At the David W. Martin Law Group, our South Carolina family law attorney knows there is a lot of confusion surrounding domestic violence and abuse claims, who is eligible to pursue an order of protection, and when, and how long they are enforced.
Here, we hope to clear up any confusion, so our clients know what they are up against when someone accuses them of domestic violence.
What is the Legal Definition of Domestic Abuse in South Carolina?
To get an order of protection, South Carolina law defines domestic abuse as when a family or household member (a spouse/ex-spouse, someone with whom they share a child, or someone they cohabitated with romantically) does any of the following to another:
- Physically harms or threatens to harm.
- Causes bodily injury.
- Commits a sexual criminal offense.
If you have been accused of domestic violence in South Carolina, the individual who makes these allegations may pursue an Order of Protection against you.
What Types of Orders of Protection are Available in South Carolina?
In South Carolina, there are two types of domestic violence orders of protection: Temporary Orders of Protection and Final Orders of Protection.
A temporary order of protection may be issued upon request of an emergency hearing that will be held within 24 hours of the alleged domestic violence incident. South Carolina is unique in that it requires the alleged abuser to be notified before the hearing, so he or she may appear and defend themselves against the abuse allegations.
In South Carolina, a temporary order of protection can:
- Order the individual not to abuse or threaten to abuse the individual seeking protection.
- Order the individual not to communicate with or try to communicate with the individual seeking protection.
- Order the individual to stay away from any place requested, including the individual seeking protection’s school, home, child’s daycare, or workplace.
The temporary order is generally in effect for 15 days at which point a full court hearing will be held for a final order of protection.
In South Carolina, a final order of protection is only issued after a full court hearing, where both parties can present their sides of the story through evidence and testimony and can order the same protection as temporary orders, but also adds:
- An award for temporary custody and visitation rights of shared children.
- Order the alleged abuser to pay temporary financial support for the individual and any shared children.
- Grant temporary possession of the shared home even if the respondent has a legal duty to support the individual and shared children.
- Forbid the individual from selling or getting rid of income, homes, or property shared with the alleged victim.
- Order who will get temporary possession of the personal property.
- Order law enforcement to help the alleged victim remove the personal property from the home if he or she is leaving.
- Order the individual to pay for court costs and the other person’s attorney’s fees.
Final orders of protection last for between six months and one year. In either case, the judge will base his or her decision on the facts of your case. Having a skilled family lawyer by your side can help ensure your side of the story is properly presented.
Call 803-548-2468 or contact us online to learn more about your legal rights and options to pursue the best outcome for your unique case by partnering with our dedicated South Carolina domestic violence family law attorneys today.