Domestic violence is an intimate form of violence. When there’s a personal relationship, a shared home or apartment, or children in the mix a quick escape and immediate sense of safety can be welcome. Violence between spouses and partners, parents and children, family members, even roommates are common enough that for there to be specific solution available: a protective order.
Your state's protective order laws will differ depending on where you live or what law applies. Here’s a brief summary of protective orders in the Vermont.
Protective Orders in Vermont
You have to go to court to receive a protective order. Vermont courts will issue one when necessary to prevent further abuse or violence. While most people think of a violent husband or boyfriend when they think of domestic violence, other situations are covered as well. Any “family member” or "household member" can seek relief. The latter covers roommates and romantic or sexual partners as well.
Obtaining a protective order requires going through the legal process. The person requesting the order (the plaintiff) must file a complaint and have it served on the defendant. A court will then hold a hearing to determine what’s happened. Vermont courts can only issue a protective order when they’ve determined that a defendant has abused the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s children, or both. There must also generally be a danger of further abuse (or the defendant must be incarcerated for a violent crime or sex crime). Accordingly, the hearing will likely focus on the relationship and whether there’s an ongoing danger.
Protective orders can temporarily resolve all the important matters. Courts can prohibit a defendant from abusing or contacting the plaintiff or any children. They can require a defendant to vacate a home, award the plaintiff sole possession, and decide parental rights and custody for a time. When a plaintiff is financially dependent on the defendant, orders for the payment of living expenses and child support can be issued. Defendants may also be forced to return personal documents such as identification, immigration documents, and birth certificates. Courts have some discretion in crafting a workable order.
||Tit. 15 § 1101, et seq.
|Activity Addressed by Order
||Enjoin contact; exclude from residence or other locations; temporary custody and support provisions for minors.
|Duration of Order
||A fixed period at the expiration of which time the court may extend the order.
|Penalty for a Violation of Order
||Criminal contempt with a maximum six month jail term and fine of $1,000.
|Who May Apply for an Order
||Any family or household member on behalf of self or children.
|Can Fees Be Waived?
|Order Transmitted to Law Enforcement?
||Yes, a copy is sent to the Department of Public Safety’s relief from abuse database.
|Civil Liability for Violation of Order
Related Resources for Protective Orders Laws
You can find more information about protection and restraining orders and domestic violence on these pages. The best way to deal with domestic violence is to take action. Contacting a local family lawyer is the first step.