Know the Laws: North Carolina
UPDATED December 15, 2015
A domestic violence protective order is a civil order that provides protection from someone with whom you have/had a "personal relationship."
This section defines domestic violence for the purposes of getting a domestic violence protective order (DVPO). Domestic violence in North Carolina is when someone you have had a "personal relationship" with does any of the following to you or your minor child:
If you have not had a "personal relationship" with the abuser, harasser or stalker, you may be eligible for a protective order against stalking or harassment. Please see How can I get an order against stalking or sexual harassment (a civil no-contact order)?
* NCGS § 50B-1(a)
In North Carolina, there are two types of domestic violence protective orders:
An ex parte temporary protective order is a court order designed to provide you and your family members with immediate protection from the abuser. A judge may issue an ex parte order the same day you file your complaint for a domestic violence protective order (without the abuser present) if s/he believes that there is a serious and immediate danger to you or your child. If the judge does not issue the ex parte order on the same day, the court must hear the request for an ex parte order within 72 hours or by the end of the next day on which the court is in session in the county of the filing, whichever occurs first.* Note: Hearings held to consider an ex parte temporary protective order may be held via video conference.**
An ex parte temporary protective order will protect you until your full court hearing takes place, usually within 10 days from when the order is granted or within 7 days from the date the respondent is served, whichever occurs later.* Note: The ex parte order will not be able to be enforced until the defendant is served with a copy of the order.
A final domestic violence protective order (also called a DVPO or a 50B order or restraining order) lasts up to one year. You can ask the court to extend the order for an additional two years (with the exception of the custody provisions), but you must do so before it expires.*** (See How do I modify or extend my order?) Before the order is issued, you will have to have a full court hearing to get a final domestic violence protective order. In this hearing, the abuser will have a chance to defend himself/herself. Unlike ex parte hearings, a hearing for a final domestic violence protective order cannot be held via video conference.**
* NCGS § 50B-2(c)(5)
** NCGS § 50B-2(e)
*** NCGS § 50B-3(b)
A DVPO can:
Yes. If there is a pet in your household (owned by you, your child, or the abuser) and you have concerns for your pet’s safety you can ask a judge to order the abuser not to hurt the pet as part of your 50B order. If the abuser is keeping you from your pet or you worry that the abuser may take the pet with him/her, you can also ask that you be the one to keep the pet.* This remedy is available in temporary and final DVPOs. You should also include any information about the abuser hurting or threatening to hurt your pet(s) in the complaint.
* NCGS § 50B-3(a)(8), (9)(b1)
You can file a petition in the county where you live (permanently or temporarily), or in the county where the abuser lives.*
* NCGS § 1-82