North Carolina General Assembly's last legislative session passed two important amendments to North Carolina's domestic violence protective order statute (50B-3 & 50B-4). Both went into effect on October 1, 2017.
What are the changes to North Carolina's Domestic Violence Protective Order statute?
The first change made by the legislation through S.L. 2017-92 is an amendment to North Carolina General Statute 50B-4(g), which now states: "“Notwithstanding the provisions of N.C.G.S. 1-294, a valid protective order entered pursuant to this Chapter which has been appealed to the appellate division is enforceable in the trial court during the pendency of the appeal. Upon motion by the aggrieved party, the court of the appellate division in which the appeal is pending may stay an order of the trial court until the appeal is decided, if justice so requires.”
The second change made by the legislation amends NCGS 50B-3(b2) to allow either party to file a motion to modify an existing domestic violence protective order upon "a showing of good cause".
What do these changes mean?
NCGS 50B-4(g) keeps a domestic violence protective order (DVPO) in place until an appeal from the entry of the DVPO is heard. That is assuming N.C.G.S. 1-294 is not applicable.
Prior to the amendment of NCGS 50B-3(b2) a domestic violence protective order could not be modified, even with good cause. S.L. 2017-92 changes that by allowing either party to file a request to modify the existing domestic violence protective order (done by motion), setting the request for hearing, and providing to the court good cause as to why the request to modify the DVPO should be granted.
What is good cause in this situation? The legislation did not define good cause in the statutory amendment thereby leaving it to the discretion of the court. The Appellate Court in Ponder v. Ponder states, "the trial court must make findings of fact based on competent evidence sufficient to support the trial court’s conclusion".
If you have further questions about domestic violence protective orders in North Carolina please check out our other blog post on the subject, which can be found here.
*Nothing in this blog post should be construed as establishing an Attorney-Client relationship or should be seen as legal advice.