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How to Get a Domestic Violence Protective Order in North Carolina

If you are a victim of domestic violence in North Carolina, you may be able to file for a protective order. Domestic violence protective orders (DVPO; also called 50B orders) are court orders that prohibit an abuser from being near a victim. DVPOs provide a certain level of security if you are fearful that someone you have a close relationship with will try to harm you.

A DVPO can be filed during the divorce process as well, if one spouse harasses or threatens the other. A Greensboro divorce lawyer can help you obtain a domestic violence protective order.

DVPO v. No-Contact Order

A no-contact order is intended for people with no personal relationship, such as neighbors or co-workers. Spouses and former spouses can file for DVPOs. The extreme emotions often involved in a divorce can cause already-existing abuse to escalate and lead to new harassment or violence, which is why protective orders are not uncommon during divorce proceedings. DVPOs are also available for people in any of the following relationships[1]:

  • People who have lived together
  • People who have a child togetherpo
  • Couples who are dating or previously dated
  • Parents and children
  • Grandparents and grandchildren

Domestic violence protective orders can last up to one year, but victims can seek renewal if needed.

DVPOs do not appear on a criminal record because they are not considered criminal convictions, but the court documents are public record. These orders have the potential to provide protection to victims of domestic violence, and the impact they have on both parties is why they should not be taken lightly.

Providing Evidence to Support a DVPO

If you plan on filing for a DVPO, you will need to prove that an act of domestic violence was committed by the defendant. If your spouse committed any of the following acts[2], you could qualify to receive a protective order:

  • Physically injured you or attempted to injure you
  • Caused you to fear serious bodily injury
  • Continuously harassed you and caused emotional distress
  • Committed sexual assault

Providing competent evidence of this abuse or harassment is crucial, which the case of Walker-Snyder v. Snyder[3] shows. The plaintiff in this case filed for a DVPO for herself and the parties’ daughter against the defendant, her ex-husband. The trial court found that the texts sent from the defendant to the parties’ daughter caused emotional distress, and they granted the protective order for the parties’ daughter but not for the plaintiff.

The defendant appealed, claiming that there was no competent evidence to suggest his texts were tormenting or terrifying to his daughter. He also appealed on the basis that the trial court lacked jurisdiction. The North Carolina Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court in regard to jurisdiction, but they vacated the DVPO issued by the lower court. It was determined that the plaintiff’s original claim lacked competent evidence of domestic violence.

In order to be granted a DVPO, you must provide evidence of domestic violence. You can trust the Woodruff Family Law Group to help you gather relevant evidence and file for a DVPO. Call us today to schedule your consultation.

[1] NC Judicial Branch. How to Get a Protective Order.

[2] Id.

[3] Walker-Snyder v. Snyder, 281 N.C. App. 715.