Domestic Violence Order for Protection - Self-Help Forms
Authored By: Northwest Justice Project
This online interview was developed by the Northwest Justice Project for use by low-income persons representing themselves, but is available free of charge to all persons. The interview is easy to use and when completed assembles completed court forms and instructions for filing a domestic violence protection order in Washington State.
If you need help with this process or need to speak with someone, assistance is available through statewide programs. Call the Washington State Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-888-562-6025.
If you're filing in Pierce County, we suggest that you use the kiosks available to help you prepare your protection order forms instead of this program. There may be additional forms in some counties. Check with the clerk of court in the county you will file your protection order.
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These forms are not for commercial use and charging for use in any way is prohibited.
What if I have questions?
To learn more about the project and what to expect when you use the interactive court forms, read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) below.
Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs
Who can use this program?
This program is designed for low-income Washington residents, or advocates assisting them, who are representing themselves in a domestic violence protection order court case.
Why can't I see the interview? I keep getting an error message: "There's a problem. Could not find question. Unable to proceed."
Adobe Flash Player MUST be installed on the computer you are using in order to view the interviews. If Flash is not installed, you will get an error message at the beginning of your interview indicating there's a problem. If you are using your own computer it's safe, easy to install, and free.
To download the latest version of Flash, click here: Adobe Flash Player
Scroll down and click "Install Now". You do not need the Yahoo! toolbar and should uncheck that box if you don't want to install it.
Please Note: If you are using a public computer, check with the organization to find out if Adobe Flash Player is already installed. You may need to restart your computer after installation.
What software is needed to download and print the forms?
The interactive court forms download for printing in Rich Text Format (.rtf), which should be opened only in Microsoft Word or one of the other word processing programs mentioned above. Make sure when downloading the documents your computer chooses that program to download the documents. Otherwise you will likely experience formatting or other errors such as getting nonsense or "gibberish" rather than a document. Note: Microsoft WordPad is NOT the same as Microsoft Word. Using WordPad WILL cause problems with your documents.
When I click the link to complete the forms, I'm taken to the LawHelp Interactive web site. What is this?
LawHelp Interactive is our partner web site that makes these interviews run on the web. The LawHelp Interactive server was donated by Lexis Nexis to Legal Service programs throughout the US to host online documents for low-income individuals. This server hosts all of the Washington interactive court forms. It is an encrypted, secure server. Read the LawHelp Interactive FAQ for more information.
Why should I sign up for a user-name and password on the server?
Signing up for a user-name and password allows you to save your answers. Your answers are stored on a secure, encrypted server and are not accessible to anyone but you, unless you have shared your username and password.
What is the LawHelp Interactive project?
The LawHelp Interactive project is designed to help individuals representing themselves in court complete the forms they need easily and accurately online.
What should I expect?
You will answer questions in an interview format and your answers will be used to fill in Washington court approved forms relevant to your court case. Once you click the link to the form you need, you will taken to our partnering site, LawHelp Interactive, to complete the interview for the interactive forms. At the end of the interview, you will "submit" your answers, wait for your documents to be assembled, and then download your documents for printing. Instructions about what to do next will be included in your printed form packet.
How much does it cost?
There is no cost for using this program. However, please note there are fees for filing most court documents. The instructions will include fee information or you can contact your county court clerk for more details.
What should I know about representing myself in court?
When you represent yourself in court you are held to the same standards as an attorney. Your preparation, paperwork, and your conduct at all hearings must comply with court rules and orders. You should always talk to a lawyer about your legal issues before filing any legal paperwork. Even if you do not hire a lawyer to appear in your case, a lawyer can give you information about your rights. Read our publication Basic Tips on How to Prepare for a Court Hearing or Trial for more information on court behavior.
Where can I find an assistance if I decide I need it?
Visit the Washington State Bar Association's web site for information on how to locate an attorney.