The national statistics on domestic violence are staggering.
- One in three U.S. women has suffered physical violence by an intimate partner
- Annually, more than 10 million women and men in the U.S. suffer physical abuse
- Daily, U.S. domestic violence hotline operators field nearly 21,000 calls
Domestic violence plays out in many forms including physical and sexual assault, intimidation and harassment and verbal and emotional abuse. Despite what some may believe, no one is immune to suffering harm at the hands of a spouse or intimate partner and individuals of every age, socio economic status, race and religion can be targets.
If you are currently in a marriage that is plagued by domestic violence, it’s important to get help and to make sure that you and your children are safe. An attorney who specializes in family law and divorce matters can assist in both filing for divorce and obtaining a protective order.
Protective Orders In Virginia
If your spouse has physically or sexually abused you or threatened to cause you harm, it’s important to take action and file to obtain a protective order. Depending on your situation, protective orders can be issued for time periods spanning from three days to 24 months.
If you wish to obtain a permanent protective order, which is valid for 24 months, you must present evidence to support the need for the order before a judge at a full hearing. It’s important to know that your spouse or ex-spouse may also attend and present evidence at this hearing in an attempt to refute your claims.
If a permanent protective order is issued, your spouse will be served a copy of the order and he or she must abide by the order’s terms and restrictions. For example, a protective order will likely contain language related to the distance from which your spouse must stay away from you and your residence and place of employment. Additionally, a protective order may also contain a no contact provision which bars your spouse from communicating with you in any way as well as restrictions related to your children.
How Can An Attorney Help?
No one should have to live with the fear of being physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally abused. If you wish to leave an abusive spouse and file for divorce, it’s important to seek help from a family law attorney who has experience in dealing with these types of highly sensitive issues.
An attorney can take action to obtain an emergency protective order as well as represent you in court during a full hearing to obtain a permanent protective order. Additionally, if you have children, an attorney will represent you and your children’s best interests before a judge during a custody hearing.