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Legal Information: Federal

Domestic Violence in the Military

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Laws current as of October 9, 2019

Do I need both an MPO and a civil protective order?

It may be a good idea to try to get both a military protective order (MPO) and a civil protection order (CPO) so that you are protected as much as possible. Many military families live off of the installation. Even those who do live on the installation will frequently leave it to shop, attend school, work, visit friends, or go to restaurants. Given the limitations on MPO enforcement off the installation, and the fact that the MPO cannot limit the purchase of a firearm by the service member, it may be best to consider seeking a civil protection order (CPO) as well as an MPO.

If you already have a CPO, you can still ask for an MPO and vice versa. The terms of an MPO cannot go against (contradict) the terms of a CPO. In fact, an MPO could possibly place more restrictions on the abuser than a CPO. Also, an MPO could apply to the service member even while s/he is overseas, unlike a CPO.1

Victim advocates in the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) and in a local civilian domestic violence agency can both be helpful in explaining the process for applying for a CPO in your area. You can also talk to a lawyer off the installation to see if you are eligible for a CPO and to possibly get representation in the court hearing. For legal referrals, go to our Finding a Lawyer page and enter your state into the drop-down menu. For information on how to prepare for a CPO hearing, go to our At the Hearing page.

1 Department of Defense Instruction, Number 6400.06, Incorporating Change 4, May 26, 2017