Step 1: Go to the courthouse to get and file the necessary forms.
During business hours, go to the clerk of civil court; otherwise, go to the magistrate's office. Tell the clerk or the magistrate that you want to file for a domestic violence protective order (a "DVPO"). If you need the emergency protection of an ex parte/temporary order, also tell the clerk you need an ex parte order. To find contact information for the courthouse in your area, click on NC Courthouse Locations.
You can get the forms you need from the clerk or you can get the forms beforehand online on our Download Court Forms page.
On the complaint, you will be the "plaintiff" and the abuser will be the "defendant." In the space provided, write about the most recent incidents of violence, using specific language (slapping, hitting, grabbing, threatening, etc.) that fits your situation. Include details and dates, if possible. Clerks and magistrates can show you which blanks to fill in, but they cannot help you decide what to write. Do not sign the forms until you are in front of a notary or a clerk.
If the abuser has any firearms, be sure to alert the court so the firearms can be removed from the abuser's possession. If you have children, you may also want to check the box asking for temporary custody. For more information on custody, see our Custody page.