For its victims and survivors, domestic violence is truly terrifying. The actions of the abuser have stripped them of their trust, their security, and any peace of mind. When the abuser is out there and remains a safety threat, one of the few tools that a victim has is to seek a domestic violence protective order (DVPO).
What is a DVPO?
A DVPO is a court order that restricts an abuser from being in the physical proximity of the victim, or harassing the victim via telephone, email, or mail. In addition, a DVPO may address the victim’s living situation by expelling an abusive spouse from the home.
Protective orders are granted if the aggrieved party can demonstrate that a person with whom they had a personal relationship committed one or more of the following acts: (1) attempted or caused bodily injury; (2) engaged in continuous harassment or placed the victim in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; or (3) committed some form of criminal conduct specified by statute.
Ex-Parte Protective Order
When a motion for emergency relief is filed, a court will generally be asked to issue an ex parte order. This is a temporary protective order issues without the presence of the abuser and prior to a full hearing. The court can enter this order if it finds that “there is a danger of acts of domestic violence against the aggrieved party or a minor child.” These orders last only until the court has conducted a full hearing, which is supposed to occur within ten days of when a summons is issued for the defendant.
DVPO May Not Exceed One Year
North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 50B (Domestic Violence) provides that DVPO’s “shall be [entered] for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year.” Unfortunately, one year is simply not enough protection against some abusive people. Therefore, upon a showing of good cause, the court is authorized to renew protective orders “for a fixed period of time not to exceed two years” so long as the aggrieved person files a motion for the renewal prior to the expiration date. In addition, the statute allows for renewals of orders that were already previously renewed. An exception to this is a temporary custody order that is part of a DVPO, which cannot be renewed beyond the original one year.
If you are interested in safely separating from an abusive partner, please seek help. New Direction Family Law has spent years fighting to protect victims of domestic violence and will use every tool at our disposal to seek orders to protect you and your children. We serve Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Call our office today at (919) 719-3470 to arrange a discreet consultation, or visit us online at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law