Until June 1, 2020, because of the COVID-19 outbreak, the courts in North Carolina are only hearing emergency civil cases; those include requests for domestic violence protective orders (also known as 50-B’s). If you are the victim of domestic violence, you may seek relief by filing a petition through the office of the Clerk of Court in your county. However, many Clerk’s offices are working reduced schedules that would preclude you from filing directly with the Clerk, so your option would be to file with a magistrate. Your petition will then be presented to a District Court Judge who will decide whether or not you should be granted an order of protection. You would then have a 50-B hearing within 10 days.
If you are served with a domestic violence protective order, you will also be entitled to a hearing within 10 days, but you may be removed from your home in the interim.
The issue for all domestic violence cases becomes more complicated where children are involved. If there is no custody order in place, the judge who reviews the request for the domestic violence protective order then makes the initial determination as to whether the facts rise to the level of sufficient domestic violence to require the entry of an order of protection. That judge can also decide whether to grant custody of the children as a part of the order. Rarely does a case rise to the level where a judge considers granting “emergency” custody. However, the issuance of an order of protection may cause the parent who has supposedly committed the act of violence to be separated from his or her children.
The best course of action to take is to hire an attorney who can explain your options. This is true whether you are a victim of domestic violence or have been accused of committing an act of violence.
Our firm provides service to both victims and those accused. We can assist you in walking through this process. We offer in person and virtual consultations. If you are interested in learning more, visit our family law page. You can also keep up with the latest happenings with our firm through or Facebook page.