Can We Ask For A Restraining Order During The Divorce Process In Virginia?

Divorce, a complex and emotionally challenging process on its own, can be further complicated when intertwined with issues of domestic violence or harassment. Individuals in such situations may feel compelled to take legal action in order to safeguard themselves and their children. One potential legal remedy they may seek is a restraining order. However, does Virginia allow individuals to request a restraining order during the divorce process?

Understanding Restraining Orders in Virginia

In Virginia, a restraining order is commonly referred to as a Protective Order. A Protective Order is a court-issued injunction specifically designed to prevent acts of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking. Any individual who has experienced or is presently facing abuse or harassment, including a spouse involved in a divorce process, has the right to request a Protective Order.

Grounds for Pursuing a Protective Order

In the state of Virginia, several grounds exist for seeking a Protective Order. These include:

Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse encompasses any form of violence or abuse occurring between family or household members. It encompasses a wide range of acts, such as physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional abuse, or financial exploitation.


Stalking takes place when an individual deliberately and repeatedly follows, harasses, or threatens another person.

Sexual Assault

The act of engaging in non-consensual and unwanted sexual contact or activity falls under the definition of sexual assault.


Harassment pertains to a persistent pattern of behavior intended to irritate, intimidate, or alarm another person.

The Process of Securing a Protective Order

To obtain a Protective Order in Virginia, one must initiate the process by filing a petition with the court. This petition must provide in-depth details regarding the alleged abuse or harassment, as well as the reasons justifying the necessity of a Protective Order. Upon filing the petition, the court will schedule a hearing to assess whether the circumstances warrant granting a Protective Order.

Requesting a Protective Order During the Divorce Process

It is essential for individuals who are on the receiving end of domestic violence or harassment to take proactive measures to safeguard their well-being during the divorce process. These individuals retain the right to request a Protective Order while the divorce proceedings unfold. A Protective Order can provide immediate relief by curtailing the abusive spouse’s access to the victim and their children. Furthermore, it can impose restrictions on the abuser, prohibiting them from approaching the victim’s home, workplace, or other frequented locations.


In instances where domestic violence or harassment arises within the context of a divorce, victims must endeavor to seek legal protection. A Protective Order can offer crucial safeguards for victims and their children, shielding them from further abuse or harassment throughout the divorce proceedings. If you find yourself experiencing domestic violence or harassment while going through a divorce, it is imperative to consult with a seasoned family law attorney who can assist you in obtaining the requisite legal protection.

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