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FAQ’s

WHAT IS AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

You may have heard someone say, “You should get a restraining order against that person”.  In New Mexico, a “restraining order” against an intimate partner (dating partner, spouse or co-parent of a child) or some household members (see definitions below) is called an ORDER OF PROTECTION.  An Order of Protection is a court order that prohibits a person from hurting, threatening or harassing another person.

WHERE CAN I GET AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

An Order of Protection is issued by a District Court.  You can find the location of all District Courts in New Mexico here: State Courts Map 

HOW DO I GET AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

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  1. Find the District Court in the county where:
    • the abuse occurred OR
    • where you currently live.
  2. You can file a Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse by:
    • Filing the paperwork at the court on your own (without hiring an attorney).
    • Hiring an attorney to help you file the paperwork for you.
    • Locating a local domestic violence program or legal services program and for help in filing the paperwork.

New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence

NM Legal Aid 

State Bar of New Mexico

 

 

WHERE CAN I FIND A PETITION TO FILE FOR AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

You can find the Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse here.

 

You will need to print out the Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse, fill it out, and bring it in person to the District Court.  The District Courts are unable to accept this form electronically or by fax.  You will also need to print out the Service of Process Information for Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse, fill it out, and bring it in person to the District Court.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO FILE FOR AN ORDER OF PROTECTION?

Nothing. There is no cost or fees to file for an Order of Protection. The local sheriff’s office will also serve the other party for free.  (NMSA 1978 Section 40-13-3.1 , Compilation Commission Site)

IMPORTANT COURT INFORMATION

If you are planning on filing the Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse on your own, please look up the specific district court HERE.

  • Hours of operation.  Many courts are closed during the lunch hour, or stop taking paperwork before the court closes so it can be processed before 5 pm that day.
  • Court address to make sure you go to the right court.  Many towns have a district court, a magistrate court and a municipal court.  Only the District Court has the Order of Protection forms available and is also the only court where you can file for an Order of Protection.
  • Whether the court has a self-help center where court staff may be able to provide you with some basic information, such as the correct legal forms.  Self-help center staff is not able to give you legal advice.

WHO IS THE PETITIONER AND WHO IS THE RESPONDENT?

The individual seeking protection is called a “Petitioner”.  The abuser is called a “Respondent”. The Petitioner files a legal document, Petition for Order of Protection from Domestic Abuse, asking the court to restrain or prohibit the Respondent from certain types of behaviors

WHO IS CONSIDERED A HOUSEHOLD MEMBER?

In New Mexico, the following types of relationships are considered “household members”:

  • the other party is your spouse or former spouse;
  • the other party is your parent, present or former stepparent or  present or former parent-in-law;
  • the other party is your grandparent or grandparent-in-law;
  • the other party is your child, stepchild or grandchild ;
  • you and the other party have a child together (regardless of whether you have been married or have lived together at any time);
  • you and the other party have dated or had an intimate relationship (continuing personal relationship);
  • the other party has sexually assaulted you; or
  • the other party has stalked you.
  • Parties in a same sex relationship are also considered “household members”.
  • You and the other party do not have to live together to be considered a household member.
  • Just because someone lives with you (like a roommate) does not mean they are a “household member” under New Mexico law.  Only individuals that have an intimate or close family relationship (see above) to each other are considered a “household member” in New Mexico.

EXAMPLES OF RELATIONSHIPS THAT DO NOT FIT THE LEGAL DEFINITION OF A HOUSEHOLD MEMBER:

  • brother/sister
  • aunt/uncle
  • cousins
  • relatives of your boyfriend/girlfriend
  • relatives of your child’s family, if you’ve never been married
  • niece/nephew
  • other in-laws, such as brother-in-law or sister-in-law

RAPE AND STALKING VICTIMS

Any victim of sexual assault or stalking can file for an Order of Protection, regardless of the relationship with the other person.  For example, if you know the person who sexually assaulted you or who is stalking you (neighbor, classmate, co-worker or friend) but you have never had anything more than a casual relationship, the law in New Mexico allows you to file for an Order of Protection against this person.

Stalking is a pattern of conduct that places an individual in reasonable fear of:

  • death,
  • bodily harm,
  • sexual assault,
  • confinement or
  • restraint.

A “pattern of conduct” is two or more acts that happen on more than one occasion.

NMSA 1978 Section 30-3A-3 (NM Compilation Commission Site)

Stalking is more than someone following you, calling or texting you, annoying you, or bothering you.  Stalking is a two or more incidents, on at least two different dates that made you afraid of being hurt, killed or held against your will.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC ABUSE?

Family Violence Protection Act (Chapter 40, Article 13 NMSA 1978, NM Compilation Commission Site)

New Mexico defines domestic abuse as an incident by a household member against another household member consisting of or resulting in:

  • physical harm;
  • severe emotional distress;
  • bodily injury or assault;      
  • a threat causing imminent fear of bodily injury by any household member;
  • criminal trespass;
  • criminal damage to property;
  • repeatedly driving by a residence or work place;
  • telephone harassment;
  • harassment; or
  • harm or threatened harm to children.

WHAT IS HARRASSMENT?

NMA 1978, Section 30-3A-2 (Compilation Commission Site) (LINK BROKEN ON PROD SITE TOO)

Harassment is knowingly pursuing a pattern of conduct that is intended to:

  • annoy,
  • seriously alarm, or
  • terrorize another person

and that serves no lawful purpose.

The conduct must be such that it would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

I’M AFRAID TO GIVE MY HOME ADDRESS. DO I HAVE TO INCLUDE IT IN THE COURT PAPERWORK?

No.  If you feel that giving your home address will put you or anyone you live with in danger, you do not have to give your home address but you will need to fill out a request for the court to seal your address (Supreme Court Form 4-961B). Sealing your address on the court paperwork means your address will not be provided to anyone, except for the judge and court staff.  You must give the court a valid mailing address so the court can send you any documents the respondent files in the case and notice of any upcoming court hearings.

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