New Law Allows for Modification of a Domestic Violence Order of Protection

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper recently signed into law a revision to allow the modification of a Domestic Violence Order of Protection.

Victims of domestic violence are eligible to seek a Domestic Violence Order of Protection, often referred to as a “DVPO,” which prevents an abuser from contacting a victim. A DVPO can also grant domestic violence victims exclusive possession of a residence or a vehicle, as well as child custody, financial aid, and attorney fees. If the restrained party violates the terms of the DVPO, he or she can immediately be arrested.

DVPOs can be enforced for up to one year, and North Carolina law allows the victim to seek an extension, or renewal, for up to two years at a time. In order to obtain a renewal of a DVPO, the victim must show that there is “good cause” for an extension. This standard is notably vague, and thus grants a judge a large amount of discretion as to what constitutes sufficient or insufficient grounds for the renewal of a DVPO.

The new law signed by Governor Cooper allows parties to seek a modification of a DVPO prior to its expiration date.

Sessions Law 2017-92 states:

“Upon the written request of either party at a hearing after notice or service of process, the court may modify any [DVPO] … after a finding of good cause.”

Under this new law, either the abuser or the victim may file a request to modify a DVPO prior to its expiration date. This was previously not allowed under the DV laws. While the law now allows modification of a DVPO prior to its expiration date, the law is vague as to what grounds are necessary to warrant the modification. The new law uses the same standard of “good cause” as used for renewals of DVPOs, so it is likely that judges will continue to have a large amount of discretion to determine what constitutes sufficient or insufficient grounds to modify a DVPO.

Given the open-ended nature of the law’s language, it is likely that many victims and abusers will seek modifications of current DVPOs. For example, a victim might seek a modification to add a new workplace as a location their abuser is not allowed to visit. Alternatively, a restrained party may seek to eliminate certain restrictions or even ask that the DVPO be revoked entirely via a modification if he or she can argue the protections are no longer appropriate.

More information about this new law can be found here.

Miller Cushing Holladay Can Provide Aggressive Representation for Your Case

If you have questions about a current DVPO in your case, or you need assistance with obtaining a DVPO or a No-Contact Order, our firm can help. We have more than 30 years of legal experience. Our Charlotte family law attorneys are dedicated to meeting your legal needs as you seek a beneficial outcome.

Please contact our office today at (704) 810-1400 to schedule a consultation with one of our Charlotte divorce lawyers.

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