domestic violenceNo one should have to be a victim of domestic violence.  Virginia law refers to domestic violence as “family abuse,” which is an act of violence, assault, force, or threat of violence by a household or family member.  Family abuse can include stalking, forceful trapping or detention, sexual assault, or any act that puts you in reasonable fear of potential bodily harm or assault to you or your children.  Virginia law provides certain protections to victims of family abuse by the means of a protective order.  If you have experienced any type of family abuse, you should contact an experienced Virginia family law attorney as soon as possible to help you secure a protective order for you and your family.

“Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence should never hesitate to involve the courts”

–        Sean Smallwood, ESQ., attorney at The Law Offices of Sean Smallwood, P.A.

Functions of protective orders

There are three types of protective orders in Virginia and each serves specific purposes.  These three are as follows:

  • Emergency protective order:  This order can be secured on holidays or weekends by a judge or magistrate if you are in immediate danger.  It serves to prohibit any acts of family abuse against you, prohibit any contact between the abuser and you or your family, and remove the abuser from a home if you share one.
  • Preliminary protective order:  This type of order provides all the same protections as an emergency order, plus prohibits an abuser from turning off utilities at a shared home or requires the abuser to provide you with suitable alternative housing, gives you possession of a shared vehicle, and may grant you anything else deemed necessary for your protection.
  • Permanent protective order:  This type of order is granted after a full court hearing and may last up to two years.  This type of order provides all of the above protections plus may order the abuser to seek counseling or treatment, may grant you temporary custody of children with child support, and anything else the court deems necessary for your situation.

Virginia law takes family abuse very seriously and the specific protections you receive will depend on the facts of your particular case.  If you have been a victim of family abuse, do not wait to call the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger for help securing a protective order.

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