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Searching 2023-2024 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

The Vermont Statutes Online have been updated to include the actions of the 2023 session of the General Assembly.

NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.

Title 15 : Domestic Relations

Chapter 021 : Abuse Prevention

Subchapter 001 : General Provisions

(Cite as: 15 V.S.A. § 1104)
  • § 1104. Emergency relief

    (a) In accordance with the Vermont Rules of Civil Procedure, temporary orders under this chapter may be issued ex parte, without notice to the defendant, upon motion and findings by the court that the defendant has abused the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both. The plaintiff shall submit an affidavit in support of the order, which may be sworn to or affirmed by administration of the oath over the telephone to the applicant by an employee of the Judiciary authorized to administer oaths and shall conclude with the following statement: “I declare under the penalty of perjury pursuant to the laws of the State of Vermont that the foregoing is true and accurate. I understand that making false statements is a crime subject to a term of imprisonment or a fine, or both, as provided by 13 V.S.A. § 2904.” The authorized person shall note on the affidavit the date and time that the oath was administered. A minor 16 years of age or older, or a minor of any age who is in a dating relationship as defined in subdivision 1101(2) of this chapter, may seek relief on the minor’s own behalf. Relief under this section shall be limited as follows:

    (1) Upon a finding that there is an immediate danger of further abuse, an order may be granted requiring the defendant:

    (A) to refrain from abusing the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, or from cruelly treating as defined in 13 V.S.A. § 352 or 352a or killing any animal owned, possessed, leased, kept, or held as a pet by either party or by a minor child residing in the household;

    (B) to refrain from interfering with the plaintiff’s personal liberty or the personal liberty of the plaintiff’s children, or both;

    (C) to refrain from coming within a fixed distance of the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s children, the plaintiff’s residence, or the plaintiff’s place of employment;

    (D) to refrain from contacting the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, in any way, whether directly, indirectly, or through a third party, with the purpose of making contact with the plaintiff, including in writing or by telephone, e-mail, or other electronic communication; or

    (E) to immediately relinquish, until the expiration of the order, all firearms that are in the defendant’s possession, ownership, or control and to refrain from acquiring or possessing any firearms while the order is in effect.

    (2) Upon a finding that the plaintiff or the plaintiff’s children, or both, have been forced from the household and will be without shelter unless the defendant is ordered to vacate the premises, the court may order the defendant to vacate immediately the household and may order sole possession of the premises to the plaintiff.

    (3) Upon a finding that there is immediate danger of physical or emotional harm to minor children, the court may award temporary custody of these minor children to the plaintiff or to other persons.

    (b) Every order issued under this section shall contain the name of the court, the names of the parties, the date of the petition, and the date and time of the order and shall be signed by the judge. Every order issued under this section shall inform the defendant that if he or she fails to appear at the final hearing, the temporary order will remain in effect until the final order is served on the defendant unless the temporary order is dismissed by the court. Every order issued under this section shall state upon its face a date, time, and place when the defendant may appear to petition the court for modification or discharge of the order. This opportunity to contest shall be scheduled as soon as reasonably possible, which in no event shall be more than 14 days from the date of issuance of the order. At such hearings, the plaintiff shall have the burden of proving abuse by a preponderance of the evidence. If the court finds that the plaintiff has met his or her burden, it shall continue the order in effect and make such other order as it deems necessary to protect the plaintiff.

    (c) Form complaints and form orders shall be provided by the Court Administrator and shall be maintained by the clerks of the courts.


    (e) Affidavit forms required pursuant to this section shall bear the following language: “MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS IN THIS AFFIDAVIT IS A CRIME SUBJECT TO A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT OR A FINE, OR BOTH, AS PROVIDED BY 13 V.S.A. § 2904.” (Added 1979, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1985, No. 79, § 4; 1989, No. 294 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 2005, No. 193 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. Oct. 1, 2006; 2013, No. 17, § 9; 2015, No. 153 (Adj. Sess.), § 32; 2017, No. 11, § 48; 2017, No. 44, § 9, eff. May 23, 2017; 2019, No. 176 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. October 8, 2020; 2021, No. 87 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. July 1, 2022; 2021, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 31, 2022.)