What do I need to get a restraining order in Virginia?

A restraining order is a court order that prevents or stops a person from physically harassing, abusing or hurting another person. Generally, a restraining order can protect you and if you have children from physical violence or psychological abuse which may disturb your life.

The person who feels threatened has all the legal right to visit the court to obtain a restraining order. There are two types of protective orders namely

  • Temporary Restraining Orders (TRO: These orders are reasonably simple to obtain and granted when the court feels there is a hint of threat that a person may be exposed to. People can acquire these order with help from the police. The temporary restraining orders last for five to seven days, and the victim can request for permanent or final protective order.
  • Final Restraining Orders (FRO): After a person gets a temporary restraining order, there is a second hearing at which the alleged abuser is present, and the judge can convert the temporary order to permanent one based on the evidence. The FRO can last for five years.

Attaining a restraining order is easy and similar to acquiring other court orders. The person or victim should fill out and file the necessary paperwork, attend a couple of hearings, and hope the judge would decide in your favor. The key, however, is convincing and proving to the judge that you have received abuse and there is ample evidence that the threat remains.

The judge would need proof to substantiate his/her decision and prevent the abuser from further endangering the life or property of another person. When a person feels threatened, the best way is to stop the offender and order him/her to stay a certain distance away from the victim. The abuser is also prohibited from contacting the victim at the house, office, through phone or emails.

Making a list of the evidence to be presented in court:

When the person or victim decide you to pursue or request a restraining order, he/she should make a complete list of all of the intimidating behaviors, and threatening acts of the abuser is committing. Unfortunately, suspicions carry no weight in a court of law and simple saying a prank call is making you uneasy is not enough. The courts and judge would need tangible evidence and be entirely sure to bar another person from contacting you. The victim must show wounds to prove if there has been any physical abuse or the abuser has violent tendencies and further harm you.

The steps for getting a restraining order:

  1. Going to the court and filling the required forms.
  2. Visiting the clerk of civil court or the magistrate’s office to inform them that you need to file for a restraining order
  3. Filling out the complaint form in detail so that the protective order is quickly granted
  4. Providing a precise or full summary of the most recent abuse you have suffered at the hands of the abuser
  5. Filling out the summons which is necessary. The abuser would be served the complaint and ordered to appear in court and justify his/her actions
  6. Be present in the court for the hearing of your case. When a person submits the complaint and summons, he/she will be given a date and time for the hearing so that the judge can proceed the case and take a decision of granting the final restraining order.