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Civil protection filing now available online

Coronavirus

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Madison County Courthouse. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

IDAHO FALLS — If you need a civil protection order, you don’t need to go to the courthouse.

As part of limiting the need to visit county courthouses in the era of COVID-19, civil protection order applications can now be filed online via the Guide and File Tool.

Idaho Courts Administrative Director Sara Thomas said the Idaho court system had been working on creating an online filing option for civil protection orders before COVID-19.

“We had already actually put this in place in a couple of counties to pilot it, to test it out. But we accelerated it in light of COVID-19 to make sure that it was statewide,” Thomas said.

When you use the Guide and File Tool, you will be asked a series of questions. According to a news release from the Idaho courts system, the online questionnaire will help streamline the civil protection order filing process.

Thomas said it works similarly to an online tax filing program like TurboTax.

“As you answer the questions, it will help you populate the legal form that you need to file. Then, once it populates that form, you can file it online right from that system,” she said.

Once it’s filed, Thomas said a magistrate judge is typically able to issue a 14-day protection order within 24 hours.

“You can get that without the other party being present for a hearing,” Thomas said.

However, Idaho Legal Aid Services notes on its webpage that the civil protection order does not go into effect until it has been served to the person the order is against.

Once it has been served, if the person violates the order they will be criminally prosecuted.

“It’s a temporary measure to protect people. The other party has the opportunity to come in at that next hearing — usually the 14-day hearing — to come in and dispute it,” Thomas said.

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