Most people have at least heard of a Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO), or sometimes referred to as a 50B Order, but most people don’t really know what it is or how to obtain one. Basically, a DVPO is a Court order meant to protect a domestic violence victim from their abuser. These orders are common when two people have some type of personal relationship and there is an allegation of abuse. Typically, a DVPO is sought when a relationship has come to an end and one person is afraid of what the other person may do.
The first step to acquire a DVPO is to file a Complaint. Once a Complaint is filed, you can request an Emergency Ex Parte Order for temporary possession of the home, vehicle, child, or pet. An Ex Parte Order is an order granted by the Court when the defendant is not present. This order is only temporary and the defendant is required to have an opportunity to have a hearing within 10 days if an Ex Parte Order is granted. At the “10-day hearing” is when the Court will determine if a DVPO should be granted and if so, they typically are in effect for 1 year.
In order for someone to get a DVPO against another person there must be a personal relationship, but it does not have to be a sexual relationship. While it is common between married and unmarried partners, you can obtain a DVPO against others such as parents, children, grandparents, grandchildren, or anyone else that you have a personal relationship with. Once you have established that a personal relationship exists, you must prove to the Court that domestic violence has occurred. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1 states that domestic violence occurs when someone with whom you have a personal relationship has either:
- Attempted to cause bodily injury, or intentionally caused bodily injury; or
- Placed the other person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict serious emotional distress; or
- Committed any of the sexual acts defined in G.S. 14-27.21 or G.S. 14-27.33
DVPO’s can be very specific in the restrictions that are placed on the person accused of domestic violence. The most common restrictions usually include:
- No contact with victim
- No possession of firearms
- ACourt order to not harm, threaten, or harass the victim
- If a child exists between the victim and their abuser, the Court may order a temporary custody order
- The Court will may also grant temporary possession of the home or vehicle to the victim if they are shared in ownership between the victim and abuser
While DVPO’s are a beneficial tool used to protect domestic violence victims from further violence or emotional distress, they are sometimes abused. Typically, the only evidence of alleged domestic abuse is the testimony of the Plaintiff. If someone seeks an Ex Parte Order against someone else and alleges domestic violence, the Courts typically err on the side of caution and grant the 10-day order. Sometimes this process is abused when married couples separate and one spouse accuses the other of domestic violence in order to get an Ex Parte Order so they can be granted temporary custody of their child/children.
DVPO’s have serious consequences once a Court grants the order. For the person that the DVPO is enforced against, they could lose their right to visit their children, live in their home, own a firearm, and sometimes cause them to lose their job. But for true victims of domestic violence, it protects them from unwanted physical harm and contact from their abusers by the threat of jail and criminal prosecution if the DVPO is violated. Here at Ludlum Law Firm, we have experience in helping victims seek DVPO’s and in defending those who have had DVPO Complaints filed against them. If you need help seeking a DVPO or defending yourself from a DVPO, please contact us and allow us to put our expertise to work for you.