Like other states, North Carolina has laws in place that are supposed to protect victims of domestic violence. There are criminal penalties, including jail time, for certain acts of domestic violence. Victims themselves can also seek a protective order.
Many times, parents of the same children may be involved in domestic violence, either as victims or as perpetrators. Often, abusive behavior is what leads a person to end a relationship in the first place.
When a judge is making custody and parenting time decisions during a divorce or other child custody matter, the judge is supposed to consider evidence of domestic violence.
While the court still has to consider the child’s best interests, the primary concern is to protect both the children and the victims of the violence.
In other words, the judge can set aside the idea that both parents should be able to have plenty of opportunities to maintain relationships with their children.
If the judge finds doing so necessary to protect people’s safety, they could even order mandatory counseling, supervised or restricted visits or impose other requirements.
When domestic violence is an issue, Charlotte parents should know their rights
This law is broad in many respects. A judge can decide that a parent committed domestic violence even if they were never convicted of or even charged with a crime. Generally, it takes a lot less to prove these types of allegations.
Once a judge decides a parent was violent, they have the authority to make it really difficult for the accused to see their kids. This is true even if the parent is sincerely sorry and is taking the steps to make sure they don’t repeat their mistakes.
It is also a scary prospect that a parent could lose their ability to form a bond with their children over allegations that are not true.
No matter which side they are on, parents should know their options. A victim will need to put together a convincing case that a court should only allow the other parent to be involved if everyone can stay safe.
On the other hand, accused parents have the right to defend themselves. They may tell their side of the story. Even if they did make a mistake, they should also be able to show that they have a safety plan in place and do not need restrictions on their parenting time.