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How Domestic Violence Can Affect Child Custody

| Aug 12, 2019 | Domestic Violence

No divorce is ever easy, but if yours involves domestic violence, it’s that much more difficult and harrowing. The negative effects of domestic violence on children – whether perpetrated upon them, witnessed by them, or both – are well documented. As such, the judge in your case will factor any domestic violence into your child custody arrangements. If you are facing a divorce that involves domestic violence, you need the professional legal counsel of an experienced and compassionate Raleigh domestic violence lawyer to protect the interests and safety of you and your children.

North Carolina Child Custody Orders

North Carolina courts naturally take child custody orders very seriously, and in the process, they have highly specific goals that include:

  • Identifying the children’s physical and emotional needs
  • Determining which parent will provide the safest and most stable primary residence for the children
  • Determining which parent should make important decisions on the children’s behaves

Although a parent with a history of domestic violence probably won’t automatically lose all custody rights, he or she is unlikely to obtain sole physical custody of the children.

Domestic Violence Impacts Custody Orders

The State of North Carolina does not automatically prohibit a parent with a history of domestic violence from having visitation rights with his or her children. Instead, judges are required to factor the parent’s violent history into its custody decisions. Ultimately, these decisions must prioritize the children’s safety. As such, the judge may place highly specific limitations on the abusive parent’s right to custody, which can include supervised visits. In extreme cases, however, the court can terminate the abusive parent’s custodial rights.

When Visitation Is Supervised

If the judge orders supervised visitation between your ex and your shared children, it means that the visits will occur in the presence of an adult authorized to supervise or at a designated agency. The child-custody requirement of supervised visits may be either temporary or permanent. If the parent required to have supervised visits can later prove that normal visitation rights are in the children’s best interests and that further abuse is very unlikely, the requirement of supervision can be lifted.

Termination of Parental Rights

A parent’s rights are only terminated in extreme situations, but such a decision is permanent and cannot be reversed. Abuses that rise to this level can include:

  • Chronic abuse of the child or of a sibling of the child
  • Sexual abuse of any child
  • Murder or attempted murder of the child’s sibling, of another child residing in the home, or of the child’s other parent

If You’re Facing a Divorce that Involves Domestic Violence, You Need an Experienced Raleigh Domestic Violence Lawyer

Domestic violence seriously complicates issues related to child custody. Protect your children by consulting with Daphne Edwards at Daphne Edwards Divorce & Family Law in Raleigh, North Carolina, today. Ms. Edwards is a dedicated domestic violence attorney with the experience, skill, and compassion to help you and your children. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 919-891-8552 today.