Domestic Violence Laws in North Carolina

We don’t like bullies and know the profound impact domestic violence has. Let us help you take a stand, protect you and your family from harm, and change your life for the better.

Additionally, children who grow up in households where domestic violence is present may become perpetrators or victims. Millions of Americans deal with domestic violence. When violence is a factor in your child custody case or decision to divorce, the situation becomes incredibly complex and possibly traumatic.

Attorney Jonathan Breeden is an experienced family lawyer who can help whether you are a victim of domestic violence or have been wrongly accused by a former partner. Contact a compassionate North Carolina domestic violence lawyer at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a consultation.

What rights do I have as a victim of domestic violence in North Carolina?

Domestic Violence in North Carolina

People experiencing domestic violence often have many questions about how the law can help them. Jonathan Breeden has the knowledge and experience to answer your questions and represent your interests no matter your family law needs.

  • Domestic Violence Protective Orders– Obtaining a restraining order can be the first step in breaking the cycle of domestic violence and allowing survivors to regain a sense of safety. Learn more about domestic violence protective orders in North Carolina, how to get one, and how an attorney can help.
  • Domestic Violence Court Process– When domestic violence cases go to court, there are hearings and meetings you must attend. For help with this highly emotional, sometimes overwhelming process, contact a lawyer.
  • Violating a Restraining Order– Violation of a domestic violence protective order is a misdemeanor in North Carolina. Learn more about the criminal penalties for violating a restraining order and what to expect from the court process.
  • Domestic Violence & Child Custody– Domestic violence can influence the outcome of child custody complaints in North Carolina. Learn about your options and rights as a parent.
  • Domestic Violence Between Siblings– Sometimes, arguments between siblings go too far. When a disagreement turns aggressive and veers into sibling abuse, it’s important to consult an attorney.
  • Military Domestic Violence Active and former service members face serious consequences if they’re accused of domestic violence. Learn more from an attorney with experience in military family matters.
  • Domestic Violence Resources– Domestic violence survivors don’t have to go through rebuilding their lives alone, nor do perpetrators who want help. Learn more about community resources in Johnston and Harnett counties that can provide support.
  • Restraining Order Process – As a victim of domestic violence, you may be feeling frightened and unsure of what you should do. Know that there are options. Learn more.
  • Criminal Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges– Domestic violence charges can result in criminal penalties. You may face incarceration, fines, and additional charges. Let an attorney help if you’ve been accused of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Court Process

When you have been harmed by domestic violence, you may suddenly become involved in multiple legal matters from hearings regarding protection orders, divorce proceedings, and possible criminal charges. A lawyer should represent your interests and guide you through the court system.

Domestic Violence Hearings

When individuals refer to domestic violence hearings, they usually talk about hearings for protective orders. If you were harmed by someone you have a personal relationship with, you could ask for a domestic violence protective order (DVPO), also known as a 50B order.

When evidence of domestic violence exists, you can obtain an ex parte order without the other person being present. This is a temporary order, put into place until you go through a hearing with the other person there.

At the full DVPO hearing, the other individual has the right to defend themselves. You must prove the domestic violence occurred and that your safety requires the DVPO. If you provide the necessary evidence, the judge will order a long-term restraining order for up to one year. This order is renewable in the future.

Suing for Domestic Violence

If the singular or multiple instances of domestic violence caused you physical injuries, then you may choose to sue your abuser for compensation. This is a separate legal proceeding from obtaining a protective order or any criminal proceedings related to the situation.

Compensation in a Personal Injury Claim

You may pursue compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, physical pain, and mental suffering. You also can seek additional compensation if you now have a long-term or permanent disability or disfigurement.

An Attorney Can Help Pursue a Civil Claim

If you wish to pursue a civil claim against your abuser, you need to work with an experienced attorney. A personal injury claim can require several meetings and court hearings, not to mention collecting and presenting evidence. A lawyer will explain what you should expect and ensure you are prepared.

Domestic Violence: Divorce & Child Custody

If you seek a divorce from your abuser, or you share children and need to ask for custody, you should work with a divorce attorney with experience in similar cases who can articulate how domestic violence impacted your family.

Property Distribution & Support

Domestic violence can influence property distribution, spousal support, and child support. If you establish that you were the victim of abuse during your marriage, you may successfully argue for a more significant percentage of the marital estate.

You might wish to fight for more of your shared assets if you were financially restricted or taken advantage of during the marriage. After proving domestic violence, you may also use this as support for your right to alimony and a higher amount of support for a more extended period.

Child Custody

Whether or not a child custody matter is a part of a divorce, it can be greatly influenced by domestic violence claims.

Establishing that you and/or your children were victims of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse can support you in receiving full legal and physical custody of the children. It may also provide leverage for you to ask for your child’s other parent to only have supervised visitation.

In either a divorce or custody matter, you can expect multiple hearings. Some of these you must attend, and others your attorney can represent you.

Criminal Charges

Separate from any civil claims or your divorce, domestic violence is illegal in North Carolina.It is also not a singular crime. For example, you or a former partner can be charged with assault, battery, stalking, harassment, or a sex offense.

Domestic violence may be between:

  • Current and former spouses
  • Individuals who live together while in a romantic relationship
  • Parents and children
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • Individuals who have a child together
  • Current or former household members

North Carolina Domestic Violence FAQs

If you are dealing with a domestic violence situation, you likely have many questions.

What Resources Are Available for Victims?

If you are the victim of domestic violence, you should immediately call 911 if you’re in danger and leave the situation. However, that can be difficult. You can start by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233. Some other local resources that might help include:

What If I Am Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

If someone falsely accuses you of domestic violence, you need to contact a lawyer. In addition to impacting your family law case, you could be at risk of being arrested. Additionally, you should keep a journal documenting all interactions with your accuser, collect written statements from witnesses, and document alleged abuse with photographs and videos.

Are There Different Types of Protective Orders?

Yes, there are different types of protective orders in North Carolina. A Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), often called a 50B Order, provides relief from current or previous romantic or sexual partners, anyone you have a child with, family members, or household members you currently or previously lived with. There are also no-contact orders and other restraining orders designed for other purposes.

Are Men Victims of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence affects people throughout the United States regardless of gender identity, age, economic status, race, religion, education level, sexual orientation, or religion. As much as 18% of domestic violence occurs against men. That number may be higher because men report domestic violence less frequently.

Does the Economy Affect Domestic Violence?

Although a bad economy does not cause domestic violence, it can limit the options for victims. Additionally, job loss, debt, and other factors can contribute to higher stress levels. This can lead to increased rates of domestic violence.

How Can I Help Someone Experiencing Domestic Violence?

If you know someone who is experiencing domestic violence, you can start by having a conversation. Gather phone numbers and websites for them and present these resources to them. If you are present when abuse occurs, you can call the police to report the incident. However, you should not put yourself at risk.


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