This North Carolina law reflects the state's provision for protective orders in cases of domestic abuse. A protective order may provide for possession of personal property of the parties, including the care, custody, and control of any animal owned, possessed, kept, or held as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household. The court may also order a party to refrain from cruelly treating or abusing an animal owned, possessed, kept, or held as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household.
(a) If the court, including magistrates as authorized under G.S. 50B-2(c1), finds that an act of domestic violence has occurred, the court shall grant a protective order restraining the defendant from further acts of domestic violence. A protective order may include any of the following types of relief:
(1) Direct a party to refrain from such acts.
(2) Grant to a party possession of the residence or household of the parties and exclude the other party from the residence or household.
(3) Require a party to provide a spouse and his or her children suitable alternate housing.
(4) Award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights pursuant to G.S. 50B-2 if the order is granted ex parte, and pursuant to subsection (a1) of this section if the order is granted after notice or service of process.
(5) Order the eviction of a party from the residence or household and assistance to the victim in returning to it.
(6) Order either party to make payments for the support of a minor child as required by law.
(7) Order either party to make payments for the support of a spouse as required by law.
(8) Provide for possession of personal property of the parties, including the care, custody, and control of any animal owned, possessed, kept, or held as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household.
(9) Order a party to refrain from doing any or all of the following:
a. Threatening, abusing, or following the other party.
b. Harassing the other party, including by telephone, visiting the home or workplace, or other means.
b1. Cruelly treating or abusing an animal owned, possessed, kept, or held as a pet by either party or minor child residing in the household.
c. Otherwise interfering with the other party.
(10) Award attorney's fees to either party.
(11) Prohibit a party from purchasing a firearm for a time fixed in the order.
(12) Order any party the court finds is responsible for acts of domestic violence to attend and complete an abuser treatment program if the program is approved by the Domestic Violence Commission.
(13) Include any additional prohibitions or requirements the court deems necessary to protect any party or any minor child.
(a1) Upon the request of either party at a hearing after notice or service of process, the court shall consider and may award temporary custody of minor children and establish temporary visitation rights as follows:
(1) In awarding custody or visitation rights, the court shall base its decision on the best interest of the minor child with particular consideration given to the safety of the minor child.
(2) For purposes of determining custody and visitation issues, the court shall consider:
a. Whether the minor child was exposed to a substantial risk of physical or emotional injury or sexual abuse.
b. Whether the minor child was present during acts of domestic violence.
c. Whether a weapon was used or threatened to be used during any act of domestic violence.
d. Whether a party caused or attempted to cause serious bodily injury to the aggrieved party or the minor child.
e. Whether a party placed the aggrieved party or the minor child in reasonable fear of imminent serious bodily injury.
f. Whether a party caused an aggrieved party to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat, or duress.
g. Whether there is a pattern of abuse against an aggrieved party or the minor child.
h. Whether a party has abused or endangered the minor child during visitation.
i. Whether a party has used visitation as an opportunity to abuse or harass the aggrieved party.
j. Whether a party has improperly concealed or detained the minor child.
k. Whether a party has otherwise acted in a manner that is not in the best interest of the minor child.
(3) If the court awards custody, the court shall also consider whether visitation is in the best interest of the minor child. If ordering visitation, the court shall provide for the safety and well-being of the minor child and the safety of the aggrieved party. The court may consider any of the following:
a. Ordering an exchange of the minor child to occur in a protected setting or in the presence of an appropriate third party.
b. Ordering visitation supervised by an appropriate third party, or at a supervised visitation center or other approved agency.
c. Ordering the noncustodial parent to attend and complete, to the satisfaction of the court, an abuser treatment program as a condition of visitation.
d. Ordering either or both parents to abstain from possession or consumption of alcohol or controlled substances during the visitation or for 24 hours preceding an exchange of the minor child.
e. Ordering the noncustodial parent to pay the costs of supervised visitation.
f. Prohibiting overnight visitation.
g. Requiring a bond from the noncustodial parent for the return and safety of the minor child.
h. Ordering an investigation or appointment of a guardian ad litem or attorney for the minor child.
i. Imposing any other condition that is deemed necessary to provide for the safety and well-being of the minor child and the safety of the aggrieved party. If the court grants visitation, the order shall specify dates and times for the visitation to take place or other specific parameters or conditions that are appropriate. A person, supervised visitation center, or other agency may be approved to supervise visitation after appearing in court or filing an affidavit accepting that responsibility and acknowledging accountability to the court.
