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How to Obtain Protection from Domestic Violence in North Carolina

If you or someone you care about has been a victim of domestic violence in Weddington North Carolina, it is important to understand that there are laws in place to help protect you. As of late, certain high-profile occurrences of domestic violence have been in the headlines across the country – bringing the issue of domestic violence and abuse to the forefront of discussions in America’s pop culture. This has happened not a moment too soon. This is because for too many years, the topic of domestic violence against men and women has remained hidden in what may otherwise present to outsiders as perfectly normal relationships between couples. It is not uncommon, however, for domestic violence incidents to trigger a divorce and child custody battles in Weddington, North Carolina. Domestic abuse and domestic violence can rip families apart. Below is some basic information regarding North Carolina’s domestic violence laws so that anyone affected by it –victims, witnesses, friends, or family members – can understand what to do.

Weddington’s Domestic Violence Laws

North Carolina’s General Assembly passed a law in 1979 created to supply legal remedies to those who are survivors of domestic violence. The state’s domestic violence law is comprised of Chapter 50B of the North Carolina General Statutes. Chapter 50B provides guidelines for state District Courts when hearing domestic violence matters and provides protections under the law to these victims. What is provided for in Chapter 50B, however, are action and remedies that are set apart and offer different remedies from any criminal charges that may be brought as a result of acts of domestic violence.

Generally, Chapter 50B allows for a domestic violence victim to seek and obtain a protective order from a North Carolina court. This order would require that the abuser keep his or her distance from the victim. Under the law, if an abuser violates a standing protective order, he or she may be held in contempt, sent to jail, and incur other penalties.

Seeking Relief from a Court

Someone who is interested in seeking and obtaining a protective order against an abuser in Weddington, North Carolina must visit the appropriate courthouse in the county where the victim resides. The victim can then complete a Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence Protective Order and submit it to the clerk at the county courthouse. The form can be found online, as well as instructions on how to complete the document.

Notwithstanding access to the form and instructions online, it is generally better to fill out the forms at the courthouse. This is because the person submitting the Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence submit the forms under oath and swear that the allegations made in the complaint are true. Moreover, when a person fills out their complaint at the courthouse the clerk acknowledges the person has sworn to the truthfulness of content of the document and ensures that it is properly filed with the court.

Obtaining a Temporary Restraining Order

After the Complaint and Motion for Domestic Violence form is filed with the court, a victim can then request to have a temporary restraining order “ex parte,” without the other party against whom the restraining order is sought being present. A court may issue a temporary restraining order if the victim of domestic violence attests that he or she, as well as immediate children or family members are in immediate danger. There are specific findings a judge is required make before they are able to grant a temporary restraining order. Likewise, there are specific restrictions that a court may place on someone who is found to have committed acts of domestic violence.

Regardless of whether a temporary restraining order has been entered, the Complaint and Motion for Protective Order must then be served upon the person the complainant alleges has committed acts of domestic violence. In order to serve this document, it must be accompanied by a Summons and can be provided to the local sheriff – in most cases – for service upon the person who has been accused of domestic violence (known as the Defendant). After the Defendant has been served, the Summons is returned to the court as proof that service was perfected. It is critical that the Defendant is properly and timely served with both the Summons and Complaint - and there are several methods to do so - so that the matter is not dismissed by the court. Of note, temporary restraining orders only last 10 days.

Legal Help Available

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC in Weddington, North Carolina, our attorneys are experienced at handling restraining-order actions, including domestic violence restraining orders. The family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC regularly support those who are seeking protective orders in addition to those who believe that an order of protection has been wrongly brought against them. Contact one of our knowledgeable family law attorneys today.