Domestic abuse involving a child's parents can be harmful to children, even if they are not the ones being abused. Children can suffer emotionally when they see or hear their parent get abused by the other parent, a stepparent, or a boyfriend or girlfriend.
According to one study, an estimated 3.2 million children in America witness domestic violence each year. These children have a higher risk of anxiety and depression, are more likely to have social competence problems, and show a higher risk of using violence themselves. Children who see violence in the home and children who are abused show many similar cognitive, behavioral, and emotional effects.
The child's other parent, family members, or social workers may act to take the children away from the abusive home. This may require having the child go to live with a grandparent or other family members. However, once the abusive relationship has ended, it can be difficult for the abused parent to have their children return home.
It may take time for a parent to permanently get out of an abusive relationship and back to a place where they can provide a safe and supportive environment for their child. Once the parent is ready to take back custody, they may face an uphill battle from the state and even their own family.
Family members may be reluctant to return custody to the parent who suffered past abuse. They may be concerned that the abuse has not truly ended, or the parent has a pattern of getting involved in abusive relationships. After a long time living away from their parent, the children may not want to return to what they remember as an abusive household.
How Past Abuse Affects Child Custody Cases
Child custody disputes in North Carolina are based on the court's determination of what is in the best interests of the child. This can include sole custody or joint custody. In sole custody, one person has primary physical custody of the child and sole decision-making authority. With joint custody, decision-making and physical custody are generally shared between the parents.
Under North Carolina law, in making the determination for an order for custody of a minor child, “the court shall consider all relevant factors including acts of domestic violence between the parties, the safety of the child, and the safety of either party from domestic violence by the other party.” North Carolina General Statutes § 50-13.2(a).
Children need protection from abuse in the home, including using a court order to take custody away from an abusive household. However, custody determinations are never permanent and can always be changed based on the child's best interests. Talking to an experienced family law attorney can help parents navigate the legal system to get back custody of their kids.
Jerkins Family Law
If you have questions about getting back custody of your child, please do not hesitate to call Jerkins Family Law for assistance. JFL is committed to providing the passionate representation you need. We are knowledgeable about which evidence can be used to best show the relationship between you and your child, and to establish why it is in your child's best interest to continue to have a relationship with you. Visit our dedicated child custody page and contact us today so we can guide you to a better solution.