Domestic Violence & Child Custody

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Child custody battles are often complicated by domestic violence accusations. You may choose to bring up the issue with the court because you fear for you and your children’s safety.

In other situations, you may be the one facing accusations of domestic violence, despite the allegations having no validity. In either situation, a family court will take any abuse allegations seriously. An investigation will ensue, and you will need to work with an experienced domestic violence lawyer to help prove the truth.

At Breeden Law Office, we have experience representing parents in contentious child custody disputes. If you or your children have been victims of domestic violence, we will aggressively fight for your family to achieve a safe result. If you have been wrongly accused, we will strive to show the court the falsity of the allegations.

To discuss custody cases involving domestic violence, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 to schedule a case consultation.

What are the consequences of domestic violence charges in North Carolina?

Domestic Violence in North Carolina

Domestic violence occurs when one person commits or attempts to commit certain offenses toward an individual they have a personal relationship with.

Personal relationships include:

  • Current or previous spouses
  • Current or previous intimate or romantic partners
  • Current or previous household members
  • The other parent of your child
  • Relatives, including parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren

The offenses that constitute domestic violence when they take place between people with personal relationships are:

  • Attempting to cause another person bodily harm
  • Intentionally causing another person bodily harm
  • Placing another person, their family member, or their household member in fear of serious bodily injury
  • Raping or committing another sexual offense
  • Causing another person significant emotional distress through continued harassment
  • Acting in a way that torments, terrorizes, or terrifies another person

How Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody?

Whenever a child is the victim of domestic violence or witnesses it between family or household members, it will likely impact child custody.

The most serious cases involve one parent directly abusing the child. In this situation, the non-abusive parent has the strongest argument for requesting primary physical and legal custody.

However, this is not the only case that could cause a parent to lose custody or visitation. If a mother or father is accused of abusing another sibling or the child’s other parent, then this also may cause that parent to lose time with their children.

Additionally, if a parent is accused of committing domestic violence toward another romantic partner or relative, this could be influential.

How does a domestic violence record affect child custody in North Carolina?

The Effects of Domestic Violence on Child Custody Disputes

Allegations of domestic violence do not mean you automatically lose all custody and visitation rights. These allegations may lead to a lengthy investigation. Child Protective Services (CPS) and law enforcement may get involved.

Custody cases involving domestic violence are fraught with emotion. A judge will not simply take one parent’s word over the other. There must be evidence that you or another parent or adult was abusive toward someone you had a personal relationship with, and it is not in the child’s best interests to live or spend time with the abusive parent.

Possible evidence of domestic violence includes:

  • Police reports
  • Legal documents, such as a domestic violence protective order
  • Medical records of physical injuries resulting from abuse
  • Mental health care records regarding emotional trauma caused by the abuse
  • Phone records, voicemails, and electronic communications documenting harassment
  • The parents’ testimony
  • The children’s testimony
  • Other witnesses’ testimony

Potential Child Custody Outcomes Involving Domestic Violence Allegations

If one parent establishes that the other parent committed domestic violence, then it is up to the judge to decide the best environment for the child.

It may be that the abuse was serious enough to warrant that you or your child’s other parent should lose all physical and legal custody and visitation rights. However, this is extreme, and a judge may choose this outcome only if it is clear that your child is in danger.

Another outcome of a domestic violence allegation in a child custody case is joint custody, secondary custody, or limited visitation. The judge may also require that visitations are supervised by a third party, such as another family member or social worker.

Alternatively, if you or your child’s other parent overcome domestic violence accusations and can demonstrate that the other parent intentionally lied to the court, then you may be able to argue for a greater amount of custody or visitation. The other parent’s intentional misrepresentations regarding the domestic violence accusations could hurt their chances of winning the custody arrangement they wanted.

What to Do During Custody Cases Involving Domestic Violence

If you or your children have been victims of domestic violence, or if your children have witnessed abuse, call Breeden Law Office today. Whether or not you are currently married to your abuser, we will represent you in fighting for custody of your children. We will advise you on the best steps to take.

Related Reading: Domestic Violence Resources in North Carolina

If you or your children are currently in danger, we will advise you to obtain a safe place to stay and guide you through the legal process of requesting emergency and long-term domestic violence protective orders (DVPOs).

In addition to petitioning for a DVPO, we will also seek emergency, temporary, and full custody of your children. Without obtaining a court order granting you full custody, the other parent still has a right to see the children.

We also will gather all the evidence we can of the abuse to use in obtaining a permanent DVPO and a permanent child custody order in your favor. To discuss how to fight for full, permanent custody of your children after experiencing domestic violence, contact Breeden Law Office right away.

When You Are Wrongly Accused of Domestic Violence

If your children’s other parent is accusing you of abusing them, your children, or another person, you need to speak with a lawyer about how to best address these allegations. This is a tough spot to be in, and you are going to have to play by the court’s rules and likely cooperate with a CPS investigation.

For a period of time, you may have limited or no access to your children. At Breeden Law Office, we understand how hard this can be on you and your children. However, cooperating within the system is the best way to prove your innocence and obtain some amount of custody of your children.

Let Breeden Law Office Help You with Custody Cases Involving Domestic Violence

No matter what side of a custody dispute you are on, attorney Jonathan Breeden is here to protect your rights, represent your interests, and fight for the best possible outcome for you and your children. He handles family legal matters with sensitivity and compassion, he is ready to represent you every step of the way.

To schedule an initial consultation of your case, contact Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970 today.

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