Marriages end for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, in an amicable separation, both parties can agree to mediation or an uncontested divorce, eschewing the need for attorneys. If there has been a history of physical, emotional, financial or sexual abuse in your marriage, the best way to protect yourself is to hire an experienced divorce attorney. He or she understands what evidence helps, as well as the hearings and filings required to obtain a protective order.
Domestic abuse is a serious issue
Abuse is often about power and control, and a divorce can take both of those things away from your former spouse. This can cause them to act out violently. Women are at a highest risk of being murdered by former partners in the months immediately after leaving them. For that reason alone, if you have experienced abuse at the hands of your spouse, it is imperative that you retain the services of an attorney who can help legally protect you following the filing for divorce. One of the ways to do this is by filing for a protective order.
An attorney knows how to obtain the right legal protection
In the state of North Carolina, there are three basic types of protective orders available to those experiencing abuse or stalking. The most common is the 50B or final domestic violence protective order (DVPO). The other forms are civil orders involving sexual abuse or stalking, typically by someone with whom you have not had an intimate relationship. Your attorney will advise you if a DVPO may help. While you are waiting for a hearing for a judge to consider and hopefully sign the protective order, they may also agree to an ex parte protective order.
This is a temporary order that can go into effect the same day as your filing a request for the DVPO. At most, the hearing for an ex parte order should occur within 72 hours of the filing. It is typically granted if the judge sees a serious risk of harm to you or your child. After a more in-depth hearing, the judge orders the DVPO/50B. The protective order lasts for a year. In some cases, you can have it extended for another two years if you request the extension before the original order expires.
Your protective order can help in your divorce and custody case
If you worry about your abuser contesting the divorce or obtaining custody of your children, taking legal steps to establish a protective order can help. At best, it may prevent your former spouse from contacting, harassing or stalking you. At worst, if he (or she) violates the order, your ex could face criminal repercussions as well as a more difficult time obtaining custody or visitation rights.
It is important to note that a protective order will not physically prevent your spouse from contacting you. Your attorney can also advise you on additional steps that you can take to keep yourself and your children safe during a divorce involving abuse.