What is a Protective Order?

In North Carolina, there are two types of Domestic Violence protective orders:

  1. Ex Parte temporary protective order; and
  2. Domestic Violence Protective Order, also known as a DVPO, 50B or a restraining order.

An ex parte protective order is a temporary court order designed to provide immediate protection from the alleged abuser.  An ex parte order may be granted by a judge the same day someone files a complaint for a domestic violence protective order.  The alleged abuse does not have to be present for the judge to grant an ex parte order if the judge believes that there is a serious and immediate danger.  If a judge does not grant the ex parte order on the same day, the court must hear the request for an ex parte order within 72 hours or by the end of the next day on which the court is in session in the county of the filing, whichever occurs first.

An ex parte order is designed to provide temporary protection until a full court hearing can take place and will not be able to be enforced until the alleged abuser is served with a copy of the order.

A domestic violence protective order (DVPO or 50B) can last up to one year and under certain circumstances may be extended for an additional two years with permission of the court.  Before a DVPO or 50B protective order is issued, you will have to have a full court hearing to get a final DVPO.  As opposed to an ex parte hearing, the alleged abuser will have a chance to defend themselves.

Furthermore, the situation must be one of the following to be able to file a DVPO or 50B restraining order:

  • Intentionally causing, or attempting to cause bodily harm/injury;
  • Putting the other person in fear of serious bodily harm/injury; or
  • Continued harassment that could constitute as rape, stalking, sexual battery, or a sexual offense.

If you are seeking to file a DVPO/50B restraining order, or have a DVPO/50B filed against you, there are a many factors that could be required under court order. The DVPO/50B could order the following:

  • Give custody of the children (if any) to another person;
  • Order payment of child support;
  • Order payment of spousal support;
  • Give possession of property (including pets) to another person;
  • Surrender of any/all firearms, and/or forbid purchase of any firearms;
  • Zero communication/interference between those involved;

Give away possession of the home, order someone away from the home or require one person to provide housing for the other.