Some relationships and marriages lead to domestic violence, which is an unfortunate reality at all levels of our society. However, South Carolina law does provide some respite for victims of domestic violence and their families, in the form of an order of protection, which is a type of restraining order. An order of protection can help remedy a domestic violence situation, in that it can formally order an individual to stay away from you and your family, as well as do certain other things. Additionally, if an individual violates a protective order, he or she commits a criminal offense with its own set of penalties.
Requirements to Obtain an Order of Protection
You can obtain an order of protection against a current or former member of your household or another individual with whom you have had a relationship. These individuals might include a spouse or former spouse, an individual that you currently or previously had a relationship with, whether you lived together or not, and the other parent of your child. You also must be able to tell the court about incidents of abuse, which South Carolina law defines as physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of physical harm, as well as criminal sexual offenses. Each of the incidents that you describe for the court must be specific, in that you can identify the time, place, and location of the incident.
Court Procedures and Orders of Protection
In most cases, you request an order of protection in the county in which the incidents of abuse occurred. This is usually the county in which either you or the other individual live. However, you also can ask for an order of protection in the county in which you and the other individual last lived together. By filing a petition for an order of protection with the family court in your county, you are asking the judge to grant you protection from your abuser. Once filed, a request for an order of protection moves quickly through the court system. A family court can hold an emergency hearing within 24 hours of the petition being filed, if you can show good cause for an emergency hearing and prove that the incidents of abuse occurred. If the court does not schedule an emergency hearing, then the court still will hold a hearing within 15 days.
Effects of an Order of Protection
An order of protection can order an individual not only to stop abusing or harassing you, but also to refrain from communicating with you altogether. Additionally, the judge can use an order of protection to make temporary arrangements for child custody, visitation, and support, if the parties share a child. An order of protection can last up to one year, unless the parties reconcile and agree to terminate it earlier.
Call Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC for Assistance Today
You can reach the South Carolina family law attorneys at Elliott Frazier Law Firm, LLC, by calling today and setting up an appointment. We are dedicated to offering you the utmost in legal representation in your family law proceeding, especially if it involves domestic violence or child abuse. It is in these types of cases that you need us most. Contact our office today and learn how we are here to assist you.