Domestic Violence

Protecting Yourself and Your Family

Research has shown that domestic violence can occur in any home. It does not matter what the race, religion, sexual orientation, social status, or financial status of the individual or family might be. If domestic violence is occurring in your home or relationship, you need a village more than ever. You and your family are not alone. At Village Law Group, we can help you seek legal protection from acts of domestic violence done to you or your child by someone with whom you have or had a personal relationship. This means you can seek protection from—

  • Your spouse or ex-spouse
  • A person of the opposite sex with whom you live or used to live
  • Someone you are related to, including parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren over the age of 16
  • Someone with whom you have a child in common
  • A current or former household member
  • Someone of the opposite sex whom you are dating or have dated

You may also seek protection from a same-sex partner who is or has been a household member. However, judges do not always rule consistently in these cases.

Orders of Legal Protection

Legal protection usually means a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), which is also called a restraining order or a 50-B protective order. It is a court order that is signed by a judge and orders the abuser to stop threatening, harassing, stalking, or otherwise interfering with the victim. Most protective orders require that the abuser remain a certain distance away from the victim, the victim’s residence, and the victim’s workplace. In certain situations, this order may also require the abuser to stay away from the children or where the children go to school or daycare. It offers civil legal protection from domestic violence to both female and male victims, as well as to children. Domestic violence against men can be as destructive and harmful as domestic violence against women and children.

The courts issues two types of Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPO): an Ex-Parte (emergency; without the other side being present) DVPO and a Final DVPO (which is valid up to one year, but can be renewed). The Ex-Parte is a temporary order that protects the alleged victim and sometimes the minor children until the alleged abuser has had a chance to be heard in court. Ex-Parte orders can be obtained 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without an attorney present, and there are no court fees for getting one. A Final DVPO is issued after a court hearing, which must occur within 10 days of issuance of the Ex-Parte temporary order. Final DVPOs can be in effect for up to one year, but they can be renewed to extend beyond that. Issues such as temporary custody of the children and possession of the residence and/or vehicles can be dealt with in the DVPO, but they are only temporary. For permanent resolution regarding these issues, the parties need permanent settlement agreements or separate actions in family court.

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges are an option in many cases. Proceedings in criminal court are completely separate from the proceedings in civil court. Domestic Violence Protective Orders (DVPOs) are civil remedies, not criminal penalties. If you are a victim and your abuser has been charged with a crime related to the abuse, it is important to understand that you may be called to testify or otherwise cooperate with the district attorney who is prosecuting your abuser in criminal court. However, regardless of the outcome of the criminal proceedings, you should still consider and seek a civil DVPO to ensure your safety. The district attorney is unable to procure a civil DVPO for you.

If you have been arrested for or accused of committing the types of domestic violence described here, it is important to consult attorneys with experience in both the civil realm (any DVPOs or other restraining orders and potential custody or property issues) as well as the criminal realm. There are often multiple actions in separate courtrooms relating to the same incident.

The laws governing domestic violence are complex. The experienced family law attorneys of Village Law Group can guide you through the legal processes. Contact us at 919-525-2854 today to discover how we can help you deal with various types of domestic violence.