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Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands

Statutes: Virgin Islands, U.S.

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December 2, 2019

97. Hearing; relief

(a) A hearing shall be scheduled in Court within 10 days of filing a complaint, provided that the defendant has received notice of the Court proceedings. At the hearing the standard for proving the allegations in the complaint shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.

(b) At the hearing the Court may issue an Order granting any or all of the following relief:

(1) An Order prohibiting the defendant from subjecting the plaintiff to domestic violence, as defined in section 91(b).
(2) An Order prohibiting the defendant from having contact with the plaintiff, including, but not limited to, restraining the defendant from entering the plaintiff’s residence, place of employment or business, or school. The Court shall prohibit the defendant from harassing the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s relatives in any way.
(3) An Order granting possession of the residence to the plaintiff and excluding the defendant when the residence or household is jointly owned or leased by the parties. No Order shall affect any interest in the residence held by either party, but the Court may prohibit the defendant from transferring, encumbering, or otherwise disposing of specified property mutually owned or leased by the parties. Sole ownership in the name of the defendant of the real property constituting the residence of the parties shall not bar the Court from issuing an Order restraining the defendant from entering the residence. When the defendant has a duty to support the plaintiff or minor children living in the residence or household and the defendant is sole owner or lessee of the residence, an Order granting possession of the residence or household to the plaintiff and excluding the defendant may be issued or, upon consent of the parties, the defendant may be allowed to provide suitable, alternate housing for the plaintiff. The Court may amend its Order at any time upon petition by either party. Upon the issuance of an Order pursuant to the aforesaid paragraph, the Court may order a police officer or marshal to accompany either party to the residence to supervise the removal of personal belongings in order to insure the safety of the plaintiff.
(4) An Order determining temporary child support or child custody, or establishing visitation rights, provided that these issues have not been resolved nor are being litigated between the parties. The Court may protect the safety of the plaintiff by specifying a place of visitation away from the plaintiff or take any other appropriate precaution necessary to protect the safety and well-being of the plaintiff and minor children.
(5) An Order requiring the defendant to pay monetary compensation for losses suffered as a direct result of the act of domestic violence. Compensatory losses shall include, but not be limited to, loss of earnings or support, out-of-pocket losses for injuries sustained, moving expenses and reasonable attorney’s fees.
(6) An Order granting the plaintiff temporary possession of specified personal property, such as automobiles, checkbooks, keys, and other personal effects.
(7) An Order requiring the defendant to receive professional counseling or other appropriate treatment from either a private source or a source appointed by the Court and, in the Court’s discretion, requiring the defendant to provide the Court at specified intervals with documentation of attendance at the professional counseling or treatment center.

(c) Violation of an Order issued pursuant to this chapter shall constitute contempt and each Order shall so state.

(d) Any Order issued under this section shall be effective for a fixed period not to exceed twenty-four months, except that such Order may be extended, renewed, or modified by Order of the Court upon good cause shown.

(e) In addition to any other provision of law, violation of an order issued pursuant to section 97(b)(2) or section 98 of this chapter shall constitute the crime of domestic violence, and whoever willfully violates such an order shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not more than $5,000 and imprisoned for not more than 180 days.