Protective Orders

 What Is A Protective Order?

A domestic violence protection order is a civil order that can:

  • Order the abuser not to hurt or harass you
  • Give you temporary custody of your children
  • Give you temporary possession of your residence
  • Order child and spousal support
  • Order the abuser not to harass, hurt or threaten you at your place of employment
  • Order the abuser to stay away from your children's school

You can get a protection order against:

  • Anyone with whom you have a child in common
  • Anyone with whom you are married
  • Anyone with whom you are dating
  • Anyone with whom you are related by marriage or by consanguinity within the second degree

How Do I Get A Protective Order?

  1. Go to magistrate court and tell the clerk that you want to file a petition for a domestic violence protection order.
  2. Explain your need for protection to the clerk and ask for help in completing the forms required. You do not need a witness, an attorney or a police report to file. Filing for a protective order is free.
  3. You will need to A) put your initials in front of all statements that are true; B) describe the violence your abuser threatened to do or did; C) initial what actions you want the court to take.
  4. After completing the forms, you will have a hearing with a judge that day. Try to explain the exact time, date and extent of your injuries and/or why you fear the abuser. If a temporary order is granted,  you will receive a copy of the court order and the abuser will be served with an order to appear in court within five days.
  5. At the second hearing, the judge will listen to and question both you and the abuser. Be prepared to tell the judge when, where, and with what, you were beaten, or threatened and/or why you are afraid of the abuser. If you have any witnesses take them to court with you. The judge will then decide whether to issue a final protection order that will last either 90 or 180 days.
  6. Keep a certified copy of the protection order with you at all times. A valid protection order is effective in every county in West Virginia and every state in the United States.

For further information, help in filling out the forms, or someone to go with you to magistrate court call the domestic violence program nearest you.

3 Other Things To Know:

  • If the abuser breaks the protection order, call the police and go back to magistrate court to file a contempt charge.
  • The police can file a charge of domestic assault (threats or attempt of physical abuse) or domestic battery (actual physical contact). A police officer can file these charges when probable cause exists that the crime of domestic battery or domestic assault occurred. The police officer need not witness the crime.
  • A form (No. SCA-M1237) can be filled out to extend the order if you file for divorce before the order expires. File this form in magistrate court.