How to File a Restraining Order in North Carolina

A restraining order is an important step in protecting yourself if you’re facing verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. In North Carolina, this type of order is technically referred to as a Domestic Violence Protective Order or a Civil No-Contact Order.

When you want to file a restraining order, having an experienced family law attorney on your side, like those at The Doyle Law Offices P.A., can make the process easier. Our experienced team can make sure all paperwork is filled out correctly and answer any questions you may have about the process. 

If you’re thinking of getting a restraining order, we’re going to explain the process as well as the criteria that need to be met to be granted one. As we explore these topics, we’ll also have information about who can file a restraining order.

Criteria for Getting a Restraining Order in North Carolina

When you are looking to get a permanent protective order, you will need to prove that the person you want protection from has done one of the following:

  • Stalking
  • Nonconsensual sexual conduct
  • An act of domestic violence

Many people also opt to get a temporary protective order, otherwise known as an ex parte order. This can be done quickly by just filling out a complaint. This order only lasts up to 10 days. After this time, you’ll have to seek a permanent protective order.

Who Can File for a Restraining Order?

If you have a personal relationship with the person abusing you, you can file a Domestic Violence Protective Order. This type of order can require that the abuser moves out of the home you share or pay for other housing options for you. It can also give you temporary custody of your children and can require temporary child support. A Domestic Violence Protective Order can also prevent the abuser from threatening you or coming without a certain distance from you.

The Process of a Filing a Restraining Order in North Carolina

When you’re thinking of filing a restraining order in North Carolina, there is a process that you’ll want to follow. 

Go to the courthouse and get the forms you need. When you go to the office of the clerk of civil court or the magistrate’s office, let the office know what type of order you’re looking to file. You can also file a temporary protective order at this time.

Fill out the complaint in detail. You’ll want to fill out the complaint and detail the most recent abuse you’ve suffered. Provide as many details as possible but don’t sign the complaint until you are before a notary public or clerk of court. Let the judge know the relief you need. If children are involved, be sure to request temporary custody as well. 

Complete the summons and give information to allow the sheriff to identify your abuser. Your abuser will need to be served a civil summons to appear in court. You will need to provide the sheriff with the abuser’s name, address, and other contact information. The sheriff’s office will also serve the notice of hearing and any copies of a temporary protective order.

Attend a hearing. Once a complaint is filed, you’ll have to attend a hearing regarding your protective order. This will take place within 10 days of filing your complaint. Your abuser will also receive a notice about the hearing.

While you must attend a hearing, your abuser has the right to attend. If they don’t, the hearing may proceed, or it can be rescheduled. During the hearing, you’ll have to prove that the abuser has committed an act of domestic violence, stalking, or nonconsensual sexual contact. 

It’s best to have an attorney representing you at the hearing to help your case go smoothly. A protective order lasts for one year from when it is granted. You can ask for an extension or renewal before the protective order expires.

Are You Looking to File a Restraining Order?

If you’re looking to file a restraining order, our Wake Forest lawyers can help. Attorney Hank Doyle has the experience if you’re looking for a restraining order. Call us today at  (919) 228-4487 or reach out to us online to learn more about how we can help.