Obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order During a Virginia Divorce
The term “protective order” is typically thought of as the means to prevent a stalker or other threatening person from harassing you. However, in divorce proceedings (and other legal matters), protective orders are issued for a number of reasons. Despite the connotation, protective orders are designed to prevent someone from carrying out any specific action. Sometimes protective orders are put in place to deter physical contact, but they are also issued to handle financial mismanagement, child custody issues, and other important legal matters.
Temporary Financial Restraining Orders in Virginia
Sharing financial assets during a divorce can be problematic. Many states, such as California, have developed a system to deal with this challenge: the automatic temporary restraining order (ATRO). An automatic temporary restraining order is issued at the outset of any divorce proceeding filed in those states, requiring both spouses to maintain the “financial status quo” until the divorce is final. This prevents either spouse from trying to move, hide, or dissipate a large amount of marital property.
Temporary financial restraining orders are not automatically issued in Virginia. You can request a temporary order against dissipation at the outset of your divorce proceedings, or at any point it becomes necessary. Keep in mind a temporary orders will apply to you, as well. If your spouse has threatened to drain your accounts, or you have reason to suspect he or she might make some unfair financial moves, talk to your attorney about requesting a financial order in your case.
Obtaining a Protective Order in Virginia
Protective orders are intended to protect an individual from harm and abuse. In Virginia divorce cases, protective orders are commonly used to protect victims of spousal abuse and domestic violence. There are three types of protective orders issued in “family abuse” cases in Virginia:
- Emergency (ex parte) orders: An emergency protective order can be obtained at any time of day and will last for three days. It is intended to give the victim enough time to secure a longer-lasting temporary restraining order.
- Preliminary orders: A preliminary protective order typically lasts 15 days, but can be extended up to six months if the alleged abuser is incarcerated or otherwise cannot be served.
- Permanent orders: Despite what the name suggests, permanent protective orders are not life-long. They can last for up to two years, at which point a renewal can be requested.
In a Virginia divorce case, a protective order will set up the lines of acceptable communication to maintain the victim’s safety. A protective order may completely prohibit your spouse from contacting you, except through his or her attorney. While this can complicate divorce proceedings, spouses with a protective order in place can still work together (through their attorneys) to reach a fair settlement without the need for litigation.
Get Help Today
If you are a victim of spousal abuse considering divorce, seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Serving all of northern Virginia and beyond, the compassionate attorneys at Whitbeck, Cisneros, McElroy P.C. can help protect your rights and interests during this challenging time. Contact our office in Leesburg, Virginia to get the help you need today.