The People’s Lawyer

How can a protective order help after leaving an abusive partner?

On Behalf of | Feb 26, 2024 | Family Protection Orders

Sometimes, a victim of domestic violence could feel trapped in their situation, preventing them from acting and fighting for their rights. Abusers tend to have control over the victim’s life, including how they interact with friends and family. It takes a lot of courage to leave. However, even after leaving, staying safe continues to be a concern. 

Under the West Virginia law, victims of domestic violence can get a protective order against different kinds of abusers. If you are in this situation, a family protective order can stop your abuser from stalking, harassing, harming or threatening you. In cases where you have children, a protective order can also affect custody. The court will provide the following protective orders, depending on your situation: 

  • Emergency protective order: Usually issued upon the request of law enforcement, this protective order is given when there is immediate danger to your life. This is only valid for a short period, usually until your full court hearing.  
  • Temporary emergency protective order: This is given to you while the divorce or separation process is ongoing. It is effective for several days and requires a full hearing to maintain, change or terminate the order.   
  • Final protective order: If during the full court hearing, the judge finds that domestic violence happened and you still feel threatened, the court will issue a final protective order. This can last for 90 days, 180 days or 1 year. You can request an extension before the order expires. 

Family protective orders can protect you by prohibiting your abusers from contacting you and your family, going to your workplace or school and owning a firearm. It can also impact divorce decisions, particularly on child custody, support and living arrangements. Some courts could also order your abusive partner to undergo therapy like anger management. When violated, the offending party may face criminal charges. 

Domestic violence is a sensitive issue that causes lasting pain and trauma. Even after leaving an abusive partner, you might still feel that your safety is at risk. Getting a protective order might be the best option in this situation. Having a compassionate legal professional by your side would be helpful throughout this journey.