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Obtaining a protective order in Virginia

If a person is in fear of suffering physical or sexual abuse, that person may get a restraining order. A restraining order may prevent an individual from contacting the person who asks for the order and the petitioner's family. In the event that an abuse victim shares a home with his or her alleged abuser, the person named in the order must leave the residence if it is granted.

In Virginia, there are three different types of restraining orders. The first is an emergency protective order, which lasts for three days or until the next day that the court is in session. A preliminary protective order will last until a hearing can be held or for 15 days. A final protective order can last up to two years from the time that it is issued.

After a restraining order has been granted, the abuser maybe ordered to pay child support or household bills. In addition, that person may have to pay child support even if he or she has lost custody of the children due to the abuse. In some cases, the abuser may have to pay for any medical bills that were incurred due to the alleged abuse. The order may also require the abuser to get professional counseling or attend support group meetings.

It is generally considered not to be in the child's best interest to live with or have contact with an abusive parent. Therefore, that child may be placed into the sole custody of the other parent temporarily or permanently. An attorney may be able to help victims of domestic violence obtain protective orders that offer solace to an abused parent and his or her children.

Source: Findlaw, "Virginia Protective Orders", September 03, 2014

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