How Can A Person Gain Protection Against An Abusive Spouse?

If you are being abused by a spouse, family member, or other member of your household, the first step should be to remove yourself from the environment if you fear for your safety. There are many resources available, including the YWCA and domestic violence victim shelters.

You may also obtain protection through the court by filing a Petition for Domestic Violence Protection Order or by seeking a protection order in a divorce case. If the court finds you are a victim of domestic violence, then the court can enter a wide variety of protections. This can include restraining the individual from having any contact with you, from coming to your home, work, or school, from coming within a certain distance of your home, work or school, and from harassing or stalking you. The court can also order the individual to leave the shared residence.

Emergency orders can be obtained immediately and will remain in place for approximately two weeks. The responding party must be served with the paperwork and have an opportunity to respond at a hearing. The judge or commissioner will then decide whether to issue the protection order on a longer term basis.

Nicole M. Bolan, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.

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