Domestic Violence Protection Orders: Safeguarding Victims in Washington Divorce Cases

Call for a FREE Phone Consultation
Personal Injury Lawyer Attorney | Magnuson Lowell Redmond WA Duvall WA 425-885-7500
Personal Injury Lawyer Attorney | Magnuson Lowell Redmond WA Duvall WA

Magnuson Lowell Blog


Each week we post a blog about relevant legal issues.  Glance through our various topics to learn more about a particular legal situation.

These articles are for limited informational purposes only and are not, nor are they intended to be, legal advice. You should not rely on this information for your case and should consult with an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.

Search All Blog Posts

Blog Post Archive Categories

Domestic Violence Protection Orders: Safeguarding Victims in Washington Divorce Cases
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 7/17/2023


Domestic violence is a pervasive issue that affects individuals and families across society. In the context of divorce cases, the safety and well-being of the parties involved must be prioritized. Washington State law provides a legal framework to protect victims of domestic violence through the issuance of Domestic Violence Protection Orders (DVPOs). The definitions of domestic violence are outlined in RCW 7.105.010 providing a crucial framework for how issues of abuse are dealt with in divorce cases.

Defining Domestic Violence:

Under RCW 7.105.010, Washington State law defines domestic violence as a pattern of behavior used by one person to gain power and control over another person with whom they have a domestic relationship. This relationship can include spouses, former spouses, domestic partners, former domestic partners, parents, children, siblings, and individuals who share a common child.

Domestic violence encompasses various forms of abuse, including but not limited to:

  • Physical abuse: Intentional physical harm, assault, or acts that result in injury.
  • Emotional abuse: Distress, intimidation, coercion, or controlling behaviors.
  • Sexual abuse: Non-consensual sexual contact, rape, or sexual coercion.
  • Financial abuse: Controlling finances, restricting access to resources, or exploiting financial resources for control.
  • Stalking: Engaging in a pattern of unwanted behavior that causes fear, distress, or harassment.

Notably, the statute also allows a Court to grant a DVPO when the victim was placed in fear of harm as well providing additional protection depending on the scenario.

Role of Domestic Violence Protection Orders in Divorce Cases:

In divorce cases involving domestic violence, DVPOs play a crucial role in safeguarding the well-being of victims and their children. Here are key aspects to consider:

Emergency Protection Orders: In urgent situations, a victim can seek an Emergency Protection Order (EPO) to obtain immediate protection. An EPO can be obtained even before a divorce case is filed, offering immediate relief.

Temporary Protection Orders: Following the initial EPO, a victim can pursue a Temporary Protection Order (TPO) to provide extended protection while the divorce case proceeds. A TPO is typically valid for up to 14 days, during which the court may hold hearings to determine the need for a longer-term protection order.

Long-Term Protection Orders: If the court determines the victim requires ongoing protection, it can issue a Domestic Violence Protection Order (DVPO) that remains in effect for a specified duration, often up to one year. A DVPO can include provisions for no-contact orders, mandatory counseling, child custody arrangements, and the surrender of firearms.

Child Custody and Visitation: In divorce cases involving domestic violence, the court carefully considers the safety of the victim and the children. DVPOs can include provisions for supervised visitation or the denial of contact with the abusive parent to ensure the children's safety and well-being.

Violation Consequences: Violating a DVPO can result in serious legal consequences, including arrest, criminal charges, and contempt of court. These measures aim to deter the abuser from further harassment or abuse.

Domestic Violence Protection Orders serve as critical tools to protect victims of domestic violence during divorce proceedings. By providing legal protection, restraining orders, and provisions for child custody arrangements, DVPOs play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals and their children facing domestic violence situations. If you are a victim of domestic violence or facing such situations in your divorce case, seeking assistance from an experienced Washington State family law attorney is essential. They can guide you through the legal process, advocate for your rights, and help you obtain the necessary protection to move forward with your life in a safe and secure manner. Call the team at Magnuson Lowell PS today for a free telephone case evaluation.

Share this post!