Frequently Asked Questions

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A Protection Order is granted under the new statute that does not require a further hearing unless the Respondent requests a hearing within 30 days. What if there was not good service on the Respondent? For example, what if there is a return showing copy service, but the follow-up 1st class mail is returned and marked, "vacant" or "not at this address"? The mail goes to the Clerk who makes a minute entry. How does the court learn of the lack of service? What should the court do about the lack of service? Is there a valid and enforceable Protection Order in existence? Who tells the Petitioner additional action is required? What if the Petitioner does not know where the Respondent is located?

The new civil protection order statute does not change existing Indiana law on service of process.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
After a dissolution decree is entered, if a former spouse seeks a Protection Order at this stage, in what court should it be filed?

If there are no minor children, it does not matter were the Protection Order case is filed. If there are children, the petition for the Protection Order should be filed in the court with jurisdiction over the dissolution. It should still have a separate case number.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
An emergency protective order is obtained before July 1 and a full hearing is scheduled after July 1. After July 1, what forms and procedures should be used for permanent Protection Orders?

The new forms and procedures should apply to any person seeking an extension or modification of an order issued before July 1, 2002. It is unclear what should happen if the petition was filed to begin a proceeding, but no order was issued until after July 1. The committee recommends the new forms and procedures of the act be used.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Are Protective Orders entered before July 1 still effective under the new law?

Yes. House Enrolled Act 1232, Section 70, provides that a Protective Order issued before July 1, 2002 remains in effect for the period indicated in the order granting the protective order.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Can a judge grant Protection Orders against both the petitioner and the respondent in the same case, or must two separate cases be filed?

No. Mutual Protection Orders are prohibited under Ind. Code 34-26-5-14 (a). If both parties allege injury, they must do so by separate petitions with separate case numbers. See Ind. Code 34-26-5-2 (c). A court may issue only one (1) Protection Order for each petition and must do so by separate orders with specific findings. Ind. Code 34-26-5-14 (b).

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Can a juvenile get a Protection Order against a parent?

Yes. See Ind. Code 34-26-5-2 (b), which permits a child to file against a family or household member who commits an act of domestic or family violence or a person who has committed stalking or a sex offense.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Can a No Contact Order be used against a business? For example, can a condition of probation provide an offender is required to stay out of a certain store or business?

Yes. See Ind. Code 35-50-7-1 et. seq. This statute provides a court may, as a condition of probation, prohibit a person from entering the area or property where an offense was committed by the person.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Can Protection Orders for victims of stalking and sexual offenses only be obtained against family or household members?

No. Protection Orders for victims of stalking and sexual offenses can be obtained against family or household members or strangers if the stranger has committed the act of stalking or a sexual offense against the petitioner for the Protection Order.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Could a pro se litigant file a lawsuit against a clerk's office that did not provide enough clerical assistance? Or the assistance they gave was too much like legal advice and the "advice" given was wrong?

An aggrieved litigant can bring a lawsuit at any time for any reason. A clerk should check with their local legal counsel if questions arise in this area.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Do I need a alarm permit for a burglar alarm monitoring system? If so where do I get one?

A permit for a burglar alarm monitoring system is not required in Porter County.

Last Updated: January 28, 2016
Does a criminal charge and/or a conviction need to occur before a victim of stalking or sexual offense may seek a Protection Order?

No. A victim of stalking or a sex offense may file prior to criminal charges being filed. The allegations must relate to acts covered by Ind. Code 35-45-10-1 for stalking and Ind. Code 35-42-4 for a sex offense.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Does Indiana's Civil Protection Order Act cover any of the following situations after July 1, 2002?

Neighbors arguing about a fence line? No

One neighbor parks his car in front of next-door neighbor's house? No

One neighbor cuts his grass and the lawn mower throws the clippings onto the car parked in the driveway of next-door neighbor? No

Neighborhood incivility disputes are not included in the new Protection Order act. Neighborhood dispute resolution centers are already provided for under IC 34-57-3-1 et seq. but not funded at the present time.

Other legal remedies may be sought including small claims, a civil action, a criminal case or by contacting Carol Davidson of the Community Mediation Program at (219) 462-1127.

