Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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A California woman is experiencing divorce in a way that has her fearing for her life.  Patricia and Ronald Dunn are residents of Los Angeles and are in the process of getting divorced.  However, Ronald is less than happy with the idea of divorcing Patricia.  To say this is a contentious divorce is an understatement.  At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 15, Ronald first arrived at the couple’s home in the Westmont neighborhood of South Los Angeles in his Chevy Impala.  He crashed the car into the home while Patricia was still inside.  Ronald then left and later returned with a dump truck, crashing that into the home as well.  Ronald then backed up the dump truck and rammed multiple vehicles parked along the street.   

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Colleen Hoover is unstoppable. To say she is a best-selling novelist is an understatement. In 2022, Hoover held six of the top ten spots on The New York Times’ paperback fiction best-seller list. She has sold more than 20 million books. Her social media presence reaches far and wide. She has roughly 3.9 million followers across platforms and that number continues to grow each day. Reviews of her books have become a sensation on TikTok.

With such a large following, her fans, known as “CoHorts,” are sure to make their opinions known. As a result, it is no surprise the CoHorts were quick to speak out when Hoover announced her plans to design an adult coloring book based on her bestseller “It Ends With Us.”

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Many victims of domestic abuse who flee their abuser have to leave the state where the abuse occurred for a number of reasons. If you find yourself in this difficult situation and have moved to North Carolina, what does that mean for your ability to get a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO)? As it happens, it can make all the difference.

In North Carolina, courts can only hear claims for DVPOs if the plaintiff demonstrates that the court has personal jurisdiction over the defendant.[1] Personal jurisdiction is the right of that particular court to make decisions and enter orders about that person. If a court is to have personal jurisdiction, the court must comply with two different tests: the North Carolina long-arm statute and the Constitutional right to due process. Continue reading →

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Keenan v. Keenan, 2022-NCCOA-554, No. COA21-579 (Aug. 16, 2022)

In August 2020, Plaintiff’s ex-husband came to Plaintiff’s house to cut her grass. Seems innocent enough, right? But Defendant ex-husband had a history of physically, verbally, and emotionally abusing Plaintiff, had been texting Plaintiff inappropriate things, had been told multiple times not to come to Plaintiff’s house, and wouldn’t leave even though Plaintiff told him to four times. That context makes the situation seem very different, doesn’t it? Plaintiff got so nervous about what Defendant might do that it gave her a panic attack, and she filed for a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO). The DVPO was granted because the trial court found that Defendant placed “the aggrieved party or a member of [her] family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment, as defined in [N.C.G.S. §] 14-277.3A, that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress.” (N.C.G.S. § 50B-1 (a)(2)) Continue reading →

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Plaintiff filed a complaint and motion for domestic violence protective order (DVPO) on March 12, 2021.  When using form AOC-CV-303, Plaintiff described no instances where Defendant either threatened to use or actually used a firearm in the context of domestic violence.  However, Plaintiff did describe instances of harassment.   Additionally, when prompted by the form AOC-CV-303 regarding whether Defendant had firearms and ammunition in his possession, Plaintiff noted that she was uncertain of how many or where Defendant kept his firearms and ammunition given the parties had been divorced since March of 2016.  In addition to leaving the space blank on the form AOC-CV-303 as to whether the Defendant had a “pattern of threatened use of violence with a firearm against any persons,” Plaintiff also did not indicate that she wished the Court to prohibit Defendant from possessing or purchasing firearms.

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Plaintiff filed a complaint and motion for domestic violence protective order (hereinafter “DVPO”) on March 12, 2021.  When using form AOC-CV-303, Plaintiff described no instances where Defendant either threatened use or actually used a firearm in the context of domestic violence.  However, Plaintiff did describe instances of harassment.   Additionally, when prompted by the form AOC-CV-303 regarding whether Defendant had firearms and ammunition in his possession, Plaintiff noted that she was uncertain of how many or where Defendant kept his firearms and ammunition given the parties had been divorced since March of 2016.  In addition to leaving the space blank on the form AOC-CV-303 as to whether the Defendant had a “pattern of threatened use of violence with a firearm against any persons,” Plaintiff also did not indicate that she wished the Court to prohibit Defendant from possessing or purchasing firearms.

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KEENAN V. KEENAN, 2022-NCCOA-554.

Facts: Plaintiff and Defendant were divorced. In August of 2022, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant came to her home to cut some grass despite Plaintiff telling Defendant not to do so. Defendant then refused to leave the home when Plaintiff asked several times. It should be noted that Plaintiff communicated to Defendant that Plaintiff’s brother had already made plans to address the lawn. Plaintiff alleged that she was very afraid of Defendant due to his past acts of emotional/physical abuse and past text messages. A temporary ex parte domestic violence protective order (DVPO) was granted. At the return hearing, the trial court granted the DVPO against Defendant. Defendant argued that he had a reason to cut the grass, as he thought the long grass was dangerous and sought to protect the children and their best interests. Defendant appealed. Continue reading →

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In Re TB, 2022-NCSC-43.

Facts: In January of 2019, Mecklenburg County DSS filed a petition alleging that the minor child in this action was neglected and dependent. They later moved her to foster care. The petition was initiated when police reported a domestic violence incident in the child’s home in early January, in which the father was arrested. When DSS spoke to Father and Mother after the incident, and both admitted to smoking marijuana, Father acknowledged he had mental health needs and that he had been in treatment for domestic violence through NOVA in the past. Mother said that she would have left Father if she had more family support. Father said he was willing to leave the family home. Father then agreed to go to Monarch for mental health assessment, and both parents agreed to submit to random drug screening. Continue reading →

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Hitchcock v. Rupert, 2022-NCCOA-268 (2022) (unpublished).

In North Carolina, domestic violence falls under Chapter 50B of the General Statutes. It serves to protect a party who is or was in a relationship with the perpetrator. Harassment can rise to a level where a domestic violence order of protection is proper. Below is an example of conduct that rises to that level. Continue reading →

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Samantha S. Erks, JD

Same-sex dating relationships are just like opposite-sex relationships in many respects: meeting, dating, and, hopefully, moving on to something deeper. Sometimes, however, just like in opposite sex relationships, same-sex relationships eventually do not work out. And sometimes, same-sex relationships REALLY do not work out and, just like in opposite sex relationships, things can get scary. When that happens, when someone is threatening or stalking their ex, one would hope that an LGBTQ victim would be able to rely on the courts to protect them through a domestic violence protective order in the same way that a straight victim could. Until this year, however, that was not the case. Continue reading →