Domestic Violence Protective Orders in West Virginia
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If you are in a domestic violence situation, safety needs to be your top priority. Victims of abuse have recourse through the family court system, including the ability to get a restraining order or order of protection against their abusers. The experienced West Virginia attorneys at Klie Law Offices can help you through this process and take immediate action to support your rights. Contact us online or call (888) 592-5697 to speak with an attorney.
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence or domestic abuse is any of the following acts committed by a family member or household member:
- Physical harm, with or without a weapon
- Threatening physical harm, with or without a weapon
- Making you afraid of harm
- Harassing, stalking, or psychological abuse
- Sexual assault or abuse
- Holding or detaining against your will
You can qualify for a domestic violence protective order if you are a victim of domestic violence or if you are being threatened and harassed because you witnessed or reported an act of domestic violence. You can also file on behalf of a child or mentally incapacitated person who is unable to file.
What is a protective order?
A protective order, also known as a “restraining order,” is a court order that can require the abuser to:
- Stop abusing, harassing, stalking, threatening, intimidating, or committing other acts of domestic violence
- Refrain from contact with the victim
- Move out of a shared home
- Stay away from the victim’s school and/or workplace
- Attend an intervention program
In addition, a protective order can prevent the accused abuser from possessing a gun or ammunition. It can also address temporary child custody and spousal support to handle a disrupted living situation, as well as awarding custody of a pet if there is a concern of potential animal abuse.
Finally, a protective order empowers you to call the police if the order is violated. A person who violates a protective order can be held in contempt of court and face both civil and criminal penalties.
How long does a protective order last?
In West Virginia, most protective orders last 90 or 180 days, and the court can extend them for another 90 days if needed. If there is an aggravating factor – for instance, if the abuser has previously violated a protective order, has a previous domestic violence conviction, or has had multiple protective orders in the last five years – then the order can last one year.
How to get a domestic violence protective order
There are two types of protective orders in West Virginia. If you or your children are in immediate danger, you can ask the judge for an emergency protective order. You may have to explain to the judge why the abuser shouldn’t be notified in advance that you are requesting a protective order (i.e., the notification would put you in danger). The emergency order protects you from the time you file for the order until your full court hearing to decide on the final protective order.
The final protective order provides the same protection but for a longer time: 90 days, 180 days, or one year if there are aggravating factors. This order requires a full court hearing where the abuser will have the opportunity to respond to the petition.
When you’re in a domestic violence situation, you need to be focused on your safety and well-being. We can help navigate the legal system and help protect you from further abuse. Our West Virginia attorneys are honored to help victims of domestic violence find their path forward. Contact us today for a 100% confidential case evaluation.