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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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Obtaining an Emergency Protective Order in Virginia


In order to qualify for an emergency protective order in Virginia, you must be the alleged victim of a criminal offense that resulted in serious bodily injury or allegedly be stalked. In these cases, either the victim or a law enforcement officer has the right to request an emergency protective order from the necessary court, like general district court, circuit court, juvenile and domestic relations district court, or the magistrate. If the courts are closed, the victim can go to the local magistrate’s office. No matter whether you go to court or a magistrate, the hearing is conducted ex parte, which means the alleged abuser does not take part in the hearing.

There is no associated cost with an emergency protective order.

What the Victim Must Show

The person who is requesting the protective order must show several things in order to qualify:

  • There is probable danger for additional family abuse against a household or family member of the alleged abuser.
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe that the alleged abuser has already committed one or more acts of family abuse, and there is probable danger of additional offenses by this same person.

How Long are Emergency Protection Orders Valid For?

Emergency protective orders are valid until 11:59 p.m. on the third day after the order is granted, unless that day lands on a court holiday or other day the court is not open. In the event the person needing protection is physically or mentally incapable of starting the petition for a preliminary protective order, then a law enforcement officer can request an extension.

What Can Protective Orders Do

The idea behind emergency protective orders is to prohibit criminal offenses or acts of family abuse that will result in injuries to someone or their property. They prohibit the alleged abuser from contacting household or family members. It also gives the victim sole possession of the residence and premises occupied by all involved parties.

What Happens if You are the One the Emergency Protective Order is Issued Against?

If you are the one the emergency protective order is granted against, the other party will likely serve you as soon as possible once the order has been granted. As the respondent, you can challenge the emergency protective order at any time by filing a motion with the court so they can schedule a hearing.

What Happens after an Emergency Protective Order Expires

Once the emergency protective order expires, the victim can request a preliminary protective order that lasts up to 15 days in Virginia, or until a full hearing can be scheduled with a judge. These are similar to emergency protective orders by prohibiting acts of violence, threats, or force. Once a full hearing is scheduled, a judge will determine whether the victim needs a permanent protective order.

If you need assistance with protective orders, you need a skilled family law attorney in Virginia. Contact the knowledgeable team at Whitbeck, Cisneros McElroy PC to schedule a consultation today.

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