If you have a legal problem, you should consult with a lawyer. If you cannot afford an attorney, you may go to www.in.gov/judiciary/selfservice concerning legal assistance or pro se representation.

You may also contact the Caring Place Legal Services Coordinator at (219) 464-0840, extension # 103. This is a FREE service.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Does the committee have any suggestions about who is to initiate, complete or distribute No Contact Orders or Protection Orders? Should the prosecutor do this as part of a plea bargain, the court at the time of sentencing, or should the Probation Department or Clerk initiate, complete or distribute them?

An individual initiates a Protection Order. The state initiates a No Contact Order in a criminal case. A number of different parties may initiate a No Contact Order in a CHINS or Delinquency case. Indiana Code, Title 5, has dome requirements for the Clerk for the distribution of orders. See Ind. Code 5-2-9-6 (b) (2).

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Former wife and new girlfriend cannot get along. New wife and former wife or new girlfriend and former girlfriend cannot get along. Can either one get a Protection Order against the other? Do either one fall into the definition of "family or household member" under Ind. Code § 34-6-2-44.8?

Generally the new wife and former wife or new girlfriend and former girlfriend cannot get a Protection Order against the other unless they otherwise fit under some portion of the definition of family or domestic member.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
How do I make/file a police report?

If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911. If not, and if you live within county limits, call (219) 477-3000. Advise the dispatcher that you wish to file a police report. After the dispatcher obtains the necessary information, a police officer will then be dispatched to your location. If you choose, you can also file the report at the sheriff's department, located at 2755 State Road 49, Valparaiso. Either way, you can file a report twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week.

Last Updated: August 24, 2015
How do I obtain a Background Check?

The information listed on PCSP’s record checks only includes verified arrest and booking information occurring in Porter County, IN and should not be relied upon to determine an individual’s actual criminal record. This data will not reflect charging decisions made by the court system or the outcome of any criminal trials. An acquittal or dismissal of a criminal charge does not necessarily negate the validity of the arrest. To obtain the final disposition of any criminal charges, contact the Porter County Clerks Office.  You may also contact the arresting agency to inquire what information would be public record.  Odyssey System also provides a broader spectrum but usually only provides more recent information.  Record Checks are $7.00 and are cash only.
 
Odyssey Website
Indiana State Police Website
Indiana State Police: 800-552-8917 (inside Indiana)
Indiana State Police: 317-232-8286 (outside Indiana)
 
Beverly Shores Police: 219-879-8800
Burns Harbor Police: 219-787-9412
Chesterton Police: 219-926-1136
Hebron Police: 219-996-2747
Kouts Police: 219-766-2332
Lake County Sheriff: 219-755-3333
LaPorte County Sheriff: 800-548-5374
Ogden Dunes Police: 219-762-3000
Portage Police: 219-762-3122
Porter Police: 219-926-7611
Valparaiso Police: 219-462-2135
Valpo University Police: 219-465-5430
Porter County Clerk’s Office: 219-465-3400

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
How do I obtain a copy of a police or accident report?

You can obtain a copy of a police report by coming directly to the sheriff's department, located at 2755 State Road 49, Valparaiso.

Our records department is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
To speed up the process of obtaining a police report, please provide at least two of the following identifiers:

  • Name of subjects involved
  • Date and time of incident
  • Location of incident
  • Type of incident

PLEASE NOTE REGARDING ACCIDENT REPORTS: Accident reports are not always available until three working days after a report is filed. Accident reports cost Five dollars ($5) cash or money order.

PLEASE NOTE REGARDING REPORT REQUESTS VIA MAIL: Your request must have two of the identifiers as noted above. If you are requesting an accident report, please enclose a check for Five dollars ($5) made payable to "Porter County" and a return address.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
How do I obtain a Snowmobile Sticker?

The Porter Co. Sheriff’s Dept. wants to remind the public that snowmobiles which operate on the traveled portion of public highways in Porter Co. must be registered with the Porter County Sheriff’s Police.

