Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody?

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domestic-violenceIn NC domestic violence can be considered by the judge in determining child custody. The standard for custody cases in NC is always “what is in the best interest of the child”. Unlike some states NC does not have a rebuttable presumption against custody to the batterer. However, the law does say that the judge shall enter orders that best protect the child and the abused from the abuser. The parent can file a motion for a restraining order for the child against the abuser and request child support if the child resides with that parent or the parent has custody of the child.

Studies have shown that violence in the home does affect the children even if the children themselves are not subject to abuse. If you or your child are a victim of domestic abuse you should tell your attorney and discuss with your attorney how best to approach the issue with the court. Raising the issue of domestic abuse may make the divorce negotiations more difficult but that should not prevent you from making a reasoned decision about how to proceed. You should explain clearly to your attorney the types of abuse you or your children have suffered and whether the abuse has continued if you have already moved out of the house.

Attorneys are trained to consider many different factors when discussing the settlement of your case, os it may seem as if your attorney is not considering the domestic violence issue. If you feel like your attorney does not understand your situation you need to speak up about it before your case settles. Hopefully you have already been keeping a journal and documenting the abuse. If you haven’t start now. Document each incident of abuse whether verbal or physical. Take pictures of injuries. Go to the hospital when you have been injured. Keep copies of any police reports. At  You may also want to find a support group.