The People’s Lawyer

How do I file for a protective order?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Family Law

A court may issue protective orders to shield certain people from abuse or harassment. By establishing boundaries for the abuser legally, they hope to protect others and stop more abuse.

Types of protective orders

These orders provide varying levels of security tailored to the urgency and severity of each case.

  • Emergency Protective Order (EPO): This is a short-term protection order typically issued when the courts are closed and the victim needs immediate protection. It lasts until a full court hearing can occur, usually within ten days.
  • Temporary Protective Order (TPO): This order is issued during a court session and provides temporary protection until the final hearing. The duration can vary but typically lasts up to 30 days.
  • Final Protective Order (FPO): This court issues an FPO after a full court hearing in which both parties can present their case. If granted, an FPO can last up to two years and push for an extension if necessary.

You are eligible for a protective order if you are a victim of domestic violence, including physical abuse, threats, kidnapping, harassment or stalking.

Filing for a protective order

To file for a protective order in West Virginia, these are the steps:

  • Visit Your local circuit court: You can obtain the necessary forms from your county’s circuit court clerk’s office.
  • Complete and file the forms: The application forms provide detailed information about the type of abuse and protection you seek. Submit the completed forms to the clerk.
  • Be present for the judge’s review: A judge will review your application. If immediate danger exists, they will issue an emergency protective order.
  • Court hearing: A temporary or final protective order requires a court hearing. You will need to present evidence and possibly testify about the abuse.

A final protective order is good for 90 or 180 days – and can be extended for another 90 days if needed. You may also seek legal professionals who can guide you all throughout the court proceedings.

By understanding the types of protective orders and the steps involved in obtaining one, individuals can take significant steps toward protecting themselves and their loved ones from domestic violence.