To register your snowmobile, come to the Sheriff’s Dept. Monday through Friday from 8 am – 3:45 pm (except holidays). Please bring:

  • State snowmobile registration card
  • Evidence of existence of an in-force policy of insurance covering personal property damage in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000.00) and personal liability in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00)

A new weather resistant registration sticker will be provided and must be attached to the vehicle. There is no charge for the sticker. The penalty for failure to properly register your vehicle is a $50.00 citation.

For the complete county code for snowmobiles, Click Here.

For information on obtaining a state snowmobile registration, Click Here.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
How do I obtain a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) check for my vehicle or a Hull Identification Number (HIN) check for my boat?

The most common reasons the BMV requires a identification number check on you vehicle include:

  1. You purchased a vehicle with an out-of-state title
  2. You moved to Indiana from out of state
  3. You purchased a trailer without a VIN number
  4. You built a new trailer
  5. You have an error on your title

VIN/HIN checks are by appointment only and can be scheduled by calling (219) 477-3000. Normal VIN/HIN check hours are Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM, holidays excluded if coming to station.

You must have the proper paperwork for the vehicle, including the title.
There is a five dollar ($5) CASH ONLY fee for a VIN/HIN check, which the officer will collect at the time he or she completes the inspection. A receipt will be issued.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
How do the new Protection Order provisions in dissolution and paternity cases interact with T.R. 65? If the new law is the only basis for a Protection Order, and the sections of Title 31 that provided for restraining orders were repealed, isn't the new law now in conflict with T.R. 65? Which law governs?

An amendment is pending for Trial Rule 65 to address this concern.

Last Updated: September 09, 2015
How much assistance may a clerk offer a litigant under the new Protection Order Act without running afoul of the prohibition against unauthorized practice of law?

Indiana's Protection Order statutes provide a clerk shall provide, in addition to forms, "…clerical assistance in reading or completing the forms and filing the petition. Clerical assistance provided by the clerk or court personnel under this section does not constitute the unauthorized practice of law" I.C. 34-26-5-3 (d). An excellent resource for identifying what is and what is not legal advise is Indiana's Pro Se Assistance Project.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
If a dissolution or paternity petition is filed, and a petition for a Protection Order is filed, must 2 petitions and 2 separate orders be issued?

Two separate petitions must be filed, and two separate orders must be issued, one for either the dissolution or paternity case and one for the Protection Order action.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
If a Protection Order is issued with child support covered, who enforces it? Does it become a IV-D issue if the Respondent doesn't pay?

It is unknown who will enforce child support unpaid in a Protection Order. This issue should be covered by the pending or about to filed paternity or dissolution case.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
If a Protection Order is issued with visitation, custody, and child support covered in the order, can those findings be used in lieu of a preliminary hearing in a dissolution case?

This decision should be left to the discretion of the trial court.

Last Updated: September 09, 2015
If a restraining order is received under T.R. 65 in a dissolution case, should it be "transferred" to a Protection Order?

No. When a restraining order is issued in a dissolution case, it keeps its character as a restraining order. It may contain elements protecting one person from "harassment" but it should remain as a restraining order. There is nothing in T.R. 65 to prevent a litigant from having a restraining order and Protection Order in the same case. However, only a Protection Order will be eligible for entry on any state or national Protection Order registries. It will only be a crime to violate a Protection Order; a Trial Rule 65 restraining order will be enforced by civil contempt proceedings.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
If a violation of a Protection Order occurs, should civil contempt be filed or a criminal charge of invasion of privacy be filed?

The protective order committee believes the violation of a Protection Order is a very serious criminal matter. Information about a violation of a Protection Order should be given to the prosecutor for filing of a criminal invasion of privacy charge.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
If an attorney enters an appearance for a respondent in a Protection Order case, how can the petitioner be served?

Petitioner must give a public mailing address under the new law.

Last Updated: September 09, 2015
If two parties are beginning a dissolution action, can a party file a petition for a Protection Order and a temporary restraining order to protect the assets of both parties?

An attorney will file a dissolution petition, a petition for a Protection Order, and a temporary restraining order to prevent a party from disturbing assets.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
If two parties are beginning a dissolution and one party needs a Protection Order, must two petitions be filed—one for the dissolution and one for the Protection Order?

