If you are in an abusive relationship or situation in Minnesota, you may have the option of filing for a restraining order. Also known as an order of protection, this legal order can help you to get distance from your abuser. However, there are many things about a restraining order that people commonly misunderstand.

The Minnesota Courts provides extensive information about orders of protection to help you understand them better. Here are three things to know upfront.

  1. You can file online

The court offers online forms and an online system that will allow you to file for a protective order without having to go to the court. This can make things easier if you want to do it as soon as possible. All the instructions and assistance are available online to help you complete and file the forms.

  1. It must be against a family or household member

You may only file the order against someone who is family or a member of your household. This includes anyone you live with or have lived with, blood relatives, someone with whom you have a child or someone you are or were in a romantic relationship with.

  1. You can keep your information confidential

The nature of a restraining order means that care has to be taken to protect you in any way possible. So, the court will omit your personal information, such as your current address, from public files if you simply omit from the petition form. You will need to provide it to the court through another form, which will not become public.

Sometimes a situation becomes very bad and you need to protect yourself any way possible. An order of protection can be a good way to get things started on protecting yourself from an abuser.