A Minnesota woman holding a child in her arms considers an Order for Protection

An Order for Protection (OFP) is a court order that orders the person hurting you to stop the abuse.

Order for Protection Overview (Per MN Courts Gov)

What Is an Order for Protection?

An Order for Protection (OFP) is an order signed by a judicial officer (judicial officer or referee) that may help protect you from domestic abuse.  An OFP orders the abuser not to contact, harm, or threaten to harm you, your children, or other people the judicial officer agrees to list on the OFP.  You can also ask the judicial officer to order the abuser to do certain things, or stop doing certain things, to help keep you safe.

Who can apply for an OFP?

The person applying for the OFP is called the petitioner.  The person you are seeking protection from is called the respondent.

The petitioner may apply for an OFP if:

• Domestic abuse has occurred; AND

• The petitioner and respondent are family or household members.

Can I apply for an OFP on behalf of someone else?

In certain situations, a petitioner may apply on behalf of another person.  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 judicial officer finds that it is in the best interest of the minor.

Additionally, a legal guardian of an adult may apply on behalf of the adult ward. A guardianship order from a court must be in place.

A person aged 16 or 17 may apply for an OFP on their 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 judicial officer finds that the petitioner has sufficient maturity and 

judgment, and that it is in the best interest of the minor. 

Where can I apply to get an OFP?

A petitioner may apply for an OFP:

• In the county where the petitioner lives;

• In the county where the respondent lives; 

• In the county where the domestic abuse happened;

• In any county where there is a pending or completed family court case involving the petitioner and the respondent, or their minor children, such as a divorce or child custody case; or

• In the court with jurisdiction over divorce actions. 

How much does it cost to apply for or to serve the OFP?

There is no cost to apply for an OFP.  If the judicial officer grants the OFP, then the OFP must be personally delivered to (served on) the respondent.  There is no cost to the petitioner for serving the respondent and no cost for the respondent to request a hearing.

Important Definitions

See Minn. Stat. § 518B.01, subd. 2.

Domestic Abuse.  Minnesota law defines domestic abuse as any of the following conduct between family or household members, regardless of whether the conduct has ever been reported to the police:

a. Actual physical harm, bodily injury, assault (such as hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing, stabbing), or infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault (such as verbal threats, threatening gestures);

b. Terroristic threats (such as a threat to kill, break bones, or threatening someone with a knife or a gun);

c. Criminal sexual conduct with an adult (such as forced sex or forced contact with intimate body parts, even if the parties are married), or any form of sexual contact with a child; 

d. Sexual extortion (when a person submits to sexual conduct or penetration under a direct or indirect threat:

• to harm employment or housing, 

• to report immigration status or make a criminal charge, or

• to disseminate private sexual images or expose confidential information);

 e. Interference with an emergency call (intentionally interrupting or preventing someone from placing an emergency call).

2. Family or Household Members.

a. Married persons;

b. Persons who were married, but are now divorced;

c. Parents, children;

d. Persons related by blood or adoption (such as sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, or grandparents);

e. Persons who live together now, or who lived together in the past;

f. Persons who have a child together, even if they have not been married or lived together;

g. Persons who have an unborn child together; or

h. Persons involved in or who were involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship (regardless of sexual orientation). 

According to Minnesota law, to qualify for an OFP, the situation must include “domestic abuse” AND “family or household members” as defined above.  If your application DOES NOT involve “domestic abuse” AND “family or household members” you may still be able to apply for a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO).

(All Information above directly cited from MN Courts Gov)

Additional Resources
What is the difference between an Order For Protection (OFP) and a Harassment Restraining Order (HRO)?

Per Law Help MN:

“For an OFP, the abuser must be family, you must have lived with them, or you must have a child together or a significant romantic relationship.  For an HRO, the relationship between you and the harasser does not matter. If you have the kind of relationship you need to get an OFP, you should apply for an OFP.

Some behaviors do not meet the legal definition of domestic abuse but do meet the definition of harassment. For example, your ex-boyfriend calls you over and over saying he is going to take custody of your child. If it annoys you that his calls don’t stop, it is harassment.  If his calls make you afraid of being harmed, it is domestic abuse.”

Remember, an OFP is only one step in the planning process and does not guarantee your safety. Reach out to Day One to discuss your options and what would be best for you.

Filing for an OFP is only one step in the safety planning process. It is definitely an option you might want to consider, but OFPs do not guarantee your safety. If you are unsure if filing an OFP is right for you, please keep in mind reaching out to a Day One advocate to discuss all of your options and the factors to consider before filing an OFP.

Contact Day One 

For more information and to discuss filing an Order for Protection, please call the Minnesota Day One Crisis Line 1-866-223-1111 to speak with an advocate (interpreters are available), text 612-399-9995, or click the CHAT NOW button on this site to connect with a Day One advocate. A Day One advocate is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

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