Yes. Two petitions must be filed in this instance, one for the dissolution and one for the Protection Order. The petition for the Order of Protection must be in the format prescribed by the Division of State Court Administration and can be found at the Protection Order website. All the forms and procedures for Protection Orders must be the same ones as indicated in Ind. Code § 34-26-5. Both petitions should be filed in the same court.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
In some counties, there is a practice of requiring a police report to permit the filing of a Protection Order petition. Is this permitted under the new law?

No.

Last Updated: September 09, 2015
Ind. Code § 35-33-1-1.5 (section 60 of act) indicates the duties of a law enforcement officer when responding to a "run" for domestic violence. It includes ensuring safety, notifying the alleged victim of his/her rights under IC 35-40 and confiscating firearms, ammunition and deadly weapons. Are they required to be trained in this area?

Indiana law has provided since 1991 that law enforcement officers must have training on domestic violence. It will be the responsibility of law enforcement departments to develop "notification cards" for victim rights. This is similar to procedures in other states.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Is it necessary to use the juvenile's initials, rather than the child's name, in a caption when using No Contact Orders in CHINS and Delinquency cases?

Juvenile proceedings are confidential in nature. No Contact Orders in CHINS and Delinquency cases should be handled the same as under prior law.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Is it permitted under the Protection Order statute for a sheriff or law enforcement officer to charge a service of process fee when serving a respondent?

No. See Ind. Code 34-26-5-16.

Last Updated: September 09, 2015
Is it possible for a judge to assess the Respondent a civil filing fee as a cost under the new Protection Order act?

Yes. See IC 35-26-5-16.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Is there any conflict with a Respondent being bound by a No Contact Order in a criminal case and a Protection Order sought by the victim/petitioner for the additional relief afforded in a Protection Order?

There is no conflict.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Many of the old Temporary Protective Order petitioners were "no shows" at the permanent protective order hearing and those temporary Protection Orders were dissolved. Now, those Protection Orders not requiring further hearing will not get dissolved. Won't many more Protection Orders remain in effect when the Petitioner has no continued interest and/or need for the Protection Order?

Yes. More Protection Orders may remain in effect than under the prior statute. To receive a Protection Order, there must be findings that domestic or family violence has occurred sufficient to justify the issuance of the order, meaning the respondent represented a credible threat to the safety of a petitioner or a member of the petitioner's household. See Ind. Code 34-26-5-9. These orders will remain in effect for two years. Because of the serious nature of the orders issued under the new statute, the committee believes they should remain in effect.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Protection Orders are now effective two (2) years unless otherwise ordered by the judge. Will the retention schedule concerning Protection Order cases be amended to reflect this change?

Yes. Administrative Rule 91-1.1-61 will be changed to reflect the new time frame Protection Orders can remain in effect.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
Should the Notice to the State Police Re: Firearms be used with a No Contact Order or only with an "Order of Protection"?

Only the Protection Order statute requires notice to the Indiana State Police. However, when you complete Section II (Brady questions) of the Confidential Form, you are providing the Indiana State Police with the same information.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
Some courts charge a filing fee to the petitioner if the petitioner requests the dismissal of a Protection Order. Is this permitted under the new law?

No. Indiana's Protection Order Act does not permit the assessment of a fee against the petitioner if a petitioner requests dismissal of a Protection Order.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
The prior Protective Order procedure referred to a six-month time period within which the act complained of in the petition had to have occurred. Is there a similar time period in the new statute?

No. Ind. Code 34-26-5-13 provides the court may not deny a petition relief solely because of a lapse of time between an act of domestic or family violence and the filing of a petition. A perpetrator of domestic or family violence may pose a risk of violence long after the last act or episode of violence. This may occur when the intimate partner is incarcerated for a period of years before release.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
To write to an inmate how do I address the letter? I am not quiet sure what the necessities are to be sure my letter makes it to the inmate I am writing. Thank you.

 All incoming mail must have a return name and full return address.

Mail without either will be refused and forwarded to the dead mail department in St. Paul, MN.

Mail must be addressed to the inmate's full name or will be returned to sender.

Letters may contain the following items:
One plain store bought greeting card no larger than 5"x8" without
glitter, ribbons, or glued on items/decorations, no more than ten pages of handwritten/typed correspondence on plain/lined white paper without staples, photocopied newspaper clippings, two photographs no larger than 4"x6", and authorized money(cash/money order).

