Domestic Violence Protective Orders in North Carolina

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According to the American Bar Association, 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted every year by a domestic partner. Cases of domestic abuse have a widespread effect on both the couple and any children involved.

If you or your minor child have been a victim of domestic abuse, you should reach out to an attorney about a domestic violence protective order (DVPO). In North Carolina, DVPOs are also referred to as 50B orders and restraining orders. No matter what someone calls it, it is a civil tool intended to protect you from someone you had or have a personal relationship with who may try to harm you.

When you feel a DVPO is necessary to keep you or you and your family safe, call a protective order lawyer from Breeden Law Office right away. We are here to listen to your situation, ascertain your options in regard to the law, and advise you on the best means of keeping you safe. If you are eligible for a DVPO or another type of restraining order, then we will guide you through this court process.

Contact North Carolina domestic violence lawyer Jonathan Breeden today at (919) 661-4970 to find out how he can help you through this difficult time in your life.

How do I file a restraining order?

Who Can File a Restraining Order?

Many of the forms you will need to fill out can be found online through the North Carolina courts website.

You can also find instructions on the court’s website or visit the Clerk of Court’s office in your county.

An experienced North Carolina family lawyer can also help you with paperwork or answer any questions you have regarding restraining orders.

You may petition the court to implement a temporary or long-term DVPO if you or your minor child were the victims of domestic abuse at the hands of someone you had or have a personal relationship with.

Personal relationships include:

  • Current or previous romantic or sexual partners
  • Anyone you have a child with
  • Family members
  • Household members you currently or at one point lived with

If you are unsure whether you have or had a personal relationship with someone you currently are afraid will hurt you, call a restraining order lawyer right away. If you are not eligible for a DVPO, you may be eligible for a different type of restraining order.

Domestic Violence Laws

Domestic violence includes when someone you have or had a personal relationship with who:

  • Tries to cause your or your minor child bodily injury
  • Intentionally causes you or your child bodily injury
  • Places you, a family member, or a household member in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  • Continually harasses you in such a way that it inflicts substantial emotional distress
  • Commits rape or another sexual offense against you or your minor child

If you and your children have been victims of domestic abuse and you want to take steps to end the situation and protect yourself, contact a protective order lawyer from Breeden Law Office right away. We will discuss the process of obtaining a DVPO.

What Can a DVPO Do?

A 50B order can provide the following types of relief:

  • Grant a residence to one of the parties and exclude the other
  • Evict one of the parties from shared housing
  • Require a party to provide a spouse and children with alternative housing
  • Award spousal support to one of the parties
  • Award temporary child custody to one of the parties
  • Determine who gets to keep a pet
  • Order a party to refrain from threatening, harassing, abusing, or otherwise interfering with the other party
  • Require one party to pay the other’s attorney’s fees
  • Prohibit a party from purchasing a gun
  • Require the party to hand over any firearms to the police
  • Require a party to attend a domestic violence treatment program

Steps for Getting a Restraining Order

If you believe you are eligible for a DVPO, the first step is to contact a protective order lawyer. An attorney will guide you through the process of petitioning the court for a protective order.

Your lawyer will determine where you should file for the 50B order. You may file in the county where you live, or you may choose to file in the county where the abuser lives. Next, you will fill out the necessary paperwork and file it with the appropriate court.

Ex Parte Orders

An ex parte order is a temporary restraining order which provides immediate protection to the party filing for ten days. If you need an ex-parte order (also known as an emergency order), then you should ask the court. Ex-parte orders can be granted without the other party being present.

A motion for an ex parte order must be heard within 72 hours of its filing or by the end of the next day that court is in session, whichever happens, sooner. In almost all cases, the motion for ex parte relief is heard the same day you request it.

However, if a judge reviews the paperwork and determines that the domestic violence likely occurred, the ex parte order can be granted that same day. The ex parte order will be enforced starting the day and time the accuser has been served with a copy by the sheriff’s department.

If you want more than an emergency order, we will also file the paperwork for a long-term protective order. The hearing for this will be scheduled within 10 days. Your abuser must be notified of the full hearing. Your protective order attorney will ensure they receive lawful notice.

The other party has the right to attend the hearing and tell their side of the story. This is an intimidating prospect, but at Breeden Law Office, we will do everything in our power to keep you safe during this time. We will also passionately argue for the judge to grant your 50B order, which can last up to one year.

Final Protective Orders

At the hearing, if the court finds that a party has committed an act of domestic violence, it can issue a protective order, known also as a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), a 50B order, or a restraining order. The protective order will likely stipulate that a party refrain from the act of domestic violence and can include, but is not limited to, any of the following orders:

  • Have no contact with the party requesting the order along with their family
  • Stay away from any place the party requesting the order receives shelter, works, goes to school, or anywhere else they may be located
  • Give one party residence of the household and order the other to vacate
  • Order one party to pay spousal support or child support, if applicable
  • Order a party to attend an abuser treatment program
  • Award temporary custody of minor children to one party and outline temporary visitation to the other party, if applicable
  • Order a party to refrain from purchasing firearms for a specified period of time

Protective orders are issued for a fixed time period of not more than one year, but they can be extended for not more than two more years if a motion to extend is filed.

Extending or Modifying Protective Orders

Protective orders do not last forever. If your DVPO expires in the next couple of months and you still fear for your and your child’s safety, contact an attorney immediately.

They can examine your situation to determine if you can show a judge that there is good cause to continue the protective order for a longer period of time. If there is, then they will help file the paperwork to have your order extended for up to two years.

Protection for Minor Children

As with all other cases involving minor children, the court strives to do what is in the best interest of the children. When determining if a party is fit for temporary custody of children and the other party is fit for visitation rights, the court has many factors to consider, most importantly being the safety of the child.

The court will gather information including whether the child was present during the acts of domestic violence, whether the child was threatened, and whether the child received a physical or sexual injury, as well as other details.

Besides custody and visitation, the court may make any of the following decisions:

  • Have the parties exchange the child in the presence of a third party, a police department, or a public setting where all parties will feel protected
  • Order supervised visitations
  • Refrain from allowing visitations that include overnights
  • Elect to have the noncustodial parent pay any costs related to the visitation
  • Appoint a guardian ad litem

Other Types of Restraining Orders

A DVPO is not the only type of protective order offered in North Carolina. There is also a civil no-contact order, known as a 50C order, that is used to protect you from stalking and non-consensual sexual conduct by someone you never had an intimate relationship with and is not a family member.

No-contact orders are appropriate if you are being harassed or stalked by a co-worker, acquaintance, friend of a friend, neighbor, or stranger.

There are also no-contact orders for victims of registered sex offenders. These are called 50D orders and protect you from an individual who committed a crime against you, which led to them being convicted of a crime and required to register as a sex offender.

Contact a Protective Order Lawyer for Help Today

If you and your children have been victims of domestic violence and you want to put a stop to it, then a protective order is an option. At Breeden Law Office, a North Carolina protective order attorney will guide you through the process of obtaining a 50B order. Attorney Jonathan Breeden will handle all of the administrative tasks so that you can focus on building a healthy and safe life for you and your children.

To learn more about obtaining a restraining order, contact us at (919) 661-4970.

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