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Child custody, parenting time and domestic violence

As many parents in the Charlotte area are likely to hear these days, it is generally best when children whose parents live in separate homes get to spend a lot of time with each parent.

Ideally, the children’s parents will cooperate or at least tolerate each other to the point where the child can still attach to both of their parents. However, this is simply not a good idea in some situations, and the laws of North Carolina recognize this.

Specifically, when awarding custody and parenting time, North Carolina courts are required to take in to account any evidence that there has been domestic violence in the household.

If the court concludes domestic violence has occurred, then the law no longer requires the judge hearing the case to treat the parents of the child as equals, giving no preference to either parent. Instead, the judge’s prerogative is to make sure that the child and any adult victim of domestic violence remains safe.

This can mean that a parent accused of domestic violence will have a very difficult time getting custody and may get only limited or restricted parenting time.

In practice, this means one of two things, depending on the situation of the parent involved. For those who are victims of domestic violence and who are trying to break away from that cycle, they will need to organize their case effectively so as to prove to the judge’s satisfaction that domestic violence occurred and the court needs to offer protection through its child custody and visitation orders.

On the flip side, a parent falsely accused of abuse will want to aggressively protect his or her rights to custody and visits.