Unfortunately, a number of divorces and separations begin with domestic violence. The North Carolina legislature enacted Chapter 50B of the North Carolina General Statutes to assist a spouse or individual that was the subject of domestic violence. Chapter 50B is a civil remedy that can among other things immediately get the perpetrator of domestic violence out of the house so as to protect the victim.
The domestic violence statutes in North Carolina not only protect Husbands and Wives but also parties that have lived together, have a child in common or are otherwise related by blood. The process for obtaining a domestic violence protective order is to file the appropriate paperwork with the Clerk of Court in the county where the alleged event took place. The Clerk of Court will then take the paperwork before a judge and you will be asked certain questions about what you have alleged happened between you and the other party. If the judge finds that domestic violence has taken place, he/she will issue an ex parte (without the other party present) domestic violence protective order and set a return hearing date within 10 days. The return date will give the sheriff’s department a chance to serve the ex parte domestic violence protective order on the other party. On the hearing date, the other party will be present and able to present his/her evidence in defense of the allegations made by the victim. If the Court finds after a hearing that domestic violence has taken place the remedies available to the court are varied, including but not limited to a restraining order for a period of one year, temporary custody and temporary support. It is important to note that the order entered by the Court is valid for one year unless a petition to extend the order is filed and granted. If you have obtained a domestic violence protective order that awarded you custody, it will expire one year from the date it was entered or sooner if ordered by the Court.
After the other party has been served with the domestic violence protective order (either the ex parte or the final order) then he/she shall not contact the victim in any manner, including emails, voicemail, through third parties or otherwise or they will be in violation of the order. A violation of this provision is a criminal misdemeanor and the party violating this provision can be arrested and placed in jail pending a bond.
Often but not always, a criminal assault or other charge is filed in conjunction with a domestic violence action under Chapter 50B. This is a very serious matter and you should consult your attorney prior to dealing with either your Chapter 50B case or your criminal matter as the same evidence that may be introduced in one may be used at the other hearing even though the outcomes and consequences are different. The criminal matter is a charge depending on your prior record that may involve jail time and should not be taken lightly.
If you are the victim or the alleged perpetrator of domestic violence it is important to know what the laws are surrounding the North Carolina Domestic Violence laws. Further, it is important to understand how a domestic violence action may ultimately affect your custody, visitation, alimony or other such rights as the divorce and separation progresses.
If you are currently involved in divorce or foresee one, it is important that you know the law that are there protect your rights and your children. Please contact our office today for legal help in your separation, divorce or child custody matters. Williams Law Group, PC will use proven legal strategies, strong evidence and aggressive negotiating to ensure that you present the strongest case. We can be reached at (919) 773-1440 or via email.