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Vermont Family Law on Domestic Violence

Invading the personal space of a family member in an attempt to cause harm is a form of domestic violence. Although this type of violence occurs nightly throughout America, there are ways of preventing this domestic abuse from reoccurring. Vermont domestic violence laws provide victims with protection from their abusers through protection orders and emergency relief. This is a quick summary of family law on domestic violence in Vermont.

Vermont Family Law On Domestic Violence and Abuse Prevention

Knowing the signs of domestic violence is often the first step towards obtaining proper abuse prevention. While physical abuse is often the the tell-tale sign of domestic violence, there are other warning signs that you are involved with an abusive partner.

The following table outlines the specifics of Vermont family law on domestic violence.

Code Sections

Vermont Statutes Title 15 Chapter 21: Domestic Relations - Abuse Prevention

What's Prohibited?

Vermont family law on domestic violence defines “abuse" as the occurrence of one or more of the following acts between family or household members:

Protection Order

A "protection order" means any injunction or order issued for the purpose of preventing violent/threatening acts or contact/communication with or in the proximity of another person. Any family or household member may seek relief from abuse by another family member by filing a complaint with a signed affidavit for a protection order.

Emergency Relief

Generally, a protection order requires the court to provide proper notice and a hearing for the abuser before the order can take full effect. However, a judge may provide emergency relief if the situation presents an immediate danger. Upon a finding that there is an immediate danger of further abuse, an order may be granted requiring the defendant to refrain from:

  • Abusing the plaintiff or the plaintiff's children.

  • Interfering with the personal liberty of the plaintiff and/or the plaintiff's children.

  • Coming within a fixed distance of the plaintiff, the plaintiff's children, the plaintiff's residence, or the plaintiff's place of employment.

  • Killing any animal owned as a pet by either party or a minor child residing in the household.

The abuser may also be forced to vacate the premises of a shared home if the plaintiff has no other place to seek shelter. Also, the court may award temporary custody of any minor children to the plaintiff or other safe places.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are in immediate danger, call 911. Vermont provides several ways to get help with domestic violence. If you have been served with a protective order and would like legal assistance, you can contact a Vermont criminal defense lawyer through FindLaw. Visit FindLaw's sections on domestic violence and family law for more articles and information on this topic.

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