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What is domestic abuse in Virginia?

As someone who loves your family, it was likely incredibly hurtful when you found out your spouse accused you of domestic violence. What you thought was a spat ended up causing you serious trouble.

The issue with domestic violence claims is that they cover a wide number of issues. Physical violence is what most people think of when they talk about domestic violence, but emotional abuse, neglect, economic abuse and sexual assault are all different kinds of domestic abuse you could face charges for.

Here's an example that could end up getting you in trouble. Imagine getting into an argument with your spouse. You call him or her a few bad names, make fun of the job they do and even call him or her stupid. While it was in the heat of the moment, that degrading talk is enough to have you face a claim of emotional abuse, a type of domestic violence.

It's important to know that the alleged victim has a right to a protective order, and he or she can even go as far as to try to get your right to child custody taken away or limited. Victims may pursue civil lawsuits to try to recover losses and expenses caused by the situation, too.

In Virginia, family abuse is specifically referred to as acts involving violence, force or threats. Saying something threatening is enough to get you in trouble with the law, even if you did not intend to hurt your spouse. Your attorney can help you understand your rights and what to expect if you face domestic abuse allegations.

Source: FindLaw, "Virginia Domestic Violence Laws," accessed April 18, 2017

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