In some difficult divorce cases, you may require legal protection from a violent or abusive spouse or former spouse. Nearly 10 million women and men are physically abused by an intimate partner every year in the U.S., according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
When you are in danger of abuse, you have a right to a legal order of protection, also known as a protective restraining order. In South Carolina, orders of protection are granted by courts or magistrates after you have filed a petition, that is, a request. The process of obtaining your restraining order will be a lot less distressing when you have the help and support of an experienced attorney.
South Carolina law (C. Code Ann. § 20-4-10 et seq., “Protection From Domestic Abuse Act”) allows “a household member to seek a restraining order against another household member. defined as a spouse, former spouse, person who has a child in common, or a male and female who are cohabiting or have formerly cohabited. It defines abuse as when a “family or household member physically harms you or threatens to do so, physically injures you, assaults you, or rapes you or commits another sexual criminal offense against you.
In South Carolina, there are two kinds of orders of protection, as described by womenslaw.org:
- When a judge believes you are in immediate danger of abuse, that judge can issue a temporary order of protection after holding a court hearing. The abuser will not be present at this hearing, which will take place within 24 hours of your filing your petition. The temporary order is in effect for 15 days after the abuser is served with the order, at which point a full court hearing will be held for a final order of protection.
- Final orders of protection are issued only after a full court hearing, where both you and the abuser have a chance to be present and present both your sides of the story. It can be frightening or intimidating to go before a court, but you are the one who knows the abuser and the situation best, and your lawyer will walk you through the process. In South Carolina, final orders of protection remain in effect for at least 6 months but not more than one year. You can petition to have the order extended.
The seasoned family law and divorce lawyers at the McGrath Law Firm, founded by attorney Peter McGrath, will walk you through every step of the challenging divorce process to address your concerns and achieve your goals as efficiently as possible. From spousal support, child support, fault, and equitable division of property and debt to valuations, pre-nuptial agreements, and restraining orders, the experienced attorneys at McGrath Law Firm have a successful track record in all aspects of divorce law. Call us to schedule your consultation at (800) 283-1380.