No postage stamps, blank paper, or blank envelopes are allowed.
Letters saturated with cologne/perfume will be refused.

Last Updated: January 05, 2016
What "types of relationships" fall under the definition family or household member?

Ind. Code 34-6-2-44.8 defines family or household member to include:

  1. A person who is a current or former spouse
  2. A person who is dating or has dated
  3. A person who is engaged or was engaged in a sexual relationship
  4. A person who is related by blood or adoption
  5. A person who is related was related by marriage
  6. A person who has an established legal relationship or previously established a legal relationship:
    • As a guardian
    • As a ward
    • As a custodian
    • As a foster parent
    • In a capacity similar to those listed above
  7. A person who has a child in common
  8. A minor child of a person in a relationship described in subdivisions (1) through (7) 
Last Updated: May 28, 2015
What are the elements of the crime of stalking? What circumstances constitute stalking?

A person who has been a victim of stalking may file a petition for a Protection Order against a person who has committed an act of stalking under Ind. Code 35-45-10. See also Ind. Code 34-26-5-2. If you have been the victim of a crime, you should contact law enforcement and the prosecutor's office immediately.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
What circumstances will automatically require the need for a hearing?

See above: "When will it be necessary to set a hearing date after the issuance of an Ex Parte Protection Order?"

Last Updated: July 21, 2015
What if a neighbor gets an emergency protective order before July 1 with a full hearing scheduled after July 1, but the new law does not permit a relief for this type of dispute? Can relief be granted based on the law in effect when the emergency order was entered?

It is unclear under present law.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
What is the difference between domestic and family violence Protection Orders and No Contact Orders under the new law?

A No Contact Order may only be issued in a CHINS, Delinquency or criminal case. No Contact Orders are not limited to family or household violence, stalking or sex offenses as are Protection Orders.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
What is the function of the Defendant's Statement on the No Contact Orders? Who is responsible for getting the Defendant's signature? The court? The Sheriff when it is served?

The Defendant is always present in the criminal proceeding. The judge should have the defendant sign the order and give the defendant a copy of it. The defendant is served in open court. The same procedure should be used in juvenile cases.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
When a corporation seeks a workplace violence restraining order (WVRO), what rules should govern the corporation's representation in court?

The rules that govern the corporation's representation before a particular court should apply. For example, if a corporation seeks a WVRO in a small claims court, then the small claims rules for representation by corporations should apply.

Last Updated: June 15, 2015
When a dissolution or paternity action is pending and there is a need for an Order of Protection, will a Protection Order case get a new case number if either party in the dissolution or paternity action files it?

This was the most frequently asked question by attorneys, judges, and clerks. The committee believes a new case number should be issued for the Protection Order for the following reasons:

  • Protection Order cases now focus solely on protecting victims of domestic or family violence, sexual abuse or stalking.
  • There are different evidentiary and confidentiality issues associated with Protection Orders than a domestic relations or paternity case.
  • The orders in a separate Protection Order case will follow a different path than those for the dissolution or paternity action.
  • In order to get a true count the volume of Protection Order cases in Indiana, a new case number should be obtained for a Protection Order case filed by either party in a dissolution or paternity action.

Clerk's offices and courts should note the Protection Order case in the file or case management system that includes the dissolution or paternity action. The committee understands this recommendation may cause concerns in courts that routinely handle dissolution or paternity cases but not Protection Order cases. However, the committee understands the intent of the new statute is to emphasize the seriousness of Protection Orders by keeping them separate from all other actions.

The Protection Order statutes refer to a proceedings being filed "in a pending case" where the dissolution case is pending. The committee believes this means a new case number should be generated when a petition for a Protection Order is filed. The petition for an Order of Protection should be filed in the court in which the paternity of dissolution case is pending.

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
When will it be necessary to set a hearing date after the issuance of an Ex Parte Protection Order?

It depends on the relief requested by the petitioner and ordered by the court. A complete discussion of this topic is contained in the instructions for the Petition for a Protection Order

Last Updated: June 15, 2015