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Know the Laws: Vermont

UPDATED March 29, 2017

Relief from Abuse Orders

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A relief from abuse order is a civil order that provides protection from a family or household member.

Who can get a relief from abuse order

back to topAm I eligible for a relief from abuse order?

You can be eligible to file for a relief from abuse order if you have been abused by a family or household member, which includes any of the following:

  • someone with whom you are living with or have lived;
  • someone with whom you share or have shared a home;
  • someone with whom you are having or used have a sexual relationship;
  • someone you are dating or have dated (Note: "Dating" is defined as a social relationship of a romantic nature);
  • a spouse or former spouse; or
  • a family member, related by blood or marriage.*

A minor of any age who is in a dating relationship can file against a dating partner.  However, to file in one of the other categories, the minor must be at least 16 years old to file on his/her own.**  

Note: When deciding whether to give you an order, a judge must believe that the defendant has abused you and/or your children and either:

  • there is a danger of further abuse; or
  • the abuser is currently incarcerated and has been convicted of one of the following:
    • murder;
    • attempted murder;
    • kidnapping;
    • domestic assault;
    • aggravated domestic assault;
    • sexual assault;
    • aggravated sexual assault;
    • stalking;
    • aggravated stalking;
    • lewd or lascivious conduct with child; or
    • use of a child in a sexual performance, or consenting to a sexual performance.***

* VT ST T. 15 § 1103(a)
** VT ST T. 15 § 1104(a)
*** VT ST T. 15 § 1103(c)(1)

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back to topCan a minor file for an order?

Yes.  A minor of any age who is/was in a dating relationship can file against a dating partner.  However, to file in one of the other categories, the minor must be at least 16 years old to file on his/her own.  If s/he is younger than 16, his/her parent (or legal guardian) can file for him/her.*  

* VT ST T. 15 §§ 1103(a), 1104(a)

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back to topCan I get a relief from abuse order against my same-sex partner?

In Vermont, you may apply for a relief from abuse order against a current or former same-sex partner as long as the relationship meets the requirements listed in Am I eligible for a relief from abuse order?  You must also be the victim of an act of domestic abuse, which is explained here What is the legal definition of domestic abuse in Vermont?

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back to topHow much does it cost to get a relief from abuse order?

There is no fee to file a relief from abuse order.*

* VT ST T. 15 § 1103(f)

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back to topDo I need an attorney?

While it is not necessary to hire a lawyer to file for a relief from abuse case, it may be in your interest to hire an attorney, especially if the abuser is represented by one.  A domestic violence organization in your area may be able to refer you to an attorney or legal aid service that will take your case for free.  Go to our VT Finding a Lawyer page to find help in your area.

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