ROADMAP: Getting a Relief from Abuse (RFA) Order in Vermont

Complete the Court Forms

Video: How to fill out the “Complaint” and “Affidavit” for Relief from Abuse

Go to descriptive transcript. Links and phone numbers in this video — Vermont Judiciary; Vermont courts after-hours answering service 1-800-540-9990; Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence 1-800-228-7395; RFA Roadmap (this page); Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid 1-800-889-2047. How to clear your browsing history.

To ask the court for a Relief from Abuse order, you need to complete four forms:

  1. The Complaint — a statement of what you want from the court
  2. The Affidavit — a statement of what has happened
  3. The Confidential Notification form, and
  4. The Protection Order Service Information form

Find the forms below. You can fill out these forms on your computer, print them out, or get a paper copy from your local family court or domestic violence program. If you want help with the paperwork, contact a confidential victim advocate or contact us at Legal Services Vermont and Vermont Legal Aid. If you fill the forms out by hand, use a pen.

FORMS

Submit the forms

After you fill out the four forms, make a copy for yourself if you think it is safe to do so. Drop the forms off at your county’s family court. If you wish, you can also file the forms online. Non-lawyers are never required to do this. During the COVID-19 emergency, people are also allowed to file documents with the court over email.

Can’t get to the courthouse?

Do you need help while courts are open but you can’t get to the courthouse? Call your county’s family court. Say you need to start a Relief from Abuse case but can’t get to court. The clerk may be able to write out the RFA forms with you over the phone. The clerk will swear you in. This is exactly like testifying in court, and you are under penalty of perjury, just as though you signed the Affidavit form in front of a notary.

Outside normal business hours?

You can start a Relief from Abuse case when the courts are closed, after hours or on a weekend or holiday. Even during these times, you may be able to get a temporary order right away to help keep you safe. Contact local police for help or call the Vermont courts’ answering service at 1-800-540-9990. Say that you need help applying for a Relief from Abuse order.

When you call the courts’ answering service, keep these things in mind:

  • Give them a safe phone number for court staff to call you back.
  • Make sure you unblock your phone to get a call back.

Don’t have a safe callback number?

  1. Let court staff know when you call.
  2. Call the answering service back from a safe place when you can and let them know you are ready to receive a call.

Safety Note

This is a good time to talk to your local domestic violence agency about safety planning and how to stay safe while you wait for the court to decide. For example: Does the defendant own firearms (guns)? Does the defendant still live with you? Will they do something dangerous when they find out you have gone to court for help?

Updated: Aug 24, 2021