The ex-wife of my new husband is constantly calling my cell phone, following me in my car, and making faces at me at the children’s soccer game. I get texts from her calling me names. She even threatened to come to my work. I feel intimidated. Can I get a 50B for domestic violence and harassment?
You may be able to get a 50-C, not a 50-B. A 50-B is a domestic violence protection order that can be obtained if you have certain types of relationships with the defendant. Unfortunately, 50-Bs do not cover relationship problems between a former wife and a new wife. Typically, 50-B relationships are romantic relationships or parent-child type relationships.
You are eligible to get a 50-C against your husband’s ex-wife. Essentially, a victim (you) under the 50-C statute: “Victim.—A person against whom an act of unlawful conduct has been committed by another person not involved in a personal relationship with the person as defined in G.S. 50B-1(b).” G.S. 50C-1(8).
You certainly have facts that suggest a 50C might be appropriate. Harassment, intimidation and stalking, along with physical assault (not suggested by your facts) are all reasons for a 50C.
The process starts with you filing a complaint (a lawsuit) at the courthouse, much like the procedure for a 50B. In fact, in Guilford County, the 50Bs and 50Cs are heard in the same courtroom on the same days. The defendant will not likely be at the first hearing, normally called an ex parte hearing. You will be the only one there and will tell your story, which should be much like “shooting a fish in a barrel.” You can ask for the help of an attorney, particularly if you feel frightened by the thought of speaking in a courtroom. If the judge agrees that you qualify for a 50C, you will be given an order good for 10 days.
At the end of the 10 days, there will be a hearing where both sides will be heard. If the court grants your 50C, the court can give you many forms of relief, including but not limited to the following: (1) an order to stop stalking (following) you; (2) an order to cease harassment (making the faces); (3) an order to not contact you by telephone, written communications, or other electronic means; (4) order the defendant to refrain from entering your place of employment; and (5) order your attorney fees. The soccer game itself may be the hardest to deal with, particularly if the child playing soccer is the child of your defendant. The court could certainly order the defendant not to interfere with you at the soccer game. If the child who plays soccer is your child and unrelated to the defendant in any way, ask the judge to ban this crazy woman from the soccer games.
This blog is revised from a previous Ask Carolyn in The Rhino Times.