Allegations of domestic violence are unfortunately common in West Virginia. This can occur as an ongoing series of mistreatment or it can happen without warning. In some cases, it is said to have happened but did not happen at all or was not as clear as the complaint implies. There are ways for people to seek protection under the law by getting a family protective order. Family protective orders are essential for people to have the behavior on the record, seek legal intervention and to prevent it from getting worse.
In these cases, there are many areas that people must be familiar with. This is true from the perspective of the person who asserts that they are being abused and those who are accused of committing the abusive acts. One part of the case is the final hearing for the family protective order. Knowing what happens at the final hearing and how it will impact the case moving forward is essential.
What should I know about a final hearing for a family protective order?
An emergency protective order will generally be granted once good cause is shown. This is to provide immediate protection to those who are being abused. After it has been entered, the case is transferred to family court. Family court will schedule a final hearing within 10 days of the magistrate entering the order.
Both the petitioner and the respondent can take part in the hearing. If the petitioner does not appear, the petition will be dismissed. The respondent failing to appear could automatically result in a protective order for 90 days or 180 days.
The petitioner is required to prove that they or another person was abused, subject to threats, experienced harassment or faced other intimidating acts. If it is not proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the petition will be dismissed.
Protective orders can be complicated and professional guidance can be helpful
A protective order can result in dramatic life changes for both the petitioner and the respondent. These cases are not always obvious and people have different viewpoints as to what happened. For example, a person who is accused of abuse could have no history of it and deny the claims. The person who is alleging abuse may have been mistreated for an extended period and finally decided to try and put a stop to it.
Since the process can be complex and people involved are already dealing with major upheaval, contacting professionals who are experienced in all areas of the law can reduce stress and be helpful with addressing the concerns with domestic violence and family protective orders.