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What if I Was in an Abusive Relationship? How Does Domestic Violence Affect a Divorce?

Domestic violence is a factor that is taken into consideration by the judge during divorce, separation, and custody proceedings.

North Carolina sets out the requirements for a civil domestic violence case in N.C.G.S. 50B. In order for a party to claim relief under this statute the aggrieved party or minor child residing with an aggrieved party must be either:

  • Current or former spouses
  • Current or former household members
  • Parents and children; grandparents and grandchild; persons acting as parents to a minor child
  • Persons with a child in common
  • Persons of the opposite sex who are or were in a dating relationship

If the aggrieved party or minor child falls into one of those categories listed above then one of the following things must have occurred to either the aggrieved party or minor child for the court to grant relief:

  • Attempt or intentionally causing bodily injury
  • Placing the person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury
  • Continued harassment causing substantial emotional distress
  • Sexual offense

There is a wide range of relief that a court may order to cause a cessation of the domestic violence. Some examples include but are not limited to – ordering the defendant to stop the behavior or actions complained of, ordering the residence to be in the possession of the aggrieved party and banning the defendant from entry, ordering support, prohibiting defendant from buying a firearm, attorney fees, etc.

If the aggrieved party can show that emergency relief is needed because of threat of serious immediate injury then the court can issue a temporary ex parte order to protect the aggrieved party or minor child without notice to the defendant. The defendant cannot appeal this order and a hearing must follow 10 days after the entry of this order.