(4) A temporary custody order entered pursuant to this Chapter shall be without prejudice and shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year. Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the right of the parties to a de novo hearing under Chapter 50 of the General Statutes. Any subsequent custody order entered under Chapter 50 of the General Statutes supersedes a temporary order issued pursuant to this Chapter.
(b) Protective orders entered pursuant to this Chapter shall be for a fixed period of time not to exceed one year. The court may renew a protective order for a fixed period of time not to exceed two years, including an order that previously has been renewed, upon a motion by the aggrieved party filed before the expiration of the current order; provided, however, that a temporary award of custody entered as part of a protective order may not be renewed to extend a temporary award of custody beyond the maximum one-year period. The court may renew a protective order for good cause. The commission of an act as defined in G.S. 50B-1(a) by the defendant after entry of the current order is not required for an order to be renewed. Protective orders entered, including consent orders, shall not be mutual in nature except where both parties file a claim and the court makes detailed findings of fact indicating that both parties acted as aggressors, that neither party acted primarily in self-defense, and that the right of each party to due process is preserved.
(b1) A consent protective order may be entered pursuant to this Chapter without findings of fact and conclusions of law if the parties agree in writing that no findings of fact and conclusions of law will be included in the consent protective order. The consent protective order shall be valid and enforceable and shall have the same force and effect as a protective order entered with findings of fact and conclusions of law.
(b2) Upon the written request of either party at a hearing after notice or service of process, the court may modify any protective order entered pursuant to this Chapter after a finding of good cause.
(c) A copy of any order entered and filed under this Article shall be issued to each party. Law enforcement agencies shall accept receipt of copies of the order issued by the clerk of court by electronic or facsimile transmission for service on defendants. In addition, a copy of the order shall be issued promptly to and retained by the police department of the city of the victim's residence. If the victim does not reside in a city or resides in a city with no police department, copies shall be issued promptly to and retained by the sheriff, and the county police department, if any, of the county in which the victim resides. If the defendant is ordered to stay away from the child's school, a copy of the order shall be delivered promptly by the sheriff to the principal or, in the principal's absence, the assistant principal or the principal's designee of each school named in the order.
(c1) When a protective order issued under this Chapter is filed with the Clerk of Superior Court, the clerk shall provide to the applicant an informational sheet developed by the Administrative Office of the Courts that includes:
(1) Domestic violence agencies and services.
(2) Sexual assault agencies and services.
(3) Victims' compensation services.
(4) Legal aid services.
(5) Address confidentiality services.
(6) An explanation of the plaintiff's right to apply for a permit under G.S. 14-415.15.
(d) The sheriff of the county where a domestic violence order is entered shall provide for prompt entry of the order into the National Crime Information Center registry and shall provide for access of such orders to magistrates on a 24-hour-a-day basis. Modifications, terminations, renewals, and dismissals of the order shall also be promptly entered.
Added by Laws 1979, c. 561, § 1. Amended by Laws 1985, c. 463, § 1; Laws 1994 (Ex. Sess.), c. 4, § 2, eff. May 1, 1994; Laws 1995, c. 527, § 1; Laws 1995, (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 591, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 1996; Laws 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, § 42.1, eff. June 21, 1996; S.L. 1999-23, § 1; S.L. 2000-125, § 9, eff. Dec. 1, 2000; S.L. 2002-105, § 2, eff. Sept. 6, 2002; S.L. 2002-126, § 29A.6.(b), eff. Oct. 1, 2002; S.L. 2003-107, § 2, eff. May 31, 2003; S.L. 2004-186, §§ 17.3 to 17.5, eff. Oct. 1, 2004; S.L. 2005-343, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2005; S.L. 2005-423, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2005; S.L. 2007-116, § 3, eff. Oct. 1, 2007; S.L. 2009-425, § 1, eff. Aug. 5, 2009; S.L. 2013-237, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 2013; S.L. 2015-176, § 1, eff. Aug. 5, 2015; S.L. 2017-92, § 2, eff. Oct. 1, 2017.