If you or a family member are the victims of physical or sexual abuse, you may feel all alone and like there is no way out of your situation. However, you do not have to remain in this dangerous situation. You can take steps to stop the abuse and protect yourself.
In Virginia, you may be able to obtain one of three types of protective orders that would prohibit your spouse or household member from abusing you. In some cases, a judge may sign a protective order immediately without any prior hearing. If you or a loved one are the victims of abuse, we urge you to contact an experienced family law attorney immediately to obtain legal assistance to protect yourself from the abuser.
Three Types of Protective Orders in Virginia
Protective orders can help members of the family household—including children—who are victims of family abuse. Family abuse occurs when a family or household member commits an act of violence, makes threats, or uses force that causes a family or household member to suffer physical injuries or fear of death, physical abuse, sexual abuse, or injury. To obtain an emergency order, the person requesting it would need to show a greater level of harm than one that is granted after a hearing. The three types of protective orders in Virginia include:
- Emergency protective order. An emergency order can be signed by a judge any day of the week at any time, even if the court is closed. These orders are issued without any hearing and expire after three days. The person requesting this order must show evidence of family abuse against a family or household member.
- Preliminary protective order. To obtain this hearing, a person would need to show that recent abuse has occurred or that they face “immediate and present danger” of family abuse. These orders are effective for 15 days or until a hearing is held.
- Full protective order. A full protective order will not be signed by the judge until after a hearing and can be in effect for two years. The person requesting it must show that a family or household member suffered family abuse.
These orders will give a victim of abuse different levels of protection. Under all three orders, the judge can order the following:
- Prohibit future acts of family abuse
- Prohibit the accused abuser from having any contact with family or household members to keep these people safe
- Prohibit the accused abuser from living in the household residence
A preliminary and full protective order can give the victim greater protections because the spouse or other household member was given an opportunity to be heard at a hearing. These orders can prohibit the following:
- Stop the accused from terminating utility service to the household residence
- Require the accused to provide alternative housing for the victim and other family or household members
- Give the victim temporary exclusive possession and use of a motor vehicle
Contact Our Office Immediately If You Are the Victim of Abuse
If you or a loved one are the victims of household abuse, you need to take steps right away to protect yourself from the person abusing you. Our experienced family law attorneys are here to provide immediate advice and help. Call our office right now to schedule your free consultation. Be certain to advise us that you need an immediate appointment.