Domestic Abuse & Orders For Protection

Domestic Abuse

Minnesota has enacted significant laws and procedures in an effort to both help victims of domestic violence, and to protect victims or potential victims from any further acts of domestic abuse or violence. Under Minnesota law, "domestic abuse" is defined as:

  • Physical harm, bodily injury or assault;
  • Infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault;
  • Terroristic threats;
  • Interference with a 911 call; or
  • Criminal sexual misconduct.


To qualify as “domestic” abuse, the acts must have been committed against a family, or household, member. The law defines a “family or household member” as a:

  • Spouse;
  • Former spouse;
  • Parent;
  • Children;
  • Persons related by blood;
  • Persons residing together;
  • Persons who have resided together in the past;
  • Persons who have a child in common;
  • Persons expecting a child together; or
  • Persons involved in a romantic or sexual relationship.



If an individual has committed an act of domestic abuse upon another, the abused party can seek relief under the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Act in the form of an Order for Protection (or “OFP”).


Every court administrator in every county in Minnesota maintains an office where victims of domestic abuse are able to file a petition seeking an Order for Protection. It is the only legal proceeding where court staff will actually assist a person in filling our their legal paperwork. Also, the filing fee required to file the proceeding is usually waived. There also are statewide advocacy agencies which will assist victims of abuse by providing them with guidance and an “advocate” who will even attend the hearing on behalf of a victim of abuse.

The legal relief available to victims of domestic abuse includes:

  • Restraining the other party from committing further acts of domestic abuse;
  • Preventing the abusing party from being present at the victim’s residence or place of employment (or a reasonable area surrounding their home or workplace);
  • An award of temporary physical or legal custody of the minor children, or pets, of the parties;
  • An award of temporary child support or, if married, spousal maintenance;
  • Temporary possession of the residence of the parties;
  • An order that the abusing party participate in counseling or other therapy designed to address anger, parenting, or domestic abuse issues.

Under the Minnesota Domestic Abuse  Act, the Court can enter an Order for Protection that is valid for up to two years. An OFP can be reviewed and extended, if the Court deems it appropriate.

If you are in immediate danger, call 911 or the Minnesota Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-866-223-1111, or the National Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.