Domestic Violence Protective Orders

Domestic Violence Protective Order

A domestic violence restraining order, a court order that provides protection to a victim of domestic violence from his/her abuser, is also referred to as a “DVPO” or “50B” (after the chapter of the North Carolina General Statutes governing such an order).

Under Chapter 50B, Domestic violence is defined in North Carolina as:

(1) Attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury; or

(2) Placing a person or member of the person’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment (stalking as defined in N.C.G.S. 14-277.3A), that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or

(3) Committing any act defined in G.S. 14-27.21 through G.S. 14-27.33 (rape and other sex offenses).

In order to qualify for a domestic violence protective order, the victim and the alleged perpetrator must have or have had a “personal relationship,” meaning the parties are:

(1) current or former spouses;

(2) persons of opposite sex who live together or have lived together;

(3) related as parents and children, including others acting in the place of a parent to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren;

(4) parents of a common child;

(5) current or former household members;

(6) persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship.

If, after a hearing, a court finds that an act of domestic violence has in fact occurred as alleged, the court will grant a protective order restraining the perpetrator from further acts of domestic violence. A protective order may include any of the following types of relief:

(1) Direct a party to refrain from such acts.

(2) Grant to a party possession of the residence or household of the parties and exclude the other party from the residence or household.

(3) Require a party to provide a spouse and his or her children suitable alternate housing.

(4) Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights.

(5) Order the eviction of a party from the residence or household and assistance to the victim in returning to it.

(6) Order either party to make payments for the support of a minor child as required by law.

(7) Order either party to make payments for the support of a spouse as required by law.

(8) Provide for possession of personal property of the parties, including  any animal kept as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household.

(9) Order a party to refrain from doing any of the following:

a. Threatening, abusing, or following the other party.

b. Harassing the other party, including by telephone, visiting the home or workplace, or other means.

b1. Cruelly treating or abusing an animal kept as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household.

c. Otherwise interfering with the other party.

(10) Award attorney’s fees to either party.

(11) Prohibit a party from purchasing a firearm for a time fixed in the order.

(12) Order any party the court finds is responsible for acts of domestic violence to attend and complete an abuser treatment program if the program is approved by the Domestic Violence Commission.

(13) Include any additional prohibitions or requirements the court deems necessary to protect any party or any minor child.

A person who knowingly violates a valid protective order is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. Law enforcement is authorized to arrest and take a person into custody, with or without a warrant, if the officer has probable cause to believe that the person knowingly has violated a valid protective order.

Protective orders remain in effect for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year. For good cause, a court can renew a protective order for a fixed period of time not to exceed two years.

If you need assistance in obtaining or defending a domestic violence protective order, call our law office today.