Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
  • John C. Whitbeck, Jr.


    John C. Whitbeck, Jr. practices in the following areas of law: Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Mediation, Arbitration, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Criminal Law, DUI/DWI, Reckless Driving, All Felonies, All Misdemeanors, Juvenile Crimes, Mental Health Law, Civil and Business Litigation, Construction Litigation, Education Law, Election Law, Debt Collection, Consumer and Lemon Law.

    Learn More »
  • Ruth M. McElroy


    Ruth M. McElroy practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Pre and Post Marital Agreements, Domestic Violence, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Juvenile Crimes, Felony and Misdemeanor Crimes, Traffic Offenses, Debt Collection, Civil and Business Litigation. She serves the Virginia Court system as a Guardian ad litem.

    Learn More »
  • Jennifer D. Cisneros


    Jennifer D. Cisneros practices in the following areas of law: Family law, Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support, Visitation Rights, Adoptions, Spousal Support, Relocation Cases, Domestic Violence, Juvenile Crimes, Reckless Driving, DUI/DWI, Estate Planning, Wills and Probate, Trusts, Civil and Business Litigation and Debt Collection.

    Learn More »

Lifting a Protective Order in Virginia


In Virginia, restraining orders are known as protective orders, and the courts are authorized to issue emergency protective orders, preliminary protective orders, and permanent protective orders. These are normally issued due to some type of family abuse, including by those in the immediate household. Obtaining a protective order and requesting one be lifted are complex, so it’s important to retain a skilled Virginia family law attorney who can help you through the process.

Types of Protective Orders

Before discussing the process of lifting a protective order, it’s important to understand the different types of orders issued in Virginia.

  • Emergency Protective Orders: These can be issued around the clock every day of the year. Because of the emergency nature of these, they may be issued ex parte, which means no notice is given to the defendant, or alleged abuser. They expire 72 hours after issuance, and until 5 p.m. the following business day if the court is not in session when the order expires.
  • Preliminary Protective Orders: If a person still needs a protective order once the emergency order expires, they can file for a preliminary protective order. These are generally granted ex parte and in most jurisdictions are not hard to obtain.
  • Full Protective Orders: These are issued when a family member has suffered “family abuse” and it doesn’t require the need to show imminent danger. These typically remain in effect for two years.

Lifting a Protective Order in Virginia

If both parties want to dissolve a protective order, they are required to go to court. It’s tricky because even by going to court together, the respondent is in violation of the protective order if he or she does not request the court to dissolve the protective order. Even when parties consent, making contact with the petitioner is a violation, and if found guilty, it’s a Class I Misdemeanor the first time around and carries a mandatory jail sentence.

You’ll need to have evidence and support to show why the protective order should be lifted. This includes information like:

  • Documentation regarding rehabilitation or work status
  • Statements given by other pertinent individuals
  • Probation records and other law enforcement documentation that can attest to the person’s prior criminal offense(s)
  • If related, evidence showing child custody and visitation rights

Why Would Parties Want to Lift a Protective Order?

Obviously, the respondent would like to have the protective order lifted as it can have serious repercussions in their daily life. It can affect their rights and cause additional problems in the future.

If the request to lift the protective order is from the respondent only, he or she needs to show proof of good behavior and no outstanding issues with the court system. In general, a judge will look at the individual facts and analyze other issues to decide whether the respondent is eligible for a change in status. The decision to lift a protective order may be very different depending on whether it was a preliminary protective order or a full one.

Family Law Attorneys in Virginia

If you’re requesting a protective order be lifted, you need an experienced Virginia domestic violence attorney. Contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC at 703-997-4982 to schedule a consultation. Let our knowledgeable lawyers help with all your family law needs.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn

© 2017 - 2020 Whitbeck, Cisneros, McElroy, P.C., Attorneys at Law. All rights reserved.
This law firm website is managed by MileMark Media.



Governor Northam’s Executive Order 53 provides that businesses that offer professional rather than retail services may remain open. Our firm is continuing to operate to ensure you and your family have advocates available for whatever legal issue you face. For clients who prefer, we can arrange meeting by Zoom or other video-conferencing. We are also implementing internal procedures to provide a safe environment in the office. Please contact us at 703-777-1795 or schedule an appointment today!