Domestic Violence - Do I need an attorney?

Last Updated On: 2/2/2018 5:38:11 PM

Suppose you find that you are afraid and feel that you are unsafe. Or you feel a child living with you is unsafe because another person is likely to hurt you or the child. Then you should speak with an attorney about your situation.

How can an attorney help me?

An attorney can give you advice about how the law applies to your situation; what steps you can take to protect yourself; and provide you with the forms and information that you need to seek a domestic violence protective order.

Any time that you are going to appear in court, it is best to have an attorney with you, if possible. An attorney can help you communicate your story clearly to the court. An attorney can present relevant evidence that may impact the court’s decision about whether to grant you a protective order.

How do I find an attorney?

Your local domestic violence program can refer you to Legal Aid of West Virginia. The program can also refer you to a legal clinic or an attorney in your area who may represent you at no cost.

To find out how to get in touch with the domestic violence program that serves your county, go here.  If using your computer isn’t safe for this purpose, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).

If you are not getting services from a domestic violence program, you can apply for legal services from Legal Aid of West Virginia by calling 1.866.255.4370.

What if I cannot get a free attorney?

If you find that you are not able to get free legal assistance, you may decide to hire an attorney. Make sure that you understand how much you will have to pay and if the attorney will charge you by the hour. Ask how much you will be charged for telephone calls, copying, office visits and court hearings. Find out the filing fees, costs of service and charges for court reporters. Find out if it will be cheaper to work mostly with a paralegal instead of the attorney. Ask if there is anything you can do on your case to help reduce the fees. Talk to the attorney about a payment plan. Don’t sign any fee agreement that you do not understand.

This is general legal information. For guidance about your situation, talk to a lawyer.