Legal Information: North Carolina

Restraining Orders

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February 14, 2022

What types of civil no-contact orders are there? How long do they last?

In North Carolina, there are two types of civil no-contact orders:

  1. A temporary civil no-contact order, and
  2. A permanent civil no-contact order (for one year).

A temporary civil no-contact order is designed to provide you with immediate protection from the abuser/stalker. A judge may issue an ex parte temporary order on the same day you file your complaint for a civil no-contact order (without giving the offender a chance to be heard at the initial hearing) if s/he believes that there is a serious and immediate danger to you.1

The temporary order will generally last for up to 10 days until the court hearing where the abuser / stalker can be present. The order can be extended (and the hearing can be delayed) if there is “good cause” to do so or if the respondent consents. The temporary order is not valid until the respondent is served with a copy of the order. Note: If you are denied a temporary ex parte order, the judge may still hold a hearing to decide whether or not to grant you a permanent civil no-contact order; that hearing must be scheduled within 30 days from the date that you were denied the ex parte order.2

In order to get a permanent civil no-contact order, you need to have a full court hearing. The abuser or stalker has to be served with notice of the hearing so s/he has an opportunity to attend. At the hearing, you will both have a chance to present evidence, witnesses and testimony to prove your case. It may be best to have an attorney present at this hearing to make sure your rights are protected. A permanent no-contact civil order lasts up to one year. You can ask the court to extend the order, but you must do so before it expires.3 For more information on extending a permanent order, see Can I file to extend my final civil no-contact order beyond one year?

1 NCGS § 50C-6
2 NCGS § 50C-8(a)
3 NCGS § 50C-8(c)

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