Some couples may not be able to handle disputes in a healthy way. One partner may use threats or physical force to get their way against the other partner. This is domestic violence, or violence carried out against an intimate partner.
The person who wants to request an order has to have experienced a threat that places them in reasonable fear of bodily injury, sexual assault or death. They may have been subjected to an assault which involved violence.
Some married couples may be dealing with domestic violence; this may lead to an eventual divorce. The spouse who is being abused may decide they don’t want to live with the threat of violence against them anymore. They may file protective orders, then, if it is safe, they next file for divorce.
Where do I get a protective order?
Men or women who are living with domestic violence can take steps to protect themselves and their children. The state of Virginia has three types of protective orders for those who need them. These include:
- Emergency Protective Orders, which expire in three days after being issued
- Preliminary Protective Orders, which last for 15 days or until a full hearing is held
- Protective Order, which may be in effect for up to two years
Victims of domestic violence should go in person to the general district court, where they will fill out forms requesting protection. Next, they go to a courtroom. The judge asks several questions so they can decide if a preliminary protective order is needed.
What do I have to bring with me to request a protective order?
The person should bring a full, written description of the violent episode that made them decide to request help. They should also bring the name of their attacker, their physical address and information that identifies their attacker. If they requested an Emergency Protective Order, they should bring this as well.