the child by the respondent and the petitioner is:

  • a family or household member of the child; or
  • the child’s parent or guardian; or
  • a reputable adult age 25 or older, if the judge finds that it is in the best interest of the minor.

A person aged 16 or 17 may apply for an OFP on his or her own if there has been domestic
abuse and the respondent is someone the petitioner:

  • is married to;
  • was married to; or
  • has a child with, if the judge finds that the petitioner has sufficient maturity and judgment and that it is in the best interest of the minor.

It is absolutely free to apply for an OFP, and if it's granted it will be served to the respondent in person.

As mentioned above, domestic abuse must have occurred and you must be a family or household member of the respondent to file, so make sure you know the legal definitions for both before you apply. You can find the those legal definitions, and more information on how and where to apply on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website. Also, here is a link to the statute details.