Domestic Violence Protective Orders
DVPOs are restraining orders in which the plaintiff and the defendant have a certain type of relationship- they current or former spouses, people of the opposite sex who live together currently or formerly, parents and children, grandparents and children, children and caretakers, two people with a child in common, current or former household members, or people of the opposite sex who are in or were formerly in a dating relationship. Civil No Contact Orders are restraining orders between two people who do not have a relationship as described above.
DVPOs may be issued upon the commission of an “act of domestic violence,” which is physical abuse, sexual abuse or the threat of abuse. Typically, the plaintiff receives an Emergency Ex Parte Order, which can include an order that the defendant have no contact with the plaintiff and can require the defendant to surrender firearms and leave the shared home (among other things). This order is ex parte, meaning the defendant is not present for the hearing at which such an order is granted. It is temporary, usually 10 days.
In order for a full DVPO to be awarded, there must be notice to the defendant by service of the complaint and notice of a hearing. At the hearing, both the plaintiff and the defendant have an opportunity to be heard. If the judge finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant, who is in a relationship with the plaintiff as described in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(b), committed an act of domestic violence, then the full DVPO can be entered. The judge can order, among many other things, that the defendant have no contact with the plaintiff, award temporary custody of children, award payments of support, award possession of the shared residence to one party and eviction of the other party, and order the defendant to complete an abuser treatment program. This order is typically in effect for one year.
Violation of a DVPO is an A1 misdemeanor.