Fairfax Protective Orders
Zealous Lawyers Who Genuinely Care in High-Conflict Cases
With over 50+ years of combined experience in family law, our legal advocates at Keithley Law, PLLC, have the experience and knowledge to fight for you in high-conflict cases like applying for a protective order. You can trust that our firm is committed to fighting for your best interests. For empathetic and compassionate support in and out of the courtroom, contact our firm today.
Emergency Protective Order
A family abuse protective order is a civil court order designed to stop violent behavior and keep an alleged abuser away from the abused. There are three main types of protective orders for family abuse recognized in Fairfax – emergency protective orders, preliminary protective orders, and final protective orders.
The goal of an emergency protective order is to give the alleged victim immediate protection and can be given while the courthouse is not open, such as on the weekends or after business hours. An emergency order can also be given “ex parte” by a judge if the judge believes that the individual is in immediate danger. Note that ex parte means the alleged abuser does not have to be present or know that the order has been requested, though they will have to be served before the order takes effect. A law enforcement officer can request an emergency order for an individual if they believe the person is in imminent harm or danger.
An emergency protective order can:
- Prohibit acts of family abuse or criminal offenses that result in injury to a person or property;
- Prohibit any contact by the abuser with the abused or their family or household members, including prohibiting the abuser from being in the person’s “physical presence”;
- Grant the abused possession of a pet or companion animal (if they are considered an owner of the pet); and
- Grant them possession of the home that they and the abuser share and remove the abuser.
Be aware that an emergency order expires at the end of the third day following issuance. If it expires at a time when the court is not in session, the order will be extended until the end of the next business day the court is in session. An additional three-day extension may be granted if the individual is hospitalized or otherwise incapacitated.
Preliminary Protective Order
A preliminary protective order is the first step in obtaining a permanent protective order. The individuals themselves must file a written petition at the intake office of the Juvenile and Domestic Relations courthouse (instead of a law enforcement officer requesting one for them).
A preliminary protective order can:
- Prohibit acts of family abuse or criminal offenses that result in injury to a person or to property;
- Prohibit any contact by the abuser with the abused and their family or household members that the judge believes is necessary to protect their safety;
- Grant the person possession of the home that they and the abuser share;
- Remove the abuser from the shared home and order that the abuser cannot turn off any necessary utility services to the home;
- Require that the abuser provide suitable alternative housing for the abused and any other family or household member (and possibly require the abuser to pay deposits to connect or restore necessary utility services in the alternative housing provided);
- Grant the person temporary possession/use of a vehicle that they own individually or jointly with the abuser;
- Grant the person possession of a pet or companion animal if they own one;
- Grant the individual exclusive use and possession of a cell phone number or electronic device;
- Prohibit the abuser from using a cell phone or other electronic device to locate the individual; and/or
- Provide anything else that is necessary for the protection of the abused and their family or household members.
A preliminary order lasts up to 15 days until the court hearing for a final protective order. If the court is closed on the 15th day, it will last until the next day that the court is open.
Permanent Protective Order
A permanent (or final) protective order will be granted after a full court hearing where both the individual requesting the order and the abuser have an opportunity to report their own sides of the story to a judge. A permanent order takes effect after it has been served to the abuser. The individual should be notified when the abuser is served, and the protective order can last up to 2 years.
A protective order can:
- Order the abuser to stop the abusive behavior;
- Order the abuser to stop contacting the individual and their family or household members;
- Order the abuser to leave the shared house and give the abused temporary possession of the house (this will not change who owns the house on paper);
- Order the abuser to not shut off the utilities, and to restore utilities;
- Require the abuser to provide suitable alternative housing for the individual and their family/household members;
- Give temporary possession of any jointly owned motor vehicles and order the abuser to keep insurance policies, taxes, and registration;
- Grant the individual exclusive use and possession of a cell phone number or electronic device and order that the abuser cannot turn off the person’s cell phone or electronic device before the contract with the third-party provider ends;
- Prohibit the abuser from using a cell phone or other electronic device to locate the person;
- Order the abuser to participate in treatment, counseling, or other programs;
- Grant temporary custody of their children or temporary visitation for any children they have in common with the abuser;
- Grant the person a temporary child support order for the support of any shared children;
- Grant the person possession of a pet or companion animal if they own one; and
- Provide any other relief necessary to protect the individual and their family.
Keep in mind that whether a judge orders any or all of the above depends on the facts of the case.
Seek a Committed Family Advocate Today
If you have been assaulted or are in imminent danger of serious harm in a domestic setting, you can seek a protective order with the court to restrict contact from your alleged abuser. There are a few different options for protective orders, and they all have different lifetimes. Our attorneys at Keithley Law, PLLC, can take a look at your situation and help you obtain the right order for your safety and protection.