The increase of domestic violence in the United States has been so much that it can be classified as an epidemic, with statistics showing that at least three million children bear witness to domestic violence every year. Domestic violence has become a motivator for an abused spouse to file for divorce, which is especially important when there is a child or children involved. A domestic violence issue would play a vital role in child custody, since any evidence presented in court will be considered in order to determine child custody. Often, custody is denied to the parent who have committed the domestic abuse if the court determines the person is a threat to the safety of the child or the other parent.
In the State of North Carolina, an abusive parent will not automatically lose visitation rights and custody. The judges will have to weigh a number of factors in order to determine who will have the legal custody (given the decision-making authority in behalf of the child) and the physical custody (where the child will live) to ensure that the child will be provided the safest and most balanced environment for the child’s physical and emotional needs. If a parent has a long history of domestic violence, it may be a reason for him or her to not be given sole physical custody of the child.
When a parent has already filed for divorce and wishes to protect their child from the other parent, the website of Marshall & Taylor, PLLC says getting a protective order. This is a court given order to prevent the abuser from doing further harm, and to keep a safe distance away from you and the child as well as the places that you frequent. These forms are available online and finding a good family lawyer may help in securing it, especially if there is a high possibility of domestic violence in the future. Victims should not be afraid of getting help since there various institutions that offer safety and protection, such as The North Carolina Council for Women/Domestic Violence Coalition and the Department of Justice.