In this post on August 15, 2017, DVPOs for Same-Sex Dating Relationships?, my former colleague Jeff Welty discussed the constitutionality of G.S. 50B-1(b)(6) in light of recent rulings by the United States Supreme Court addressing the rights of same-sex couples and in light of a South Carolina appellate court ruling that providing domestic violence protection to persons in heterosexual dating relationships while denying protection to persons in same-sex dating relationships is unconstitutional. Like the South Carolina statute, N.C.G.S. 50B-1(b)(6) provides that while persons of the opposite sex in a dating relationship are eligible for a DVPO, persons of the same sex in a dating relationship are not eligible for protection. On December 31, 2020, in M.E. v. T.J., the North Carolina Court of Appeals held this provision unconstitutional as applied to deny a plaintiff protection from domestic violence simply because plaintiff and defendant had been in a same-sex dating relationship rather than a heterosexual relationship.Continue Reading
This post is also published on the NC Criminal Law blog.
Domestic violence protective orders (DVPOs) are available to “persons of the opposite sex who are . . . or have been in a dating relationship,” and who are able to establish that the person that they are or were dating committed an act of domestic violence against them. Persons of the same sex who are or were in a dating relationship don’t have the same opportunity. Is that constitutional? The Supreme Court of South Carolina just addressed a related question, and its opinion suggests that the answer is no. Continue Reading
Chapter 50B expressly authorizes entry of consent DVPOs, GS 50B-1(c), and many cases are resolved in this way. Overall, this is a good thing because consent orders:
- Spare both parties, who often are appearing pro se, the stress and uncertainty of a trial;
- Allow the parties to create orders that will best meet their specific needs; and
- Conserve valuable court time.
It is not uncommon for a defendant to be willing to agree to the entry of an order but not willing to agree that the specific acts alleged in the complaint actually occurred. Can a DVPO be entered without the specifics?