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Legal Information: Virginia

Restraining Orders

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December 4, 2020

What protections can I get in a preliminary protective order?

A preliminary protective order can:

  • prohibit acts of family abuse or criminal offenses that result in injury to a person or to property;
  • prohibit any contact by the abuser with you or your family or household members that the judge believes is necessary to protect your/their safety;
  • grant you possession of the home that you and the abuser share;
  • remove (exclude) the abuser from a home you share and order that the abuser cannot turn off any necessary utility services to the home (or order him/her to get them turned back on if s/he terminated them);
  • require that the abuser provide suitable alternative housing for you and any other family or household member (and possibly require the abuser to pay deposits to connect or restore necessary utility services in the alternative housing provided);
  • grant you temporary possession/use of vehicle that you own by yourself or that you jointly own with the abuser;
  • grant you possession of a pet or companion animal (if you are considered an owner of the pet);
  • grant you (and, where appropriate, any of your family or household members) exclusive use and possession of a cell phone number or electronic device and order that the abuser cannot turn off your cell phone or electronic device before the contract with the third-party provider ends;
  • prohibit the abuser from using a cell phone or other electronic device to locate you (by putting a tracking app on your phone, for example); and/or
  • give you anything else that is necessary for the protection of you and your family or household members.1

1 Va. Code § 16.1-253.1(A)