Domestic violence laws are couched in NCGS 50-B, which establishes the definition of Domestic Violence. The same statute also prescribes the remedies for the victims, as well as the applicable penalties to defendants.
North Carolina defines domestic violence as:
“…. a) attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury, or
b) placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment….that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress…”
In order for an act of violence to be distinguished as “domestic”, the parties must currently be in—or formally have been a part of—a personal relationship. The statute defines a “personal relationship” as the following:
- current or former spouses;
- persons of opposite sex who live together or have lived together;
- …related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis (meaning acting in the place of a parent) to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren;
- Have a child in common;
- Are current or former household members;
- Are persons of opposite sex who are presently or formerly were in a dating relationship.
Interestingly, there is currently no codified protection for same sex couples, although that distinction will likely change in the near future.
If a person can demonstrate to the court that a defendant has engaged in one of the defined modes of domestic violence, and can also show that the parties are currently or formerly were in a personal relationship, that person can obtain what is called a Domestic Violence Protective Order.
A Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO, for short) is a civil action that asks a court for emergency relief from the alleged behavior. Codified in 50B-2, any person, male or female, who is residing in NC may seek relief under 50B-2 and ask the court for an emergency ex-parte order simply by alleging acts of domestic violence against him/her or a minor child who resides in that person’s custody.
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Robert Gilligan was raised in Waynesville, NC, and joined the U.S. Air Force right out of high school. After being honorably discharged after 6 years, Robert attended Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, MI. Robert was highly involved in the University’s law student groups, being the Dean of the Delta Theta Phi chapter, Treasurer of the Environmental Law Society, President of the Law Student Veteran’s Organization, as well as a member of dozens of other agencies. Robert interned with the 3rd Circuit Court, Family Division, and later worked as an associate for a number of solo practitioners in the Metro-Detroit area practicing in areas of law ranging from Bankruptcy to criminal defense. In 2013, Robert relocated back to Waynesville, NC where he lives with his wife, Marissa, and daughter, Claire. Robert’s practice areas include family law, criminal defense, and estate planning.