Domestic violence affects all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any class, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims of domestic violence.
There are specific laws in North Carolina that provide speedy and effective protection to victims of domestic violence. Our primary goals for domestic violence clients at the Batch, Poore, & Williams law firm are to make sure you know about specific laws that protect you, to advise as to the necessity of filing a civil restraining order, and to be here to answer questions and respond to your appeals for help.
If you believe that you or your children are in danger, then you should immediately call police and emergency authorities, as well as a county domestic violence agency for additional advice on available shelters.
The Laws on Your Side
Our state’s Domestic Violence Act was enacted to protect a broad range of domestic violence victims. It states that any action that intentionally causes bodily injury or places a person in fear of imminent bodily harm constitutes domestic violence. Domestic violence can mean physical abuse — pushing, slapping, hitting or choking. But it also includes such things as:
- Emotional abuse: Name-calling, playing mind games, put-downs.
- Threats: Can be of physical or emotional harm to yourself, children and pets.
- Intimidation: Using looks, smashing things, loud voices or actions to put you in fear of what might happen.
- Isolation: Controlling where you go, what you do, who you see; driving away friends and family.
- Sexual abuse: Forcing you to do sexual acts against your will, physically attacking sexual parts of the body.
- Economic abuse: Controlling how the money is spent, preventing you from having any access to money, taking your paycheck away.
- Using the children: Making you feel guilty about your children, using custody or visitation to harass you, threatening to take your children away.
You can get a domestic violence restraining order if you have been physically or emotionally abused and if you have a domestic relationship with that person. This could apply to a spouse, a dating relationship, a live-in companion, or someone that you have been previously married to, used to date or used to live with. It can also be a relative, family member, roommate or an in-law.
If you feel that you have been the victim of domestic violence a complaint should be filed alleging specific facts of your situation and your relationship to the alleged abuser. A court may then issue an ex parte protective order to signify that a hearing was held in which one of the parties was not present. Under such an order, you can be given temporary possession of your home, personal property, temporary custody of children and pets and household possessions. It also notifies your abuser that he or she may be ordered to stay away from your place of residence, job site, childcare facilities or the school your children attend.
A return hearing is held within 10 days in which you will again testify to the specific facts of the domestic violence you are experiencing. Your alleged abuser may also testify, along with any witnesses to your domestic situation. If, after hearing testimony from the parties and witnesses, the court finds that an act or acts of domestic violence have occurred, the court will issue a permanent protective order, typically effective for one year. The order informs your abuser to stop the abuse immediately or face serious consequences which can include jail time.
Prior to termination of the protective order, you may apply to the court for its renewal. Orders can be renewed for up to two years at a time, and there are no limits on the number of times an order can be renewed if there are valid grounds for renewal.
The court system can be scary and confusing, let us help guide you step by step through the process of obtaining a domestic violence protection order.
Civil Restraining Orders
In North Carolina, a domestic violence protective order is also known as a restraining order. It protects both men and women from physical, emotional, verbal abuse and from stalking and harassment. The order informs your abuser to stop the abuse immediately or face serious consequences.
You can get a domestic violence restraining order if you have been physically or emotionally abused and if you have a domestic relationship with that person. This could apply to a spouse, a dating relationship, a live-in companion, or someone that you have been previously married to, used to date or used to live with. It can also be a relative, family member or an in-law.
Another law passed in North Carolina in recent years gives victims of sexual assault, stalking or harassment the right to get an immediate protective order, called a civil no-contact order. This order is intended to prevent attackers or harassers from attending your place of business or contacting family members. You do not have to have a “personal relationship” with the person to obtain such an order.
Prior to termination of the protective order, you may apply to the court for its renewal for another year’s term. After receiving proof of it, you should send a copy to your abuser and to local police or a sheriff’s department. You should also retain a copy for your records in the event of the need to summon police for protection in the future.
If our sensitive, discreet, skilled family law and domestic violence attorneys at Batch, Poore, & Williams in Raleigh can be of service in advising you as to which order or course of action to pursue, please contact our law offices today.
Visit Our Raleigh Law Offices
If you are or have been a victim of domestic violence, please contact us immediately at our Batch, Poore, & Williams law offices in Raleigh. Whether we’re listening intently to both sides of a story or representing a single view of what’s happened, we can bring our experience, diplomacy and resources to bear on your stressful situation.
We’re available by phone, fax and e-mail, and we return after-hours calls promptly. We also provide Spanish language interpretation. Call us today.