If you feel unsafe in your domestic relationship or living situation due to physical abuse or threats of violence, you may need to obtain a restraining order against your abuser in order to protect yourself. Domestic violence takes many forms, and impacts countless families and relationships in South Carolina. Domestic violence can have an impact on family law matters. Sometimes the violence is limited to a single instance, while sometimes the domestic violence is habitual or systematic, or has gradually been increasing in severity over time. Whatever the case may be, you don’t have to be a victim.
An order of protection, sometimes also referred to as a restraining order, is a civil order issued by a court that prevents an abuser from coming near you. If the abuser does not oblige the protection order, he or she will face legal consequences. In domestic violence cases, the abuser must be either a current or former spouse or domestic partner (i.e., love interest, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) or someone that you share a child with. If your abuser does not fall into one of the relationship categories, you may be eligible for a restraining order against stalking or harassment.
Protection orders come in two types:
- Temporary orders of protection. In situations where it appears that the victim is in immediate danger, a judge will issue a temporary order of protection. This order is meant to last for 15 days after it is served on the abuser, or until a court hearing is held for a final order of protection, whichever is sooner. If the hearing for the final order is delayed, the judge may extend the duration of the temporary protection order.
- Final orders of protection. After a full hearing, at which both the victim and the abuser will state their case, a final protective order may be issued. A final order is for 6 months to one year in duration, and it may be extended upon request.
Order of protection can be sought:
- In the county where you reside (or are staying in a shelter, if the case may be).
- In the county where the abuser lives.
- In the county where you last lived with the abuser.
- In the county where the abuse took place.
What Can An Order of Protection Do?
A protective order can do many things. For example, the order could:
- Require the abuser to stay away from the victim, family of the victim, or pets owned by the victim.
- Require the abuser not contact or communicate with the victim.
- Require the abuser to not threaten or abuse the victim.
- Prevent the abuser from selling or destroying any assets shared with the victim.
- Award temporary child custody to the victim.
- Award temporary custody of pets to the victim.
- Require the abuser to pay financial support, child support, court costs, and/or attorney’s fees to the victim.
Contacting a Charleston Family Law Attorney
Victims of domestic violence that need legal protection from their abusers should reach out to an experienced family lawyer to help them understand what options are available. Please contact the experienced Charleston family law lawyers at Sarji Law Firm, LLC today. We can be reached by calling 843-323-4341.