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Legal Information: North Carolina

Restraining Orders

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December 22, 2023

What are the steps involved with getting a civil no-contact order?

The steps to get a civil no-contact order are similar to the steps to get a domestic violence protective order. If you have any questions, call the clerk of court. You can find the contact information for your courthouse’s clerk on the NC Courthouse Locations page .

In general, you have to file a complaint for a civil no-contact order in the district court in the county where you live, in the county where the abuser/stalker lives, or in the county where the unlawful conduct took place.1 Service upon the respondent will be done via “personal service” by the sheriff’s department. If the sheriff cannot locate the respondent, s/he can be served by publication, which is explained in the law in subsection (j)(1).2 The respondent has the option of filing a written answer with the court to respond to your allegations in the complaint within ten days of service. If s/he does not answer and does not appear in court, the judge may grant you the order on “default.”3

1 NCGS § 50C-2(a)
2 NCGS §§ 50C-3(b); 1A-4(j)
3 NCGS § 50C-3(a), (c)

How much does a civil no-contact order cost?

A civil no-contact order is free of charge.1

1 NCGS §§ 50C-2(b); 1-82

Will the abuser or stalker be notified that I am trying to get a civil no-contact order against him/her?

The abuser or stalker must be personally served with a copy of your petition, the temporary no-contact order, if there is one, and the notice of the hearing for the final civil no-contact order.1 These legal papers will be served upon the respondent personally by the sheriff and if the sheriff cannot locate the respondent, s/he can be served by publication, which is explained in the law on our Selected North Carolina Statutes page, subsection (j1).2

1 NCGS § 50C-3(b)
2 NCGS §§ 50C-3(b); NC Rules of Civ. Proc. Rule 4(j), (j1)

Will the abuser or stalker have access to my address?

If you tell the clerk that having your address on the court forms would place you or a family member at risk, you can leave out your address from all of the documents filed with the court. However, you have to provide an alternative address to receive notice of any court proceedings or motions made by the respondent.1 You may also apply for the NC Department of Justice Address Confidentiality Program, which allows domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking victims to keep their address safe from possible or former abusers by using the government address for mail and the government forwards the mail to your confidential address.

1 NCGS § 50C-2(d)