LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Michael A Troy | Jul 30, 2010

Civil Protection Orders (CPOS) in the District of Columbia

In Washington, D.C., domestic violence is divided into three categories: intimate partner violence, intrafamily violence, and interpersonal violence, which are explained in detail below. "Domestic violence" is when one of the following people commits or threatens to commit any crime against you: someone you are or were married to, in a domestic partnership with, or in a romantic, dating, or sexual relationship with ("intimate partner violence" ); someone related to you by blood, adoption, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership ("intrafamily violence"); someone you have a child in common with -- this can be ("intrafamily violence") and/or ("intimate partner violence" ); someone who share(d) a home with (i.e., a roommate) ("interpersonal violence"); someone who is/ was in an intimate relationship with the same person that you are/ were in an intimate relationship with ("interpersonal violence"). There are two types of civil protection orders in Washington, D.C. Temporary (ex parte) Protection Orders. A temporary protection order can be issued the day that you file your petition without the abuser being present in court - (this is what is meant by an ex parte order). The judge can give you this temporary order if the judge believes that the safety or welfare of you or your household member is in immediate danger from the abuser. The first temporary protection order that you get can last up to 14 days. Once you return to court, the judge can extend the temporary protection order for additional 14 day periods (or for a longer period if both parties consent) until the final court hearing or trial is completed. Civil Protection Orders. A final protection order can be issued by a judge after one of the following happens: 1.there is a court hearing where you and the abuser both appear and present evidence and testimony to the judge, or 2.there is a court hearing where only you appear -- the abuser fails to appear even though you can prove he was properly served with notice of the court date, or 3.in court, the abuser consents to the protection order being issued. In option 1 or 2, above, the judge will only issue the final protection order if s/he has "good cause" to believe that the abuser committed or threatened to commit a criminal offense against the you. For option 3, this is not a requirement. A final protection order lasts up to one year - the expiration date should be included on the order. However, the length of the order is subject to change if either party files a motion in court and proves that there is "good cause" to either extend it or rescind it. In a civil protection order, a judge can order the abuser to: stop committing or threatening to commit criminal offenses against you and any other protected person (named in the petition); stay-away from you, any other protected person, and any other specific locations ("stay-away order"); have no contact with you and any other protected person ("no contact order") stay away from the home OR to leave the home where you are living ("vacate order") whether that home is: marital property of the parties; jointly owned, leased, or rented and occupied by you and the abuser (including if you used to live there but had to leave due to the abuse); oowned, leased, or rented by you alone; or jointly owned, leased, or rented by you and another person (not the respondent); participate in a psychiatric or medical treatment or counseling program(s) for domestic violence, parenting, alcohol, drugs, etc.; pay your costs and attorney fees; give up possession of any firearms; return personal property owned by you alone or by you and the abuser (including keys); give you financial assistance and/or spousal support to pay your rent/ mortgage/ bills or other expenses; pay you child support; not remove you and/or your children from his health insurance policy; reimburse you for medical costs, property damage, or other expenses you have due to the abuser's actions (you will have to bring medical bills, receipts, invoices, or estimates to the final hearing).

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