Domestic Violence Protective Order Attorney
What is a domestic violence protective order (50B)?
A 50B, is also known as a restraining order or domestic violence protective order. The reason it’s called a 50B is because the North Carolina General Statute governing restraining order is in NCGS 50B. The goal of this statute is to protect victims from domestic violence and to give them further protections to prevent domestic violence in the future. Our domestic violence attorneys at our law firm fully understand these nuances and what it takes to help someone either get a 50B or defend against one.
What does it take to get a domestic violence protective order (50B)?
For starters, domestic violence protective orders (50B’s) are only allowed between people who are or have been in a personal relationship. And we know this begs the question, with reference to a 50B what is a personal relationship? The statute lays out the following:
- Current or former spouses
- Are person of opposite sex who live together or have lived together
- Are related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren. (Side note – 50B’s are not allowed against children 16 years and younger)
- People who have a child in Common
- Are current or former members of the same household (roommates)
- Are persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a dating relationship. And what is a dating relationship? One where the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. Casual acquaintances or someone you meet up with from time to time does not classify as a dating relationship per the statute.
- Of interest, same sex relationships that have not lived together are unable to get a 50B per the statute. Same sex relationships without living together can seek out a 50C.
What is the difference between a domestic violence restraining order and a regular restraining order? (50B vs 50C)
A standard restraining order is a no-contact order typically found in NCGS 50C. The difference between the two is more so on the enforcement side of things. If a person violates a 50B, it’s a misdemeanor criminal charge. A violation of a 50C, can result in civil contempt after a hearing in front of Guilford County district court judge. Additionally, 50C requires very specific conduct in order to be granted by a Court. The Defendant must have (1) committed a form of non-consensual sexual contact against the victim or (2) on more than one occasion, followed, tormented, terrorized, or terrified the victim to the point that it placed the victim in reasonable fear that the victim, or member of the victim’s family, and has caused substantial emotional distress.
If you have a personal relationship with the person you’re accusing of domestic violence or abuse, what else would you need to get a 50B?
Once a personal relationship has been established in the eyes of the court, then the next question is can that person prove that they’re a victim of domestic violence?
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence is the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child who resides with or in the custody of the aggrieved party. These acts do not include actions which would be considered self-defense.
What is an aggrieved party?
The aggrieved party is the party who is the victim of domestic violence, or the Plaintiff in a 50B action. They are the party who is bringing forth the 50B.
What do I need to show to get a domestic violence protective order (50B) granted in my favor?
The judge needs to make two determinations:
- You have a personal relationship with the abuser; AND
- You have suffered an act of domestic violence.
For a 50B what is the level of proof I’d need to provide to get a domestic violence protective order granted?
For 50B’s the legal standard is a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the judge would need to believe it’s more likely than not that you have a personal relationship with the abuser and it’s more likely than not that you have suffered an act of domestic violence.
The burden of proof for a 50B to be granted is on the aggrieved party, Plaintiff, or the victim of the domestic violence.
What if I need immediate protection from the courts for a domestic violence protective order?
50B allow victims to petition the Court for Ex Parte relief on an immediate, but temporary, basis. When filing a 50B, the Plaintiff may ask the Court to enter a temporary Order protecting the Plaintiff and other members of Plaintiff’s family on a temporary basis until the Court can hear all facts, parties, and circumstances involved. An Ex Parte Order is almost always entered without the Defendant/Abuser being present in Court.
What if I am not the victim of domestic violence, but one of my child is a victim of domestic violence?
The Court can allow a parent or custodian of a minor child to file for 50B protection, including Ex Parte protection, as the Guardian Ad Litem for the minor child.
How much does it cost to file a domestic violence protective order (50B)?
50B actions are free to file in North Carolina; however, the accompanying Attorney’s fees to prosecute the action are likely not free unless you receive assistance for Legal Aid, another local non-profit, or an Attorney taking the case pro bono (for free). Keep in mind that if you file a 50B and then later dismiss the action, the Court can compel you to pay the corresponding costs of filing the action.