File your Request for Civil Harassment Restraining Orders

Once you finish filling out your court papers, you need to file them with the court. Filing means turning in your papers to the court for a judge to review. 

How to file papers with the court

  • Take your court papers to the court clerk

    Not every courthouse accepts civil harassment restraining order papers. Find the courthouse in your county that will file restraining order papers by going to Find my Court and checking the court's website. You can also contact your nearest Self-Help Center for guidance on where to file.

    At the courthouse, you’ll file the forms by giving the original and two copies to the clerk. Your forms will then be reviewed by a judge. The clerk will let you know when to return to pick up your court papers. 

    illustration of documents being placed in a "drop box"

    Some courts have a drop box that you can use. A drop box can be located inside or outside the courthouse. If you put your court papers in a drop box make sure include the original plus two copies, and use an envelope or rubber band to keep all your papers together. If you use a drop box, you will still have to return to the courthouse to pick up your court papers. Using a drop box may not be the fastest way to get your papers reviewed by a judge. If you need protection right away, take your forms to a court clerk. 

    Some courts allow online filing, also called efiling. You can find out if your court has online filing by visiting your court’s website. 

  • If required, pay a filing fee

    If you are not alleging violence, stalking or threats of violence or if you did not ask for a fee waiver, you will need to pay $435-$450 to the clerk when you file your forms. 

    Go back to the first step to learn about how to ask to pay no filing fees.

    What if my fee waiver is denied?
    If you asked for a fee waiver because you don't have the money to pay (this means you filled out form FW-001), you can pay or ask the judge to consider more information. Learn more about your options.
  • Find out when your papers will be ready to pick up

    If you asked for a temporary restraining order, the judge may be able to review your request that same day. If not, you will need to go back to the courthouse the next day. Ask the clerk when you should return to pick up your court papers.

Pick up your court papers from clerk

What's next

Once you’ve filed your request for restraining order, the next step is to pick up your court papers from the clerk after a judge has reviewed them.

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