Virginia Domestic Violence Attorneys
Aloupas Law P.L.L.C. Virginia Protective Order Lawyers
Allegations of domestic violence can have a dramatic impact on the divorce process and child custody orders in Virginia. If you or your children have been subject to physical, sexual or emotional abuse by your spouse, you might need a protective order to ensure the safety of you and your children. When evidence establishes domestic violence in the form of physical violence or threats to your safety, the judge or magistrate might issue orders that impact temporary possession of the family residence, property division, child custody and other issues. If you or your children are the victims of abuse, you should not hesitate to contact Aloupas Law, P.L.L.C. to obtain piece of mind and protection for you and your children.
Because domestic violence allegations can have a profound effect on a contested divorce especially when minor children are involved, false allegation are sometimes used as a sword to gain a strategic advantage rather than as a shield of protection. When you are the target of false allegations of domestic violence, it might impact your financial security, custodial time with your children and ability to remain living in the family home. Experienced Virginia family law attorney Lu Aloupas, Esq. can protect you from false allegations and protect your rights during the divorce process in the face of allegations made by your spouse.
Overview of Domestic Violence
While many people think of domestic violence as being limited to physical abuse, the term includes sexual abuse, emotional abuse and threats to harm certain close family members and people sharing a dwelling including the following:
- Spouses and ex-spouses
- Individuals cohabitating during the past year
- In-laws who live with the alleged abuser
- Parents (even if they do not live together)
Virginia law defines domestic violence as conduct by a family member that involves the use of force, violence or threats which cause either physical injury or a reasonable fear of physical injury to an adult or child. Domestic violence also can constitute grounds for seeking a fault-based contested divorce. Whether you or our children have been the targets of domestic violence, you should seek immediate legal advice to learn about safeguarding your rights and physical and emotional well-being.
Understanding Protective Orders in the Commonwealth of Virginia
There are three distinct types of protective orders under Virginia law based on the stage of the case. The primary objective of protective orders is to provide legal protection for victims to prevent abuse by barring or restricting contact with the victim(s). Violation of a protective order constitutes a Class 1 misdemeanor which can result in a penalty up to one year in county jail.
- Emergency Protective Orders (EPO): This is an emergency request that is only good for 72 hours after the abuse has been reported. If law enforcement officers arrest your spouse for domestic assault or battery, this extremely short-term protective order will take effect. A victim of domestic violence also can file such a request even if law enforcement was not involved in the incident. The request will be granted if there is reason to believe that abuse has or will occur.
- Preliminary Protective Order (PPO): This form of protective order also can only be granted on a short-term basis (14 days), or until the hearing for a final protective order. A PPO can be granted on an ex parte basis which means that the other party does not need to be present in court for the PPO to be granted. The protective order can be granted when the victim states he or she has been or currently is in immediate danger of suffering physical abuse. The protection of a PPO can include “no contact” orders including minor children of the victim and exclusive use of the residence (also referred to as a “residential kick out order”).
- Final Protective Order (PO): While the relief granted is like that of a PPO, this protective order can be granted for a period up to 2 years. The party who is named as the target of protective orders must be permitted to attend and present evidence to contest the allegations.
Contested Divorce – Impact of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence can serve as a grounds for a contested divorce which may impact financial issues like the division of marital property. Evidence of domestic violence also will factor into custody and visitation orders. The extent to which allegations of domestic abuse affect a parenting plan will depend on the severity of the incidents and the strength of the evidence.
While the Commonwealth of Virginia favors both parents sharing joint physical and legal custody, the court might relegate a parent to visitation supervised by another adult or agency based on evidence of domestic violence. Even if a court finds that such orders are appropriate, the parent with supervised visitation may be able to seek to remove this restriction or seek a larger amount of parenting time after completing a domestic violence class or satisfying other conditions. In cases where there are serious concerns about the safety of the children, the court might even terminate parental rights of a parent, but this is rare.
Experienced Virginia divorce attorney Lu Aloupas represents both parties requesting and opposing protective orders. Whether our law firm is protecting a victim of domestic violence or preserving the reputation of a parent who is unjustifiably accused, our law firm provides effective legal representation.
We invite you to contact us to schedule a free consultation in one of our conveniently located offices in Chesapeake or Hampton, so we can explain your rights and discuss your options. Call us today at 757-707-8560 or email us to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced Virginia Domestic Violent Attorney.