Adomestic violence protective order (DVPO), commonly referred to as a 50(b), is a legal protective order that protects people from others that they have previously had a domestic relationship with, or share a common child. These hearings are heard in district court and, compared to most legal proceedings, are heard fairly quickly after they are filed. Generally speaking, an applicant may appear before a judge on the day they file the complaint and ask for ex parte relief. Ex parte relief is:
- only temporary,
- is not a full evidentiary hearing, and
- the opposing party is typically not present in court.
These orders aim to protect the applicant from the threat of a serious and/or immediate threat to the applicant’s well-being, or to the well-being of the applicant’s children and other family members.
AJudge, or sometimes a magistrate, can Order the Defendant to act in a certain manner when a protective order is issued. Examples of what a judge may order includes, but is not limited to:
- issue an Order prohibiting the Defendant from having contact (direct or indirect) with the applicant, or the applicant’s family,
- order the Defendant to vacate a domicile shared by the parties,
- temporarily grant custody of minor children to the applicant,
- order the Defendant to surrender any firearms in the Defendant’s control or prohibit the Defendant from purchasing a firearm for a period of time, and / or
- order the Defendant not to be present at the applicant’s place of business, religious organization, or any educational facility.
When do I qualify for a DVPO?
A person is able to file for a 50(b) if they have any of the following relationships with the Defendant:
- Spouses or former spouses;
- People of the opposite sex who are not married but live together or have lived together;
- Have a child in common;
- Parent and Child or Grandparent and Grandchild relationship;
- Current or former household members;
- Persons of the opposite sex who are in, or have been in a dating relationship.
If any of the aforementioned relationships exist, the Plaintiff would need to be able to show one of the following in order to receive relief from the Court:
- Defendant attempted to, or did intentionally cause, bodily injury;
- Defendant placed Plaintiff, or a member of Plaintiff’s family, in fear of imminent bodily injury;
- Defendant placed Plaintiff, or a member of Plaintiff’s family, in fear of continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress;
- Defendant has committed a sexual offense against me.
How soon after an incident occurs should I seek a DVPO?
You should seek a DVPO as soon as possible after the conduct has occurred as long as you believe that it will not jeopardize your safety, or the safety of your family members.
Can I press criminal charges and seek a DVPO?
Yes. Many cases of domestic violence have both a civil case, like a DVPO, and a criminal case that emerge out of the same incident. Oftentimes, law enforcement may arrest the Defendant to eliminate the immediate threat to you which gives the Plaintiff enough time to file a DVPO and be heard in front of a judge before the Defendant is released from police custody.
If you need assistance in prosecuting or defending a domestic violence protective order, please reach out to one of our experienced family law attorneys for an evaluation of the ways we can assist at 336-379-0539. Our law firm is located at 436 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27401. Contact Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson for all of your legal needs. We’re Here to Help!