Getting an emergency protective order is an important self-advocacy step for surviving intimate partner violence. The process of getting an order can be difficult. Safety can be an issue, particularly if the other party plans to attend the hearing. Also, many people lack transportation to the courthouse.
To make the process safer and easier to access, many U.S. counties now have e-filing available for emergency protective orders. The orders are valid for 10 days in NC. After that a more traditional hearing takes place so that the other party can attend.
In an April 9, 2019 article, the News & Observer shared the experience of a woman who used the e-filing process and explained how the process works:
“The woman filled out her complaint, filed the paperwork through a web-based state computer portal, and then was able to speak with a clerk and appear before a judge via video. The paperwork was entered directly into the state court system, where it was immediately available to court and law enforcement officials statewide.”
If e-filing would be helpful for you or someone you know, contact your county sheriff’s office for assistance or more information. As of today, the following North Carolina counties do have electronic filing: Alamance, Chatham, Cumberland, Davidson, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Rowan, Wake.
Other counties are working to add electronic filing, so if you don’t see your county on this list, try calling anyway. It may have been recently added.