What is a domestic violence restraining order? How long does it last?
A restraining order (also called a domestic violence restraining order or DVRO) is a civil court order that is designed to stop violent behavior and keep the abuser away from you. There are two types of restraining orders in the U.S. Virgin Islands:
An ex parte/temporary restraining order (also called a TRO) is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection from the abuser. A judge may issue a temporary restraining order on the day you file for your permanent restraining order if s/he believes it is necessary to protect the life, health or wellbeing of you or your child. An ex parte/temporary restraining order is usually issued without prior notice to the abuser and without the abuser present (“ex parte”). A temporary restraining order will protect you from the time you file until your full court hearing takes place, usually within 10 days. Note: At any point within those 10 days, the abuser can file in court to modify or dismiss that order and the judge may hold a hearing about this issue with both you and the abuser present. However, you are only required to get 24 hours’ prior notice of that hearing.1
A permanent restraining order (also called a PRO) offers the same type of protection as an ex parte/temporary restraining order, but it lasts longer and is generally issued after a hearing in which both you and the abuser can be present. In this hearing, the abuser will have a chance to defend him/herself. A permanent restraining order lasts up to two years. You can ask the court to extend the order for another year, but you must do so before it expires.2 (See How do I modify or extend my order?)
1 VI ST T. 16 § 98(a),(b),(d)
2 VI ST T. 16 § 97(a),(d)