Legal Information: Virginia

Restraining Orders

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Updated: 
November 18, 2016

Who can get a family abuse protective order?

You can get a protective order if you have been abused by a family or household member, which is defined as:


  • A current or former spouse;
  • A parent, child, stepparent, stepchild, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, grandchild, or grandparent, regardless of whether or not you live together;
  • Your mother-in-law, father-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law or sister-in-law, but only if you live with that person;
  • Anyone you have had a child with, whether or not the two of you have been married or have ever lived together; or
  • Any individual who lives with you ("cohabits") or has lived with you within the past 12 months (or his/her child who also lives in the home).*  Note: The law uses the word "cohabit" and the definition of "cohabit" generally implies there is an intimate or sexual relationship.

To read the exact terminology, please see the VA Legal Statutes page.


* Va. Code § 16.1-228