NC: Domestic Violence

What is domestic violence?

North Carolina law defines domestic abuse as attempting to cause or intentionally causing bodily injury. Domestic violence can also involve placing a person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or harassment that causes substantial emotional distress.

Additionally, these acts must be perpetrated by someone who meets a certain relationship standard, defined by the statutes as:

  • A current or former spouse
  • Persons of the opposite sex who live or have lived together
  • People who have a child in common who are not married or are divorced
  • Persons who are current or former household members
  • Persons of the opposite sex who are or have been dating

If you are in any of these situations and domestic violence has occurred, you should seek safety and legal protection right away.  If you have been wrongfully accused of such actions, then you need to seek representation.

Obtaining a Protective Order

Our lawyers can help you file a complaint seeking a domestic violence protective order. In addition to filing your complaint, our attorneys can also provide unbiased advice regarding your chances of obtaining a protective order.

To obtain a protective order:

  • You will need to appear before a judge and request an emergency order.
  • Within 10 days of filing a complaint, a hearing will be held in which both parties will testify.
  • Following the hearing, the court will decide whether to issue an order of protection, which can last up to one year.

Do I need an attorney for the hearing?

If you are the person seeking a domestic violence protective order, it is helpful to have the assistance of an attorney to ensure that you provide all the relevant information to the judge and frame the issues in the correct context.

Our attorneys will be by your side every step of the way so you do not have to go through this process alone. We know what is at stake, and we will take appropriate legal measures to ensure your safety.

If you are the person against whom the order of protection is sought (the Defendant), it is helpful to have an attorney who can assist you in defending against the accusations made against you if you have been wrongfully accused.

Protective orders against you can:

  • Damage your reputation
  • Negatively impact your income
  • Affect your standing in a divorce
  • Affect your child custody awards

Our attorneys understand that family disputes, especially in the context of a divorce, can sometimes result in false allegations of spousal abuse for the purpose of gaining bargaining power. Our North Carolina family law attorneys will vigorously defend you in a domestic violence situation.

If accusations made against you are accurate, we can work with you help protect your rights and get the assistance you need to recognize and change your behavior so that you can have healthy relationships with intimate partners moving forward and restore any compromised rights to your child(ren) that the domestic abuse or domestic violence protective order(s) have created.

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