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Filing a restraining order

People in Virginia who feel that another person is endangering their safety might want to file a protective or restraining order. There are three types of orders, and they have different durations. To protect himself or herself temporarily, a person can get an emergency restraining order that is good for three days or until court is back in session. A preliminary protective order lasts for 15 days or until a hearing occurs, and a final protective order may last as long as two years.

A restraining order can be obtained through the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Division of a local court. It is necessary for a person to return to court to make a temporary order into a full protective one. Laws about whom a restraining order can be filed against vary depending on the relationship between the individuals and, in some cases, whether or not they cohabited or had a child together.

A restraining order has a number of other functions besides preventing an individual from contacting another individual and their family. It can order a person to pay child support and support the person filing the order as well as require the abuser to be evaluated for substance abuse or attend programs such as AA. A restraining order may also compel the abuser to pay various costs.

A person who needs a protective order or has been served with one might want to speak to an attorney. For example, a parent might be concerned that a protective order from an ex-spouse could have an impact on child custody. Alternately, someone might obtain a temporary order but be concerned about whether a court will grant one for a longer period of time. A lawyer may be able to explain a person's rights and what steps he or she might be able to take to protect himself or herself.

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