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Review Domestic Violence Protective Order

What You Need to Know to Renew Your Domestic Violence Protective Order

Do you currently have a domestic violence protective order that is about to expire?   A year for victims of domestic violence may just be enough time to begin the healing process.  Do you feel as though your assailant is just waiting for your order to expire to exact revenge?  Have you just reestablished your routine in the community without feeling as though you’re being followed or watched?  These are concerns frequently expressed by victims who’ve been through what you’re going through.  If you’ve experienced any of these feelings, you must act before your order expires.

North Carolina provides an option for victims who need additional time to heal.

Renewal of Domestic Violence Protective Orders

If you file for a renewal of your domestic violence protective order (DVPO) prior to the expiration of your current order it can be renewed for a period of time not to exceed two years.  You can even renew an order that has been previously renewed.  A court has to find “good cause” to renew a domestic violence protective order.

What Is Good Cause?

Good cause is not clearly defined under North Carolina and therefore Judges have wide discretion.  Some key facts a judge may consider in determining whether to renew a protective order include:

  • A violation of the previous order is not required to support a renewal.
  • If a victim remains fearful of the defendant and shows genuine visible signs of anxiety or fear during her renewal hearing testimony.
  • The seriousness of the acts that supported the original DVPO

While the standard is not clearly defined, it is required that the Court make findings of fact to support a finding of “good cause.”  If the other party consents to a renewal, your attorney needs to ensure that there are sufficient findings contained in the order to support a conclusion of good cause.  Without sufficient findings, your order may be subject to being overturned on appeal or set aside.

What About Custody Provisions?

Custody provisions in the original order cannot exceed one year in duration under any circumstances.  It is important to file a child custody action with enough lead time to schedule a temporary custody hearing prior to the expiration of your DVPO to maintain and enforceable custody schedule.  Negotiating custody is tough enough without a protective order in place but it can be close to impossible when you’re not allowed to have contact with your co-parent.

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