Charlotte Domestic Violence & Orders of Protection Attorneys
Helping North Carolina families move through difficult circumstances
Domestic violence and abuse is an extremely serious matter. During a divorce, domestic violence protective orders can be used as both protection and, in some unfortunate cases, a weapon. For a victim of domestic violence, a protective order provides security and peace of mind, and our attorneys can help you get the process started immediately. If you feel you are wrongly accused of domestic violence, we can advocate for you and protect your rights.
The Charlotte family law attorneys at Epperson Law Group, PLLC are here to advise you and protect you when domestic violence is affecting the safety and well being of your family. We understand the sensitivities around these types of cases and treat all our clients with respect, discretion and compassion.
What constitutes domestic violence?
Domestic violence or abuse is a crime under N.C. General Statutes Chapter 50B. All allegations of domestic violence must be taken seriously and investigated properly and thoroughly. This ensures that both the victim and their children are protected, and that the accused has the right to defend themselves against allegations or charges.
According to Chapter 50B, domestic violence is defined as when two people have a personal relationship, and one person commits any of the following acts against the other person or their child:
- Intentionally causing or intending to cause bodily injury
- Committing sexual abuse, assault or rape
- Harassing and humiliating to the point of substantial emotional harm
- Threatening or causing a fear of physical harm
As you can see, while the majority of domestic abuse law focuses on physical violence, non-physical harm may meet the definition as well, if it creates a legitimate fear of physical violence.
Because domestic violence requires a relationship to exist between the victim and the perpetrator, North Carolina also lays out guidelines to define this type of relationship:
- Current or former spouses
- Currently or formerly in a romantic relationship
- Are parent/child or grandparent/grandchild
- Have a child in common
- Current or former members of the same household
If domestic violence is an issue in your marriage, please contact our divorce lawyers as soon as possible for our immediate assistance.
What kind of protective order do I need?
Although on television and in the movies you hear a lot of talk about “restraining orders,” in North Carolina, a victim must obtain something called a “protective order” to keep their abuser from contacting them. There are two types of protective orders in North Carolina:
- Ex parte or temporary protective order (TPO). In the event of an emergency, you can receive a TPO as soon as you file the complaint. In other situations, courts will typically issue a TPO within 72 hours of filing. TPOs typically last about 10 days.
- Domestic violence protective order (DVPO). Also called a 50B Order, a DVPO is more permanent and can up to a year. These are granted only after a full court hearing.
Securing either a TPO or a DVPO is a legal process, meaning you’ll have to go to the court and request the order and explain why you need the order of protection. Once the order is active (in the case of a TPO, usually immediately), violating the order becomes a crime – on the side of either party.
If you have questions about filing a protective order, or if you’ve been served with a protective order, our attorneys can help.
How do I file a domestic violence complaint in Charlotte?
Although you can file a complaint on your own after a violent domestic incident, we advise working with an attorney for the best results, especially if your complaint is part of a larger divorce or child custody case. It’s vital that every issue is properly documented if needed later for evidence.
Generally, the domestic violence and protective order process goes something like this:
- You, as the victim or as the parent/guardian, file the complaint and receive a hearing in front of the court without the other party present.
- If the judge determines domestic violence has occurred, they’ll issue a TPO against the alleged abuser.
- The court then schedules a hearing with 10 days and serves the defendant with papers.
- The defendant is permitted to appear at the hearing, and the judge will hear evidence from both you and the defendant.
- If, at the hearing, the judge decides it’s warranted, they’ll grant a DVPO lasting one year.
Our Charlotte domestic violence attorneys work with you to prove your case and provide you and your family continued safety and protection. We’ve also compiled local Charlotte domestic violence resources for your convenience and information.
Is there any way I can defend myself against false allegations of domestic violence?
Our lawyers also understand that there are rare occasions where people abuse our compassionate domestic violence laws in an attempt to gain advantage in highly contested and emotional divorce cases. This is never fair and can have significant consequences on your life and the outcome of your family law case.
If you’re unjustly accused of domestic violence, the repercussions can affect your job, your reputation and – even more importantly – the outcome of your child custody negotiations. Domestic violence protective orders can prohibit you from:
- Having any direct or indirect contact with the other party
- Having contact with your children
- Going to your children’s school
We will treat you and your case with respect and honesty, working to protect your rights and the right to see your children.
Compassionate Charlotte domestic violence lawyers
At Epperson Law Group, PLLC, our first priority is protecting your rights and keeping you and your family safe. If you’re confused or unsure about your options, we can answer your questions and provide confidential guidance about your situation. We take domestic violence allegations seriously, and will listen to your story without judgment. We’re just across the road from the Home Depot off Ballantyne Commons Parkway. To reserve a consultation at one of our offices in Charlotte, Boone, or Weddington, please call 704-321-0031 or fill out our contact form.
The two types of protective orders in North Carolina