Know the Laws: Montana
UPDATED May 25, 2012
A an order of protection is a civil order that protects you from someone who is harming you or has threatened to harm you.
You can ask the court for an order of protection against anyone who has:
You can ask the court for an order of protection against a "family member" or "partner" who has committed any of the following offenses against you:
Note: "Family member" means: mothers, fathers, children, brothers, sisters, and other past or present family members of a household whether these relationships are biological, or through adoption or remarriage.
Note: "Partner" means: spouses, former spouses, people who have a child in common, and people who have been or are currently in a dating or ongoing intimate relationship with a person of the opposite sex.*3
Also, it does not matter how much time has passed between when the abuse happened and when you apply for an order of protection. If the abuser is in jail, you may ask for an order of protection upon his/her release.
You may be eligible for an order of protection whether or not you have reported the abuse to law enforcement, charged are filed, or you participate in a criminal prosecution.*2
*1 Mont. Code Ann. §40-15-102(2)
*2 Mont. Code Ann. § 40-15-102(1)
*3 Mont. Code Ann. § 45-5-206
No. According to Montana law, only heterosexual partners qualify for orders of protection. The law says a person can only get an order of protection against:
If you are a minor (under 18), a parent, guardian ad litem or other representative may file for an order of protection on your behalf.*
An order of protection is effective against the abuser regardless of the abuser's age.**
* Mont. Code Ann. §§ 41-1-101, 40-15-102(3)
** Mont. Code Ann. § 40-15-102(4)
It does not cost anything to apply for an order of protection.
No, but it is always better to have one if you can. If your abuser has an attorney you should try to get one also.
In many places, local domestic violence or sexual assault victim programs can help you file for an order of protection. You will find a list of agencies that might be able to help you at the MT State and Local Programs page under the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page. You will find contact information for courthouses and clerks at the MT Courthouse Locations page.
Free legal assistance is sometimes available in Montana for low-income people who petition for orders of protection. For help in finding free legal assistance in your area, please visit MT Finding a Lawyer page under the Where to Find Help tab on the top of this page.