August 25, 2022

Domestic Violence Protection Orders: Frequently Asked Questions

Domestic Violence Protection Orders: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are applying for or considering a protection order, our team of legal advocates has put together a list of frequently asked questions for you to review. If you choose to review the answers, they can help you prepare for an appointment with an advocate to further discuss your personal situation, prompt you to contact a different agency, and/or equip you with the knowledge you need to move forward on your own. If you would like legal advocacy assistance in filling out the protection order, please contact the legal advocacy department at 509-477-3656, option #1


  • How do I know which court to file in?

    • Superior Court: If you currently live together, are married, in the process of getting a divorce, share children, or are filing on behalf of a minor child or vulnerable adult you will have to file in Superior Court.
    • District Court: If you do not live together, do not share any children (or children are over 18), are not married, or have been officially divorced for some time you can file in District Court.
  • How and Where do I File?

    • For Superior Court, you must file your completed petition (packet of paperwork) in room 202 of the Superior courthouse (1116 W Broadway Ave). They are open Monday through Friday, 1:30pm-4:00pm and Monday/Wednesday/Friday, 9:00am-12:00pm.
      • You can pick up the Protection Order packets in room 202 of the courthouse or from our front desk. If Ex Parte is not open, you can pick up the paperwork in room 200 of the Superior courthouse.
    • For District Court, you can file 3 different ways:
      • You can download and fill out the petition electronically. Once fully completed, you can email the petition to civilprotectionorder@spokanecounty.org. A staff member will contact you within 1 business day regarding the Judge’s decision. Please keep an eye on your email. 
      • You can also print the paperwork or pick it up at the Civil Clerk’s Office (just left of the stairs, Broadway Center Building, 721 N Jefferson St). Once fully completed, you can drop off the paperwork at the Civil Clerk’s Office. A staff member will contact you within 1 business day regarding the Judge’s decision. Please keep an eye on your email. 
      • If you would like to submit your petition in person and see a judge at the same time, you can file in person in room 202 of the Broadway Center Building from 1:15pm-3:15pm. 
  • How long will it take?

    • Once you fill out the petition and file it at the courthouse, if the judge signs off on the petition, you will be given a court hearing approximately two weeks out that you will need to attend in order for the judge to hear your case for the final order. 
    • Then, law enforcement will go out and attempt to serve the respondent (other party) with the full petition. 
    • If the respondent is not served within the two weeks the court hearing will be continued to a further court date.
  • Does it cost money?

    • Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders are free. An Anti-harassment Order costs $53 or $73 depending on which court you are required to file in. There are fee waivers available with the court clerk.
  • Can I add my family members?

    • You can add minor children to your petition, however the paperwork will ask you to determine whether Washington state has jurisdiction to protect the children. Anyone over 18, even if living in the home, will have to file their own petition.
  • Should I file an Anti-Harrassment order or Civil Protection order?

    • If your situation meets the burden of domestic violence in the State of Washington you can file a Civil Protection order. RCW 7.105.010 states: “(9) Domestic violence” means:
      • Physical harm, bodily injury, assault, 
      • or the infliction of fear of physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
      • nonconsensual sexual conduct or nonconsensual sexual penetration; 
      • coercive control; 
      • unlawful harassment; 
      • or stalking of one intimate partner by another intimate partner”
    • Anti-harassment orders are appropriate if the person you want protection from:
      • Has acted without legitimate or lawful purpose in a way that shows a continuity of purpose;
      • Has directed the actions to your or your child;
      • And the things the person said or did have seriously alarmed, annoyed, or harassed you and were the kind of things that would cause a reasonable person substantial emotional distress and have actually caused you substantial emotional distress;
      • Or the person has done or said things that would cause a reasonable parent to fear for the wellbeing of their child.

– Content from Tiffany Yamase, Legal Advocate Manager –


YWCA Spokane is Here for You

If you or someone you know is impacted by intimate partner domestic violence, know that confidential advocates are always available through our 24hr helpline services by calling 509-326-2255, emailing help@ywcaspokane.org, or texting 509-220-3725. 

To learn more about accessing additional services at YWCA Spokane, please visit ywcaspokane.org/services.

By: Mia Morton

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