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Legal Information: West Virginia

Restraining Orders

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August 4, 2020

What types of financial exploitation protective orders are there? How long do they last?

There are two types of orders: temporary financial exploitation protective orders and permanent financial exploitation protective orders.

A temporary financial exploitation protective orders can be issued ex parte from the magistrate court. Ex parte means that the respondent is not notified beforehand and is not present at the hearing.1 If the magistrate grants your temporary protective order, the clerk will transfer the case to the circuit court in your county. After the case is transferred, a clerk at the circuit court will schedule a hearing for a permanent order to take place within 20 days.2

After a hearing, the circuit court judge can issue a permanent financial exploitation protective order if s/he believes that the order is necessary to protect you. A permanent order does not have an expiration date. The judge must also find that:

  • the respondent committed an act that falls under the legal definition of financial exploitation; and
  • there is reason to believe the financial exploitation will continue without an order.2

The judge can issue an order “on consent” without finding that the respondent committed financial exploitation if the respondent agrees to have the order issued against him/her.2

In addition to the protective order, it’s possible to petition the court to freeze the assets of the person committing the financial exploitation in an amount equal to the alleged value of lost property or assets so that these assets can be used to pay back the victim for the value of his/her lost property or assets. Upon a finding that the elderly person, protected person, or incapacitated adult has been formally exploited, the judge can:

  • grant injunctive relief, which means ordering the respondent to do or stop doing something;
  • order the respondent to put money in escrow in an amount equal to the value of the assets that were exploited;
  • order the respondent to return any property that was wrongly taken; or
  • provide for the appointment of a receiver.3

1 W. Va. Code § 55-7J-1(d)
2 W. Va. Code § 55-7J-1(e)
3 W. Va. Code § 55-7J-5(a)