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Legal Information: North Carolina

Restraining Orders

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Laws current as of December 22, 2023

What types of protective orders are there? How long do they last?

In North Carolina, there are two types of domestic violence protective orders:

  1. ex parte temporary protective orders; and
  2. final domestic violence protective orders, also called a DVPO or a 50B order.

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.1

An ex parte temporary protective order will protect you until your full court hearing takes place, usually within ten days from when the order is granted or within seven days from the date the respondent is served, whichever occurs later.1Note: 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, 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.2 (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.

1 NCGS § 50B-2(c)(5)
2 NCGS § 50B-3(b)