(If you or someone you know is a victim of spousal abuse/ physical abuse/ adult abuse, either threatened or real, your/their immediate priority has to be securing your/their physical safety. Moving to a safe, protected location, be that the home of a friend or relative or a shelter for domestic violence victims, should be your/their first step. Accordingly, please see our listing of domestic violence telephone hotlines serving the St. Louis metropolitan area, where you can learn about the various options available to domestic violence victims.)
To file an adult abuse case and obtain an “ex parte” (i.e. temporary) order of protection, the victim should go the courthouse in the Missouri county where he/she resides and complete the form available there. Once completed, the form is submitted to the circuit clerk’s office and the order of protection will be issued, usually on the same day.
At the same time, the court will schedule a hearing within 15 days at which the judge will hear evidence from both the accuser and the accused in order to determine if the order should be lengthened or made permanent. At the hearing, the judge will also decide if any financial relief should be provided to the victim.
Protection under the adult abuse law is available to anyone who fits one of the following classifications:
Having the assistance of an experienced and skillful attorney can be critical to acquiring the maximum protections and support available under the law. To be sure, the form available at the court house can be completed and filed without the aid of counsel, but even a single consultation with Cynthia Fox prior to filing can be very beneficial to making sure that you provide the most salient information possible on the form and ask for and qualify for the full array of financial relief available.
Legal representation at the hearing, which will be scheduled automatically within 15 days after you file, can be an essential difference-maker between whether the court opts to lengthen or make permanent its temporary order of protection, and order the financial relief requested.
Similarly, someone who believes that they have been falsely accused with adult abuse should seriously consider retaining legal counsel to represent them at this hearing. Cynthia Fox has participated in many such hearings, representing the abused and the accused alike.