People subjected to domestic violence in North Carolina can file for a restraining order, otherwise known as Domestic Violence Protective Order. These orders are intended to keep the target of violence safe and ensure the perpetrator is sufficiently punished if the order is breached. Understanding how restraining orders work is crucial, whether you are filing one against a spouse or partner, or you are the recipient of an order during a tumultuous divorce proceeding.

Who can file a domestic violence restraining order?

Unlike a general restraining order, which can be filed against anyone harassing or stalking a person, a domestic violence order is for personal relationships only. Personal relationships are defined in a few different ways; current or former spouses, cohabitors (both past and present), parents, children, people that live in the same household, and those who are dating, but do not live together, are all categorized as personal relationships.

Can same-sex couples file domestic violence orders?

In the state of North Carolina, only same-sex couples who are or have been married or who are or have lived together can file for this specific type of restraining order. If a same-sex couple are dating but living separately (and never lived together in the past), a Civil No-Contact Order may need to be filed instead.

How is domestic violence defined?

Domestic violence is defined as causing or attempting to cause bodily injury to a person you share a personal relationship with. Continually harassing or provoking fear in a person is also considered domestic violence, particularly when that person experiences significant emotional distress as a result.

How can I prove domestic violence occurred?

Photographic evidence of injuries can be compelling, as can witness testimony. Testimony can be sought from law enforcement responding to any calls at your home or others who may have seen the abuse take place. Medical records are also beneficial, as are texts, emails, or even voicemails.