If you’re in a situation where you fear for your safety due to the actions or threats of another person, the law does provide you with options to protect yourself. Sometimes referred to as a restraining order, an emergency order of protection is used to prevent harm by directing the offender to avoid contact with you. You should consult with a Virginia domestic violence lawyer about your situation, but some general information may be useful.
How an Emergency Protective Order Safeguards Against Harm
An emergency restraining order can include terms to protect you by:
- Requiring that the offender refrain from any contact with you, whether in person, online, or over the phone
- Ordering the abuser to not interfere with you at home, work, or other places you indicate
- Mandating that the offender leave the residence that you share, even where that residence is owned by the abuser or leased in that person’s name
- Granting you custody of minor children
- Requiring the offender to pay child and spousal support
- Ordering the abuser to pay for costs related to the abuse, including medical treatment, moving expenses, and loss of earnings if you were unable to work
- Any other provisions the court believes are necessary to protect you
The order of protection may also include the names of people in your family, to safeguard against the abuser using violence, force, or threats towards them.
Obtaining an Order of Protection
Getting an order of protection is a court proceeding that you initiate by filing a petition in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Division of your local court. Each county court has its own rules for the petition but they generally require you to state the facts regarding the abuse or threats. You’ll also state a request for a remedy, which will typically be:
- An Emergency Order of Protection, which lasts three days;
- A Preliminary Protective Order, which expires in 15 days or until a full hearing on the matter; or
- A Final Protective Order that will protect you for up to two years.
Trust a Virginia Domestic Violence Attorney
When someone uses violence, force, or threats that put you in fear for your safety, you can obtain an emergency order of protection to legally safeguard you from harm. However, the proceedings are complicated unless you have an attorney to assist you with the process. The lawyers at Shannon & Associates, P.C. have extensive experience helping clients with domestic violence situations and will fight to ensure your safety. Please call our office at (757) 228-5529 or contact us online to discuss your situation.