Unfortunately, domestic violence is a real issue in this country. According to reported statistics, one in four women and one in nine men in the U.S. have suffered some type of physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner. These types of behavior often lead to injuries, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), sexual diseases, and other negative impacts for victims. Because of this problem, states such as Virginia have established laws to protect both adults and children from domestic violence attacks.
One aspect of these laws includes protective orders, also known as restraining orders, that can be obtained through family courts to protect the safety of anyone who has suffered violent actions or threats of such action from an intimate partner or household member. In order to go into effect, these orders must be issued by a judge or magistrate. These protective orders have been established under the Code of Virginia, Title 19.2 – 152.10.
Virginia’s Protective Orders
Virginia has three different types of protective orders which include:
- Emergency orders that expire in three days after they are issued or on the next day that the court convenes, whichever occurs later. This type of order is often requested by a police officer when he or she believes that you are in danger of further abuse or when an arrest for abuse has been made.
- Preliminary orders that stay in effect for 15 days or until a full hearing is conducted by the court. These are issued after a judge hears your sworn testimony that violence or threats of violence have occurred. It is not necessary to have an Emergency order already in place to obtain a Preliminary order.
- Permanent orders that can remain in effect for up to two years. These orders can only be issued after a judge has conducted a final hearing which you must attend. They can also be extended another two years when the court deems it is necessary to keep you protected. There is no limit to how many times such an order can be extended.
You must file court forms to obtain a protective order for which there is no cost to you.
What Does a Protective Order Do?
Protective orders restrict what an abuser can do to you as the victim. These restrictions may include:
- Prohibiting any further contact of you by the abuser, whether in person, by phone, text, email, or even through third parties.
- Prohibiting the abuser from engaging in any kind of domestic violence actions, threats of action, or stalking; this includes acts that would harm either you, your children, pets, or property.
- Giving you temporary possession of the family home and other household members.
- Ordering your abuser to maintain the home’s utilities.
- Giving you temporary possession of a family car.
- Ordering the abuser to provide alternative housing for household members.
- Order the abuser to provide any other necessary relief for you and other household members.
- Any other conditions or restrictions that the judge sees fit.
In cases of family abuse, judges may also order the abuser to complete a program of counseling or treatment and may provide for some type of temporary custody/visitation of any minor children where appropriate.
Violations of a protective order should be reported to law enforcement; they are considered crimes under Virginia law.
Call Malinowski Hubbard, PLLC for Legal Help
If you have been subject to domestic violence, it is important that you seek help to ensure your safety. Virginia has state hotlines available to assist you in this matter. Our firm as well can help you escape family abuse and advise you of your legal options. We practice divorce and family law exclusively which means our attorneys are highly knowledgeable in all matters pertaining to this field and how the local courts handle them.
Contact our offices at (703) 935-4222 to arrange to speak with one of our attorneys in Fairfax today.