Court of Appeals Clarifies: All DVPOs Require Personal Jurisdiction

Court of Appeals Clarifies: All DVPOs Require Personal Jurisdiction
In Iredell County, a quick stop in Domestic Violence Court on a Monday morning tells you everything you need to know about how prevalent domestic violence is in our community. While a Domestic Violence Protective Order is akin to a restraining order, many people do not realize that it is still a full court case and in many cases still involves a brief trial/hearing.
Since Domestic Violence Protective Orders are treated just like any other civil matter in terms of procedure, the Court must have jurisdiction over the person to grant the relief requested. A recent opinion out of the North Carolina Court of Appeals clarifies North Carolina's stance on this sometimes complex procedural issue. The clarification was necessary as some states allow for DVPOs to be entered against defendants who never even stepped into their state.
The opinion below is very informative, along with a recent North Carolina School of Government blog post outlining the importance of the decision. In short, even if a Domestic Violence Protective Order only requires that a defendant not commit any illegal acts in the future, the North Carolina trial court must have jurisdiction over that person. For instance, if the alleged conduct happened in another state and the person never came in contact with North Carolina in any way, it is highly likely that a North Carolina court would lack jurisdiction over that person to be able to enter the order.
While this decision is unlikely to substantially decrease a court's domestic violence docket, it shows the Court of Appeals' continued desire to prevent North Carolina from becoming a safe-haven for questionable claims, or at least claims which do not have significant contacts with our State.
Court Opinion:
School of Government Blog:

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