Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects individuals and families across the United States, including in Washington state. If you are experiencing domestic violence, or know someone who is, it's important to understand the options available to protect yourself and seek help. One legal option available in Washington is a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO).
A Domestic Violence Protection Order is a court order that can protect you from abuse, harassment, or stalking. This includes from current or former spouses, domestic partners, or someone you have a child with, as well as people you are related to by blood or marriage, or someone you have lived with in the past. A DVPO can also protect you from abuse or stalking by someone you are not related to, but who you have a dating or intimate relationship with. This could include a current or former romantic partner.
To get a Domestic Violence Protection Order, you will need to file a petition with the court. You can do this by visiting the courthouse in the county where you live, or by contacting a domestic violence advocacy organization for help. Family Law attorneys are able to help prepare these documents and provide guidance on this difficult topic.
When you file your petition, you will need to provide information about the abuse or stalking experienced, including any specific incidents and the ways in which the person has harmed or threatened you. You will also need to provide information about your relationship with the person you are seeking protection from. If the court determines that you are in immediate danger, they may issue a temporary DVPO, which will remain in effect until a full hearing can be held. At the hearing, the judge will decide whether to grant a final DVPO.
A Domestic Violence Protection Order can include a variety of provisions to protect you from abuse or stalking. Some common provisions include:
A DVPO can also include other provisions that are specific to your situation and needs.
If the abuser violates the terms of a Domestic Violence Protection Order, they can be arrested and charged with a crime. If you are in immediate danger, you should call 911. If you are not in immediate danger, you should report the violation to the police and the court.
It's important to keep in mind that a DVPO is not a guarantee of safety. If you are concerned for your safety, you should also consider developing a safety plan and seeking additional resources and support.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, there are resources available to help you. Some options include:
Domestic Violence Protection Orders can be a helpful legal tool for protecting yourself from abuse or stalking by someone you have a domestic relationship with. If you are experiencing domestic violence, it's important to know your options and seek legal help when needed. The experienced legal team at the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS are ready and available to answer your questions. Call today for a free case evaluation.