Being involved in a domestic violence situation is a horrifying experience affecting tens of thousands of people across Rhode Island each year. Victims of Rhode Island domestic abuse may be able to prevent their harasser or abuser from contacting them by obtaining a Rhode Island protective order. A protective order prohibits the person named in the order from engaging in any form of contact with the person who obtains the order, including contact through social media.
Contrary to what many believe, being the victim of domestic violence does not necessarily mean someone has been physically assaulted. Under Rhode Island General Laws section 15-15-1, domestic abuse is defined as certain acts between “present or former family members, parents, stepparents, or persons who are or have been in a substantive dating” relationship. Specifically, domestic violence consists of any of the following:
- Attempting to cause or causing physical harm;
- Placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm;
- Causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat of force, or duress; or
- Stalking or cyberstalking.
Generally, a victim of domestic violence can obtain a temporary protective order by filing a complaint with the appropriate court. Importantly, there is no requirement that the abuser appears in court to obtain a temporary order. A temporary protective order will expire 21 days after it is issued, at which point both the person who filed the complaint as well as the abuser must appear in court. If the abuser refuses to appear, a permanent order may be obtained; however, they must be served with the complaint and given the opportunity to appear.
How a Rhode Island Protective Order Can Protect a Victim of Domestic Violence
Depending on the circumstances presented in a victim’s complaint, a Rhode Island family court judge can prevent the subject of the protective order from having all forms of contact with the victim. In addition, a protective order can force a subject to vacate the victim’s residence and can also award temporary custody of any children to the victim of domestic abuse. Once notice has been provided to the abuser, the protective order can require the abuser surrender all firearms and pay child support for a period of up to 90 days.
As this discussion illustrates, many factors come into play when pursuing a Rhode Island protective order. At the same time, when the need arises for a protective order, there is little time for delay. Anyone experiencing domestic violence should immediately reach out to a dedicated Rhode Island family law attorney for assistance.
Do You Need a Rhode Island Family Law Attorney?
If you are currently the victim of ongoing domestic violence, contact the dedicated Rhode Island family law lawyers at the law firm of Bilodeau Capalbo. At Bilodeau Capalbo, our experienced team of Rhode Island divorce lawyers has extensive experience obtaining protective orders for our clients in all types of domestic violence situations. We act quickly to obtain your temporary order, understanding the time-sensitive nature of your circumstance. In the event additional action is necessary, our team of Rhode Island divorce attorneys can help you file any necessary petitions. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated Rhode Island family law attorney to discuss your situation, call 401-300-4055 to schedule a free consultation today.
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